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The Funky 4 Vs. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 4 was the first Rap Battle

The Funky 4 MCs Vs. Furious Five MCs was the first rap battle.
A flier advertising a rap battle at the PAL at 183 Street and Webster Avenue in the Bronx, New York City, on May 11, 1979, designed by Buddy Esquire (Lenoin Thompson III). The flier is a vertical sheet of paper fully covered with letterblock text inside a think black border: [WE'VE COME TOGETHER… / RIGHT NOW… / AT THE [underlined] / PAL / 182 ST & WEBSTER AVE / WITH / THE Brothers Disco.Sisters Disco. [sideways] / DJ BREAKOUT DJ BARON / THE FUNKY 4 MCS / Sha.Rock Keith.Keith / Rahiem KK Rockwell / THE GRANDMASTER FLASH / AND THE RETURN OF THE… / FURIOUS IV [large font] MCs /.Mele.Mel Kid Creole / Keith.Keith Mr Ness. / SPECIAL PEOPLE OF THE NITE…. / FRI, MAY 11, 1979/ 9 PM – UNTIL / HE $4.00 SHE $3.00.. / A JAZZY DEE PRODUCTION… / 41.55.29 & 36 Buses to Webster Ave. / Buddy ESQ [illegible] LMF [sideways] TO MICHELE ] The verso of the flier is blank. Date: 1970s. Record ID: nmaahc_2014.219.4.

The Funky 4 MCs Vs. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 4 MCs was the first Hip-Hop/Rap Battle.

On the night of May 11, 1979, The Funky 4 MCs and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five MCs battled at the P.A.L on 183 St & Webster Ave in the Bronx, New York.

The Funky 4 MCs consisted of 2 DJ’s; DJ Breakout & DJ Baron and The 4 MC’s; Sha-Rock, Jazzy Jeff, Rahiem, K.K. Rockwell and Li’l Rodney C.

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious IV MCs included Grandmaster Flash, Keith Keith Aka. Keef “Cowboy” Wiggins, Mr. Ness and brothers Melle Mel and The Kidd Creole. The group has changed its name three times: DJ Flash & 3 MCs, GrandMaster Flash & The Furious 4 and finally GrandMaster Flash & The Furious 5.

At the time in 1979, Rahiem was part of the Funky 4 MC’s he later joined The Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5. The event was a Jazzy Dee production and started at 9pm, It was $4 dollars for fellas and $3 for ladies. The Brothers Disco and Sisters Disco were also at the event.

Below you will see a flier advertising the rap battle on May 11, 1979. The flier was designed by Buddy Esquire (Lenoin Thompson III).

Who won? Only those who attended could judge.

We confirmed this with Rahiem of Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five MCs.

Read: Rahiem was a member of the Funky 4 MCs and Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five

The Funky 4 MCs Vs. Furious Five MCs was the first rap battle.
Photo Courtesy of Rahiem