Grandmaster Flash was born on New Years 1958, which plays in hand with how he later helped transform a new sound into what we now know as Hip-Hop. His fascination with music began with his father’s vinyl collection, but it quickly evolved into learning how to blend records and creating music that he wanted to hear. Soon after he had “the most important moment in his success as an artist,” which was to flawlessly scratch a transition from one beat to another on time and that gave him the ability to create a new sound. This allowed Flash to thrive in the early scene of DJ’s and play at parties with Kurtis Blow and Lovebug Starski that created a buzz around him that still goes on today.
In 1979 he helped create the Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five which consisted of himself, Keith Cowboy who coined the term Hip Hop, Melle Mel who was the first person to call himself an MC, Kid Creole, and Scorpio. Their first single Superrappin’ allowed the group to sign with the famed label Sugarhill records and become a staple in the culture they were creating. In 1982 they released the song The Message which did not only become a driving force behind consciousness Hip Hop but proved that Hip Hop was no longer a subculture phenomenon. That same year Grandmaster Flash was able to further push the movement by featuring himself DJing (in his actual kitchen!) in the Hip Hop classic Wild Style. As time went one the Furious 5 began to dissolve but that didn’t stop Grandmaster flash from signing with the major label Elektra Records and release albums like They Said It Couldn’t Be Done, The Source, Ba-Dop-Boom-Bang, a Furious 5 reunion album On the Strength all of which were certified Gold.
Today the Grandmaster Flash says “he currently has the largest audience in his career” as he continues to rock the house and headline venues across the globe even the 2015 Electronic Music Awards. Being a pioneer he isn’t afraid to play in front of new audiences and play off the rhythm of the crowd. With the ability to adapt to his crowd he can blend in reggae, jazz, pop, blues, and more within his performances and because of his talent he’s been able to perform in countries like Dubai, France, Singapore and much more. When he’s not playing to the crowd you can catch him exploring classical music composers such as Tchaikovsky, Bach, and Mozart.
With Grandmaster Flash being such a diverse artist has always been true to his core and in 2007 he joined the Furious 5 as the first Hip Hop act ever to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Two years later he released his latest album The Bridge – Concept Of A Culture which featured some of New York’s finest MC’s including Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, Snoop Dogg, and much more. Coming in a full circle events he’s always producing an upcoming Netflix series called the Get Down which features Grandmaster Flash being played by Mamoudou Athie as a young kid in the streets of NY and discovering the early stages of Hip Hop. The show premieres August 12th and I for one am already hyped up about the show.