Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five

Greatest Mixes

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As Rhino did two compilations in the '90s, this one appeared in 1997 and was released on the English label Deepbeats. Greatest Mixes adds a new wrinkle in the tried-and-true greatest-hits sets by including some new mixes of Grandmaster Flash favorites, rare original extended mixes, and some unreleased tracks. Despite all of the offerings, not surprisingly the best songs here are the original extended mixes released in the early to mid-'80s. The brilliant "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" more than sustains its lasting properties and introduces the first instances of sampling and scratching. The overdone "New York New York" from 1983 seems to gain strength from the better stuff before and after it. 1984's "Step Off" and the go-go-fused "Pump Me Up" find the group sliding off the charts, yet continuing to imbue a flashiness and caustic style that set them apart from the increasing competition. Remaining true to its title, Greatest Mixes has new mixes from DJs and in doing so makes this careen toward sacrilege. The worst of two negligible takes on "White Lines (Don't Do It)" is the hideous "Jazzy" mix by Cutmaster Swift and Pogo. The classic "The Message" has gauche, old school-styled arrangement from Cutting Edge. While Grandmaster Flash certainly has enough tracks to "tamper" with, Greatest Mixes also has unreleased tracks, most notably 1989's great, testy, and spare "Freestyle." This is one of those sets where a single disc is too concise, and without the original version of "The Message," Greatest Mixes ends up being much less than it could have been.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:11
2 7:36
3 4:46
4 4:42
5 6:18
6 4:46
7 7:20
8 5:10
9 9:02
10 7:06
12 7:08
blue highlight denotes track pick