Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. (Photo: Google Images)
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. (Photo: Google Images)

BET‘s highly anticipated four-part documentary on Hip-Hop, ‘The Message’ debuts tonight at 10 p.m. (EST). Narrated by rapper Joe Budden (LHHNY), the documentary takes viewers on a journey through the evolution of hip-hop music and culture. The iconic song ‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Melle Mel and Duke Bootee debuted in 1982 on Sugar Hill Records and offered social commentary about conditions in post-industrial urban neighborhoods. The rap song successfully merged what was commonly thought of as party music with the critical analysis of socio-economic conditions through unparalleled rap lyricism. Stephen Hill, BET‘s head of music programming and specials says:

“Hip hop is a seed planted and nourished amongst the ‘broken glass everywhere’ of mid-70s New York. It has grown to be a worldwide phenomenon and the dominant culture of at least one generation. This exciting series examines the origin and the path of the music and message, taking care to objectively analyze its factions and movements.”

The documentary will be split into four episodes: The Birth and Proliferation of Hip Hop; Trials and Tribulations; Women, Cash, Clothes; and The Digital Revolution. ‘The Message’ will feature a multitude of members of the hip-hop community from all parts of the culture.

The documentary will also feature the last interview with music executive Chris Lighty before his tragic death.

The documentary is produced by Sam Walker II, Director of Music Specials and Productions, BET Networks along with Keith Clinkscales and The Shadow League Media.

When asked why viewers should tune into ‘The Message,’ Clinkscales offers:

“It does a great job of tracing the development of ‘The Message’ and how hip-hop works through social, economic and regional issues to develop a voice. It is an introspective way of looking at the voice of the Hip-Hop community. More importantly, this documentary speaks to the power of ‘The Message.'”

‘The Message’ debuts Wednesday, June 4 at 10 p.m. EST. The remaining episodes will air every Wednesday at the same time during June, which is Black Music Month.

This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news publication The Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual. 

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