Up until The Message was released in 1982, hip hop was considered party music. The main focus was the interaction between the DJ, MC and the crowd. Melle Mel even stated in an interview that he initially didn’t want to record The Message. He didn’t think the song would work because it was so different from what everyone else was doing. But the song resonated. In fact, I believe this particular song forced people outside of the culture to consider hip hop as a true art form. Melle Mel used the gift of expression to speak on issues in urban America that might have been overlooked by the mainstream. This was our first peek at reality rap. Sadly after 37 years this song is still relevant. Shout out to Melle Mel for taking a risk and deviating from the norm. His bold move embodied the true spirit of hip hop where creativity, self-expression and brutal honesty are all that matters. Don’t trip off the clothes and hair. This was 1982!