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  • Writer's pictureOmar Holloway

Hip-Hop DJ Originator Grandmaster Flash's Furious Nine = 9 details from the Hall of Famer's guest-appearance on "Drink Champs"

Updated: Feb 8

The original architect, scientist, and mathematician DJ of Hip-Hop fell in love with music the first time he heard a needle drop on a vinyl record.

Using his developed skill of being handy, Grandmaster Flash started producing as a teenager and became the official DJ and beat-maker for Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five in the 1970s. After putting rap on the map with records like "The Message", the group continued to make history by being the first people to take Hip Hop from The Bronx to the mainstream.

Grandmaster Flash remained innovative throughout the following years. Some of his inaugural feats include creating sampling, figuring out how to mix tracks in real-time without using technology, becoming the first DJ to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and making history as the first DJ to get a Grammy. On top of his historic string of accomplishments, he also had successful stints working on movies and TV shows.

This Drink Champs' episode dialogue started immediately about how Hip-Hop merged with the standards of music publishing and royalties (business-of-music education via “The King of Funk” Rick James!).


1. On inventing sampling:

Using an already-released composition in a new creation has always been an essential part of Hip Hop. Grandmaster Flash, who deems himself as "the first human sampler" is largely to thank for that.

With breakdancing in mind during the early days of the genre, he admitted to asking himself, "How can I take this 10 seconds from this pop, rock, jazz, blues, funk, disco, R&B, alternative, Caribbean, Latin, this one particular section, and elongate it just enough so that the breakers could have a steady beat to dance on?... Later, it became the music bed for the rapper to speak on," which evidences how the invention has evolved.


2. On records that capture the essence of Hip Hop:

"There are two records that I think are the absolute top. If you were to say, ‘These records helped start a movement,’ [it] would be [DJ] Kool Herc’s discovery of ‘Apache’ (by The Incredible Bongo Band) and my discovery of ‘Take Me to the Mardi Gras’ by Bob James. 1A, 1B,".


3. On the evolution of the beatbox:

When most people hear the term "beatbox", they assume that it’s a reference to someone making noises with their mouth.

However, according to Grandmaster Flash, the beatbox actually refers to a drum machine. After being introduced to the practice-device through a school band drummer in The Bronx’s Jackson Projects, the Hip Hop pioneer began using the tool for production as heard in "Flash To The Beat".

"This became the secret weapon and this got us more fans," he explained. "Years later, there were these super people, Biz Markie, rest in peace, [and] Dougie Fresh, that decided to replicate the sounds of a drum with their mouth and they made huge records off of this..."

He referred to his original beatbox as the "first drum machine in Hip Hop, period."


4. On the genesis of his Quick Mix Theory:

Around the age of 15 or 16, Grandmaster Flash developed what he called the Quick Mix Theory to loop and blend music in real time.

So he came up with a formula: Four bars forward is equal to six counterclockwise reps, which equals a full loop extraction. He finished by expressing the long-lasting impact of his math: "The mechanics of this has not changed in 50 years..."


5. On his involvement in "The Get Down":

Grandmaster Flash was recruited to work on the Netflix original "The Get Down" by the show’s creator Baz Luhrmann. Luhrmann consulted with the DJ to ensure the accuracy of Hip Hop’s birth in The Bronx before eventually hiring him as a producer.

"The intention was to take elements and then glorify it with a story," Grandmaster Flash said.


6. On fighting for his stage name:

The Hip Hop innovator was signed to Sugar Hill Records, but even after their business deal came to a close, the label continued to use his name and likeness. In fact, Grandmaster Flash’s name is branded on a number of records like "Beat Street" by Melle Mel that he had no actual involvement with.

Talking about the day he won over the rights to his moniker, he remembered, "I ran out of that courtroom, and I fell down on my knees and I thanked God and I was crying like a baby because all I wanted was my name back."


7. On the new age standard of performance:

"I think it’s extremely important, if you know your craft, know your craft with no net. Meaning you should not be rhyming over the vocal version... it’s an injustice to people who paid $40 to come in, or $50 or $100 to come see you rhyme over your talking. It’s not fair."


8. On DJ Kool Herc’s back-to-school jam (promoted as the origin of the “Hip Hop” scene):

Grandmaster Flash suggested that the originators of the genre should sit down and clear up the history with one another.


9. On Hip Hop 50 celebration(s):

As a founding father of the genre, Grandmaster Flash wasn’t a huge fan of how Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary was promoted last year. He mainly criticized the lack of acknowledging all four elements of the genre (DJing / blending / scratching; emcee (MC) / rap / rhyming; graffiti painting; and break dancing (B-boying / B-girling) - as well as the periods that were highlighted and the ages of the people who spoke on rap’s impact.

"The detail of where it came from, and what it took to get here has not been properly represented... if you want to know the beginning, the beginning - beginning, you gotta ask someone who’s around 60," he declared. "You can’t ask somebody 30 or 25 - you just cannot. And this is why I find it critically important to speak."

*VIDEO: Grandmaster Flash Talks Hip Hop Legacy, Inventing Sampling, Quick Mix Theory & More. Drink Champs >


*SOURCE: 9 takeaways from Grandmaster Flash's "Drink Champs" interview; Hip Hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash talks about the genre’s 50th anniversary celebrations, beatboxing, his accomplishments and more in the latest episode of "Drink Champs.". Revolt >

*RehaB101 Original New School Webcast > #RehaB101ONSW newsfeed.

*Blaze 1 Radio Blog new indie dance dancehall gospel hip hop indigenous instrumental jazz pop rap reggae rhythm and blues ( rnb / R&B ) urban blogs internet live music stream dj mix shows interviews podcasts video world wide web national international #Blaze1Radio #Next2Blaze 24/7



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