As the first emcee recruited by Grandmaster Flash for the Furious Five, Melle Mel's distinctive vocal style became one of the most recognizable of the Old School Rap era. The group recorded infectious and socially important records, including monumental classics "The Message" and "White Lines." One of the most popular and critically acclaimed crews of the early 1980s, the Furious Five filled clubs, converted fans, and built Sugarhill Records' rep. Melle Mel split from Flash shortly after they recorded yet another classic hit, "New York, New York." After the breakup, Mel released "The Message II" with Duke Booty and "Jesse." He continued to work with members of the Furious Five, rapping and producing sporadically throughout the '80s and '90s. While his latter day releases may not burn up the charts, Melle Mel remains one of the most important emcees in hip-hop's history. With his flashy outfits and characteristic delivery, he commanded attention in a time when tight rhymes outweighed gun talk and ice, and he'll always be known for his trademark verses and original style.