The group rose to fame in the early 1980s with their first successful single "Freedom" and later on with their magnum opus "The Message", which is often cited as among the most influential hip hop songs. However, in 1983, relations between Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel became strained and the group disbanded. A reunion was organized in 1987, and it released a new album. Afterward, the sextet disbanded permanently.
Overall, the group was active for five years and released two studio albums. In 2007, it became the first hip hop group ever to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.