KILO LOUNGE THURSDAYS X COLLECTIVE MINDS PRESENT GRANDMASTER FLASH (US)
Emerging from the South Bronx in the early 1970s, Grandmaster Flash is inarguably one of Hip Hop’s original innovators. In the earliest days of the genre, he manipulated music by placing his fingers on the vinyl, perfected beat looping, and discovered many of the most iconic beats still commonly sampled today. It’s no surprise that The New York Times calls him Hip Hop’s first virtuoso.
Today, he’s the voice of an entire generation of 1970s hip hop pioneers. From his electric live shows, to his producer role on Netflix’ The Get Down, Grandmaster Flash is at once a historian, a storyteller, and a cultural force.
ABOUT GRANDMASTER FLASH
There are lots of stories about the birth of jazz and the beginning of rock n’ roll, but hip-hop has founding fathers: one of them is DJ Grandmaster Flash. In the early '70s Joseph Saddler was living in the South Bronx and studying electrical engineering. However, Saddler, a native of the Bronx, had a much deeper passion for music; he had been experimenting with his father’s vinyl since he was a toddler. His knowledge of audio equipment led him to an idea that would revolutionize the way he played music: the turntable would become his instrument.
The career of DJ Grandmaster Flash began in the Bronx with neighborhood block parties that essentially were the start of what would become a global phenomenon — the dawn of a musical genre. He was the first DJ to physically lay his hands on the vinyl and manipulate it in a backward, forward or counterclockwise motion, when most DJs simply handled the record by the edges, put down the tone arm, and let it play. Those DJs let the tone arm guide their music, but Flash marked up the body of the vinyl with crayon, fluorescent pen, and grease pencil—and those markings became his compass.
He invented the Quick Mix Theory, which included techniques such as the double-back, back-door, back-spin, and phasing. This allowed a DJ to make music by touching the record and gauging its revolutions to make his own beat and his own music. Flash’s template grew to include cutting, which, in turn, spawned scratching, transforming, the Clock Theory and the like. He laid the groundwork for everything a DJ can do with a record today, other than just letting it play. What we call a DJ today is a role that Flash invented.