Grandmaster Flash Bio
Grandmaster Flash is the Grammy nominated, award winning, Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame inductee who took the hip-hop world by storm and made it into the genre it is today.
During hip-hop’s nearly 30-year history, few names have become as well known to music lovers across the globe as that of Grandmaster Flash. Not only is he responsible for inventing the musical genre called hip-hop and a worldwide musical culture, but his pioneering use of the turntables make him the first DJ to play the turntables as a musical instrument thus helping to elevate the status of the DJ to a masterful, artistic position. He is responsible for assembling one of the earliest and greatest rap groups of all timeGrandmaster Flash & 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.
Joseph Saddler, professionally known as Flash, was born and raised in the Bronx. He developed his first crush on vinyl when he was just a boy playing with his father’s records. Studying one particular DJ, known as Kool Herc, who is one of his greatest influences apart from his very own father, led him to create and elevate this turntable art form as he developed such innovative and distinctive techniques. He was scientifically inventing and demonstrating such methods and concepts he collectively called “The Quick Mix Theory” which encompassed the innovative technique of “Cutting”, eventually laying the foundations for what became known as “Scratching”.
The hip-hop culture was created in 1971 by three DJs, Flash being one of them, and contrary to popular belief, the graffiti writers, the break dancers and the MCs followed much later. Flash recorded the unique sounds he created, and in 1977 began experimenting and collaborating with local MCs eventually putting together his own group who became known as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Their reputation grew around Flash’s unrivalled DJ skills and the group’s blending and trading of lyrics.
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!” In this era Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five have released multi-million selling and ground breaking songs such as The Message andWhite Lines amongst others.
Grandmaster Flash played the 1998 Super Bowl and was invited by comedian Chris Rock to be the musical director for Rock’s groundbreaking HBO TV series, where Flash could be seen onscreen spinning during the show’s four-year run. He performed for the closing of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 for more than 40 000 people, which included Prime Minister Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth. He is regularly headlining musical festivals and events with artists such as N*E*R*D, Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, Missy Elliott and many more…
In 2002 Flash designed, launched and created the Grandmaster Flash Signature Empath mixer for Rane Corporation, adding to previous endorsements by Louis Vuitton, Helmut Lang, Native Instruments, Gemini Sound and Kangol caps.
Among his many awards are the Pioneer Award from Source Magazine, the New Music Seminar Hall of Fame Award, the DMC Hall of Fame Award, B.E.T.’s Diamond Award and Billboard Award. In June 2004 he was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame with a plaque dedicated at 161st street and the Grand Concourse, and a street named after him in New York.
In 2008 Flash released his much anticipated memoirs – penned by famed author David Ritz (who wrote Marvin Gayes and Ray Charles’ autobiographies) entitled The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash – My Life, My Beats! In2009 Activion released one of the most successful computer games ever where Grandmaster Flash is taking a key role in the game beside Eminem and Jay Z – DJ Hero. And to top it all off, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in New York – as the first hip-hop artists ever!
With thirty awards under his belt, it is easy to see why this man is such an icon and great inspiration to many around the globe.