The Message

Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Grandmaster Flash

About The Message

"The Message" is a song by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. It was released as a single by Sugar Hill Records on July 1, 1982 and was later featured on the group's first studio album, The Message. "The Message" was the first prominent hip hop song to provide a social commentary rather than the self-congratulatory boasting or party chants of earlier hip hop. The song's lyrics describe the stress of inner city poverty. "The Message" took rap music from the house parties of its origin to the social platforms later developed by groups like Public Enemy, N. W. A, and KRS-One. Melle Mel said in an interview with NPR: "Our group, like Flash and the Furious Five, we didn't actually want to do "The Message" because we was used to doing party raps and boasting how good we are and all that."The song was written by Duke Bootee and Melle Mel.. The stanza "A Child is Born" was taken from an early Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five track, "Superrappin'" from 1981 on the Enjoy label. 


 Watch: New Singing Lesson Videos Can Make Anyone A Great Singer

It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder 
How I keep from going under 
It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder 
How I keep from going under

Broken glass everywhere 
People pissing on the stairs, you know they just don?t care 
I can't take the smell, I can't take the noise no more
Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice 
Rats in the front room, roaches in the back 
Junkie's in the alley with a baseball bat 
I tried to get away, but I couldn't get far 
'Cause a man with a tow-truck repossessed my car 

Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge 
I'm trying not to lose my head, ah huh-huh-huh 
[2nd and 5th: ah huh-huh-huh] 
[4th: say what?]
It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder 
How I keep from going under 
It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder 
How I keep from going under 

Standing on the front stoop, hangin' out the window 
Watching all the cars go by, roaring as the breezes blow 
Crazy lady livin' in a bag 
Eatin' out of garbage pails, she used to be a fag-hag 
Said she danced the tango, skipped the light fandango
The Zircon Princess seemed to lost her senses 
Down at the peepshow, watching all the creeps 
So she can tell the stories to the girls back home 
She went to the city and got Social Security 
She had to get a pimp, she couldn't make it on her own 


My brother's doing bad on my mother's TV
Says she watches too much, it's just not healthy 
All My Children in the daytime, Dallas at night 
Can't even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight 
The bill collectors they ring my phone 
And scare my wife when I'm not home 
Got a bum education, double-digit inflation 
Can't take the train to the job, there's a strike at the station 
Neon King Kong standin' on my back 
Can't stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac 
A mid-range migraine, cancered membrane 
Sometimes I think I'm going insane, I swear I might hijack a plane 


My son said: "Daddy, I don't wanna go to school 
'Cause the teacher's a jerk, he must think I'm a fool 
And all the kids smoke reefer, I think it'd be cheaper 
If I just got a job, learned to be a street sweeper 
I'd dance to the beat, shuffle my feet 
Wear a shirt and tie and run with the creeps 
'Cause it's all about money, ain't a damn thing funny 
You got to have a con in this land of milk and honey"
They pushed that girl in front of the train 
Took her to the doctor, sewed her arm on again 
Stabbed that man right in his heart 
Gave him a transplant for a brand new start 
I can't walk through the park, cause it's crazy after dark 
Keep my hand on my gun, cause they got me on the run 
I feel like a outlaw, broke my last glass jaw
Hear them say: "You want some more?" livin' on a seesaw 


A child is born with no state of mind 
Blind to the ways of mankind 
God is smiling on you but he's frowning too 
Because only God knows what you'll go through 
You'll grow in the ghetto, living second rate 
And your eyes will sing a song of deep hate 
The places you play and where you stay 
Looks like one great big alley way 
You'll admire all the number book takers 
Thugs, pimps, pushers and the big money makers 
Driving big cars, spending twenties and tens 
And you wanna grow up to be just like them, huh, 
Smugglers, scramblers, burglars, gamblers 
Pickpockets, peddlers even panhandlers 
You say: "I'm cool, I'm no fool!" 
But then you wind up dropping out of high school 
Now you're unemployed, all non-void 
Walking 'round like you're Pretty Boy Floyd 
Turned stickup kid, look what you've done did 
Got sent up for a eight year bid 
Now your manhood is took and you're a Maytag
Spent the next two years as a undercover fag 
Being used and abused to serve like hell 
'Til one day you was found hung dead in your cell 
It was plain to see that your life was lost 
You was cold and your body swung back and forth 
But now your eyes sing the sad, sad song 
Of how you lived so fast and died so young 


 Watch: New Singing Lesson Videos Can Make Anyone A Great Singer

Grandmaster Flash

Joseph Saddler (born January 1, 1958 in Bridgetown, Barbados), better known as Grandmaster Flash, is an American hip hop musician and DJ—one of the pioneers of hip-hop DJing, cutting, and mixing. more »

1 fan

Written by: Clifton Nathaniel Chase, Edward G. Fletcher, Melvin Glover, Sylvia Robinson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

10 facts about this song

Genre and Release
The single "The Message" was released in 1983 by the American hip-hop artists Duke Bootee and Grandmaster Flash. This song belongs to the genre of rapping, which was quite nascent at the time of its release.
Pioneer of Conscious Hip-Hop
"The Message" is known as one of the first prominent hip-hop songs to provide social commentary and is often credited with introducing the sub-genre of conscious hip-hop.
Signature Loop
Musically, "The Message" is notable for its innovative use of a looping disco drum break, which repeats throughout the song.
Songwriting Credits
Despite being billed under the name "Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five", only Duke Bootee (Ed Fletcher) and Melle Mel are credited as the songwriters for "The Message". Additionally, Duke Bootee performs most of the lyrics.
Negative Initial Reaction
It is reported that Grandmaster Flash was initially against the song, as he believed it was not the right direction for the group. He was of the opinion that people wouldn’t want to hear social commentary in their party music.
Acclaim and Influence
"The Message" has been lauded by a plethora of critics and listeners for its powerful socio-political themes. It not only influenced the future of rap and hip-hop but also immensely impacted popular music, in general.
Covers and Samples
Several artists have covered or sampled "The Message", indicating the song's considerable influence in the music industry. Its refrain "Don't push me 'cause I'm close to the edge" is particularly well-known and has been repeatedly sampled.
Rankings and Recognition
In 2002, "The Message" was honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. The song was the only hip-hop song on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (at position 51), and in 2020, the magazine updated its list, moving the song up to the 8th position.
Social Impact
The lyrics of "The Message" depict the struggles and experiences of growing up in the inner city. They thereby gave a voice to a section of society that had been largely ignored by mainstream media up until then.
Inclusion in Movies
The song has been used in many films to signal urban desperation, including "New Jack City", "CB4", and "Dangerous Minds".

Discuss the The Message Lyrics with the community:



    Use the citation below to add these lyrics to your bibliography:


    "The Message Lyrics." STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 20 Apr. 2024. <>.

    Missing lyrics by Grandmaster Flash?

    Know any other songs by Grandmaster Flash? Don't keep it to yourself!

    Watch the song video

    The Message

    1,141     50

    Top Hot 100 Songs 1982

    Billboard #62



    Are you a music master?

    Who is the best-selling rapper in history?
    A Tupac
    B Drake
    C Eminem
    D Kanye West

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant explanation for any lyrics that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant explanation for any acronym or abbreviation that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Grandmaster Flash tracks

    On Radio Right Now


    Powered by

    Think you know music? Test your MusicIQ here!

    Movies soundtrack

    The Message