Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five

  • Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five [Sugar Hill, 1984] B+

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Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five [Sugar Hill, 1984]
When he's most original, Melle Mel's political chops are startling: "Hustler's Convention" closes with a right-on analysis, "World War III" resists thanatos and reminds Vietnam vets that they were dumb to go. But with Rahiem and Creole and Flash gone, idealism and romance are totally perfunctory, and original clearly ain't where they're heading: from the Prince rip to the Run-D.M.C. rip--both expert, enjoyable, even a little innovative--they come off as 1984's answer to the Sugarhill Gang, pros whose aim in life is to make more than chump change off whatever's on the street. Also, they can't sing. B+