The remaining members of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 reunited on stage for the 65th annual Grammy Awards Hip-Hop 50th anniversary tribute.
After LL COOL J, the tribute's host, introduced Black Thought of The Roots and did a spoken word intro, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Scorpio and Rahiem took the stage and performed a short rendition of their classic, "Flash To The Beat" routine and "The Message."
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 have not consistently performed together as a unit since their 1984 break up when the group splintered into two factions. The original group reunited in 1988 and signed to Elektra Records for On The Strength and they performed together in 2007 when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Jay-Z. In recent years, Grandmaster Flash performs on his own, as do Rahiem, Melle Mel, and Scorpio. Keith Cowboy died in 1989 and Kid Creole is currently incarcerated.
My neighbor was a drummer who used this drum box to keep his fingers nimble. Whenever he couldn't set up his drums he used this. He lived in the projects on 149th & Jackson Ave. I begged him to sell it to me and he did for $125.00.
- Grandmaster Flash - The Foundation, 2003
The performance of "Flash To The Beat" is of great significance because Flash played the original Vox manually operated drum machine that he incorporated into the group's earliest performances. Audio of that legendary routine has traveled the world via third and fourth-generation cassette tapes and a bootlegged Bronx River show pressed on vinyl.
Parts of "Flash To The Beat" were incorporated into "Superrappin'," the group's 1979 debut, and a polished version of "Flash To The Beat" was released on Sugar Hill Records in 1982. Flash explained the significance of the Beat Box to The Foundation in 2003.
"The beatbox is a manually operated drumbox that I used to play while I was Djing," he said. "It was a machine made in England by Vox. It had a bass drum key, snare, hi-hats and hand claps. I used to play this like a typewriter almost. The phrase beat box was coined by me, but it didn't reach the masses. Well, it went to sleep and reemerged with people doing it with their mouths. So the human beatbox is these guys emulating something that I created and I just want people to know that."