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Robert Keith "Keef Cowboy" Wiggins born September 20, 1960, died September 8, 1989, In The Bronx in New York City a crowd reponse specialist known to have a fearless nature in the art of rocking an audience. His clever use of an army marching cadence gave "Hip Hop" it's name A legendary figure in the culture and the groups first emcee
Melvin "Mele Mel" Glover born May 15, In The Bronx in New York City (brother of The Kidd Creole) former "Break Dancer" aka "B-Boy" and responsible for writing the first hip hop style rhyme. An exceptional lyricist, song writer (by default hip hops first duo when brought together with "Cowboy") and hip hop pioneer. With deep roots in hip hop his statis legendary and is also known as the groups second emcee
Nathaniel "The Kidd Creole" Glover jr. born Febuary 19, In The Bronx in New York City (brother of Grandmaster Mele Mel) another outstanding lyricist, song writer and "Echo Chamber" wizard coined the phrase "yes yes y'all" (early hip hop terminology). When his name was added to the list the group then became "The Three Emcee's" (by default hip hops first trio)
Eddie "Mr. Ness/Scorpio" Morris born November 12, In The Bronx in New York City was also a "Break Dancer" before picking up the microphone. Was instrumental in the groups uniform styles (in the 80's when the group wore leather) Known for his flamboyant poses on stage, photos and videos. When added to the roster the group became the "Furious Four" (by default hip hops first quartet)
The group was renowned for their "live performance" that ranged from the DJ (Flash) and the Emcee's having an exchange or the Emcee's rhyming in unison, showing how their
skills were developed in early hip hop dance clubs like the "Black Door", "The Dixie Club" and the legendary "Audubon Ballroom" (to name a few) The group is commonly known as one of the founding fathers of Hip Hop culture
Taking hip hop from the parks and streets to the studios with the release of
"We Rap Mello" (1979) for Brass Records the group went on to Enjoy Records to record "Super Rappin" (1979) early in the cultures history becoming the first true rap group to record ("The SugarHill Gang" recorded before them but they not considered the first true Emcee's) After recording "Superappin 2" (1980) the group then signed with what is now regarded as the birthplace of hip hop on vinyl the ground breaking "SugarHill Records" And released "Freedom" (1980) followed by "The Birthday Party" (1980) "It's Nasty" (1981) and the innovative "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" (1981) these songs had an up tempo style that was typical of the way The Kidd Creole and Mele Mel would rhyme using "switch overs" the group then began to establish themselves as a force in the industry.
After recording (which accually was one of the many routines said at partys by "The Furious 5") "Flash To The Beat" (1982) the group then released the cutting edge single "The Message" (1982) a top five record on the "Billboard" pop charts. This recording took the group throughout the country then across seas to become hip hop's first true herald helping to prove to the industry that hip hop wasn't just a fad (which was the belief at that time) The group continued to tour and record for a number of years releasing "Survival" (1982) "Scorpio" (1983) and "New York New York" (1983) before Flash, Rahiem and The Kidd Creole left SugarHill and signed with Elektra Records in 1984.
After the court decision and then the break up, there were two different groups participating (separately) in the recording of several albums with the group known as "Grand Master Flash" who's members were Grandmaster Flash, (the Dj) The Kidd Creole, Rahiem and LaVon (Kevin LaVon Dukes), were considered the lyricists Mr Broadway (Russell Wheeler) the hype man and Larry Love (Larry Parker) and the group known as Grandmaster Mele Mel and The Furious 5 who's members were Mele Mel, Scorpio as he was now known and Keef Cowboy. These three (along with King Lou Mele Mel's younger brother Kami Kaze and Tommy Gunn) continued to record for Sugarhill Records.
The task of writing the songs for the group Grandmaster Flash was taken on by The Kidd Creole, Rahiem and LaVon the group then released "They Said It Couldn't Be Done" (1985) the single "Sign Of The Times" and "Larry"s Dance Theme" which later was released on a "12 inch 45" ("Larry's Dance Theme pt 2") he then participated on the album "The Source" (1986) using the Henry Mancini classic "Peter Gunn" for the single "Style" followed by "Throwing Down" later teaming with the late Larry Smith (rip) a producer of early Run
DMC music, to release "Ba-Dop-Boom-Bang" (1987) the single "You Know What Time It Is" was the first song off the album followed by "All Wrapped Up". Mean while Grandmaster Mele Mel and The Furious 5 released the self titled "Grandmaster Mele Mel and The Furious 5" (1984) featuring a remixed "White Lines" and "World War III". the group also released "Stepping Off" (1985) featuring "Step Off" and "Pump Me Up"
Portraits of Keef Cowboy, Grandmaster Mele Mel, The Kidd Creole, Scorpio and Rahiem were done by Martin Askem visit him at
Keef Cowboy (rip) aka Robert Keith Wiggins joined up with Grandmaster Melle Mel
(Mele Mel back then) and The Kidd Creole in 1976 to form Grandmaster Flash and The 3 MC's, (a precursor of "The Furious 5") with production handled by Grandmaster Flash aka Joseph Saddler (this was a time before records were made so the DJ's name was listed first on fliers and such) The group formed in the south Bronx from the efforts of the aforementioned individuals. When Flash brought his turn tables and speakers in to the
parks Mele Mel, Keef Cowboy and The Kidd Creole rhymed on the mic. After two extra Emcee's joined them Mr. Ness later known as Scorpio aka Eddie Morris (the group was then called The Furious 4) and Rahiem aka Guy Todd Williams, originally from another Bronx rap group "The Funky Four", the group officially became known as "Grandmaster Flash and
The Furious 5" (The Kidd Creole, Rahiem and Grandmaster Mele Mel were considered the lyrist of "The Furious 5" while Keef Cowboy (rip) preformed crowd responses)
This Is Their Story
Guy Todd "Rahiem" Williams born Feburary 13, In The Bronx in New York City formerly of the legendary hip-hop group "DJ Breakout & DJ Baron and The Original Funky 4" (considered their best rhymer) Another amazing lyricist and song writer, when he was added to the fold the group became "The Furious Five" (by default hip hops first quintet)
Later in 1987 the group reunited and recorded "On The Strength" (1988) releasing the singles "Gold" then "Fly Girls". After many years of recording shooting videos and starring on stage and screen the group started to receive various awards recognizing them as hip hop pioneers. On The Bronx Walk of Fame a street sign was named after them in 2005,
The Vh1 Hip Hop Honors award in 2006 and on March 12 of 2007 they were inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with R.E.M., (Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe.) The Ronettes, (Estelle Bennett, Ronnie Spector, and Nedra Talley.) Patti Smith and Van Halen (Michael Anthony, Sammy Hagar, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen, and Eddie Van Halen) Also in 2012 the goups song "The Message" was enshrined in the "Grammy Hall of Fame" securing their position in the industry and legendary statis as hip hop pioneers.
Various Group Photos
The Furious Five Live at The Ritz
The Furious Five Live at "The Ritz"....circa 1981 (photo by Charlie Ahearn)
Group Old School Photo Shoot
The Bronx Walk of Fame 2005
THE FURIOUS 5
Cowboy through his use of a "scat routine" (borrowed from a U.S. Army cadence) that the cultures early detractors used to label the music, thus the term "hip hoppers" (meant as an insult) was used by the disco set to describe the culture, later whittled down to "hip hop". While using this "scat routine" at a party (at "The Black Door") for a friend who had just joined the U.S. Army, Cowboy began scat singing the words "hip/hop/hip/hop" in a
way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of the marching drill. He then worked the
"hip hop" cadence into part of his performance this evolved into the term "Hip Hop" (which embodied the then subculture's or "street culture's" essence) that was later adopted by the industry.
And The Pioneers Are
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