DJ Grandmaster Flash used turntables to transcend Hip Hop into a cultural foundation
No matter how far a tree branches out the roots will always remain grounded in its original place. If you look deeper its rings will tell the history of its growth. Tracing the roots of music is no different. When you assess the history of Hip Hop tracing it back to its roots, you’ll find DJs at the center.
Grandmaster Flash is considered to be one of Hip Hop’s pioneers. He made history at a time when DJs were already known for turning parties into elaborate events. The skills he brought to the turntables would evolve Hip Hop changing it forever.
It must be GRAND
Joseph Saddler, better known as Grandmaster Flash was born January 1, 1958, to Barbadian parents who came to the U.S. as immigrants. He grew up in the Bronx in New York City learning to repair electronic equipment. As a child he had a fascination with taking electrical appliances apart and putting them back together.
Music was a staple of their household and Saddler had a great appreciation for his father’s record collection. He would often get in trouble for touching his father’s records and this is where he developed his interest in DJing. His young mind was intrigued by how music and record players aligned perfectly with his interest in electronics.
Early on he noticed that other DJs did not have smooth transitions when blending records and he felt this could be changed. After a period of trial and error, he decided to place his finger on the vinyl to assist with making a smooth transition. Vinyl is sacred to musicians so you are never supposed to touch it. This was such a taboo and almost disgraceful thing to do but it worked.
He perfected the technique using intricate rhythm calculations and by marking the vinyl with a crayon. This strong desire to study and perfect his craft led to him becoming an innovator within hip hop culture. Saddler then went on to incorporate phrases and techniques that he invented adding to his uniqueness.
Hip Hop is not a fad
In the 1970s, Grandmaster Flash worked to establish a group that would eventually become Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The group began performing weekly at Disco Fever in the Bronx making history as one of the first hip-hop groups to perform regularly at a well-known venue. Their skills earned them record deals and they started releasing recordings in the 1980s. “The Message” is the most popular song of their career released in 1982.
GrandMaster Flash showcases the skills behind Hip Hop culture. The expansion of Rap in the mainstream may have produced some misconceptions about the skills and history behind Hip Hop. The fact is, without complex skill, Hip Hop would not be where it is today as an art form. DJ Grandmaster Flash is seen as a pioneer of DJing, cutting, scratching and mixing. His contributions took Hip Hop from localized neighborhood parties to award shows and worldwide audiences.
Not knowing what came before you can lead to problems in the future. Sometimes the past can prevent you from making harmful decisions in the future. Just as you learn from your own past, the past of others existing before your time also has a lot to offer. We must celebrate the past by telling its stories in the future. A key thing to remember is without origin there is nothing but darkness. That’s why you light a torch in the dark and pass it on so others can see.
Subscribe to this web portal for more STAY WOKE segments!
Follow us on Twitter
- [STAY WOKE] Lauryn Hill- I Just Want To Make Music - February 24, 2019
- [STAY WOKE] J Mayo “Ink” Williams- Making Deals and Breaking Chains - February 21, 2019
- [STAY WOKE] Ethel Waters The Chosen One - February 20, 2019