During Hip-Hop's 30yr+ history, few names have become as well known to music lovers across the globe as that of DJ Grandmaster Flash
. Not only is he one of the three pioneers responsible for the musical genre called Hip-Hop, but his use of the turntables made him the first dj to play the turntables as a musical instrument, thus helping to elevate the status of the dj to a masterful, artisitic position. He is also responsible for assembling one of the earliest and greatest rap groups of all time - The Furious Five. These are some of the hallmarks of a career which has extended from the Bronx in the early 1970s to all corners of the globe into the 21st Century.
Of Bajan decent, Joseph Saddler, professionally known as "DJ Grandmaster Flash
: was born and raised in the Boogie Down Bronx. It was the area's streets and nightlife that provided his inspirations. He developed his first crush on vinyl when he was just a boy playing with his father's records. By the time he was a teenager he was studying electronics and engineering in school, and spinning records at block parties and public parks.
By 1971, Flash was inventing and demonstrating innovative dj techniques with turntables in response to his many observations at parties, and of other djs, thus later claiming the turntables to be an instrument. "The Quick Mix Theory", which emcompassed the innovative technique of "cutting", which laid the foundation of what became known as "scratching" (along with its many offshoots; "crabsnatching", "transforming", "flaring", "doubleback/back door", "phasing", and "backspinning" ), is the technique of using duplicate copies of a vinyl record and scientifically rearranging the arrangement of the music and extending the break parts of songs. The "Clock Theory" allowed Flash to find the break of a recorded song quickly by eye, by marking the vinyl with tape or crayon. This manual display of taking a song apart and rearranging its structure live contributed to the early development and rise of the DJ as a remixer, artist, and producer.
In the late 70's, Flash took his inventions to another level, by recruiting emcee's to rap over his music. The unity later became worldly known as "Grandmaster Flash
and the Furious Five". The 80's brought many albums, hits, shows, and recognition worldwide as hip-hop was becoming the new popular music. Even into the 90's and now, DJ Grandmaster Flash
still tours the world, still recieves awards for his pioneership to hip-hop, and still creating musically and mechanically. He is a true definition of an icon.
Hip-Hop Culture was created in 1971 by three DJs , Flash being one of them, and then, contrary to popular belief, came the graffitti writers and the breakdancers, and the MCs followed much later. Flash recorded the unique sounds he created, and in 1977 began experimenting and collaborating with local MC's and put together his own group who became known as Grandmaster Flash
and the Furious Five. Their reputation grew around Flash's unrivaled DJ skills and the group's blending and trading of lyrics. Flash also gained notice for the visually dynamic and acrobatic way he could spin and scratch records using his feet, toes and elbows.
1981's "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash
on the Wheels of Steel" was the first record to feature complex cuts and scratches, and introduced the name Grandmaster Flash
as their originator. Following the group's demise, Flash continued to make his mark by releasing solo albums, and was immortalized in Blondie's hit song of 1980, "Rapture": "Flash is fast, Flash is cool!"