A no-holds-barred memoir from the primary architect of hip hop and one of the culture’s most revered music icons both the tale of his life and legacy and a testament to dogged determination. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five fomented the musical revolution known as hip hop. Theirs was a groundbreaking union between one DJ and five rapping MCs. One of the first hip hop posses, they were responsible for such masterpieces as The Message and Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel. In the 1970s Grandmaster Flash pioneered the art of break-beat DJingthe process of remixing and thereby creating a new piece of music by playing vinyl records and turntables as musical instruments.
One of the founders of rap music, Grand Master Flash more than deserves a full-blown, critical biography. This as-told-to autobio ain’t it. It is, however, replete with GMF’s views of his travails, the start of the rap scene in New York, and the career of his Furious Five, a seminal act in rap history and the first rap group elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (OK, big whoop). Born Joseph Saddler in Barbados in 1958, GMF remembers hearing James Brown at one of his parents’ late-night house parties: “I wanted to scream, wanted to jump in the middle of the action.” Eventually, he did, as an early master of “scratching,” the art of creating the instrumental component of rap by manipulating vinyl records on turntables. Though more boastful than introspective, this first book on the life and career of a rap initiator should still be considered essential for pop-music and hip-hop collections. It may even give your library an immediate uptick in street cred! –Mike Tribby
“Grandmaster Flash not only transformed and revolutionized the music industry with his innovative turntable genius, he also opened the doors to power, and influenced the hopes and dreams of generations . . . and he did it with class. That’s the message.” —MC Hammer, Billboard Diamond Award winner, 3-time Grammy Award winner
“In the rich history of American music, Grandmaster Flash holds an important place. He helped birth a culture that, in many ways, changed the world of artistic expression.” –Jimmy Jam, Grammy Award Winning songwriter and producer of 25 No. 1 R& B hits and 16 No. 1 Pop hits, a record surpassed only by Sir George Martin (The Beatles)
“Hip hop is the blues music of my day and age. Like the blues, it has influenced every form of popular music today. Grandmaster Flash is a true pioneer of hip hop, and his skills as a DJ along with the classic records he made with the Furious Five have no doubt influenced me deeply. Scorpio is a timeless example of an early hip hop record that still plays today, and The Message is without a doubt a true classic in the same class as songs like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama or ACDC’s Back in Black. Playing with Flash, spinning with Flash, and hanging with Flash has left an everlasting influence on me and my music. He is a true national treasure.” – Kid Rock, 3-time Billboard Music Award winner and Grammy Award nominee
“Grandmaster Flash is the first hip hop artist to stir my soul. I revel in the humanity found in his work and witness.” –Tavis Smiley, host of The Tavis Smiley Show and #1 New York Times bestselling author of What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, The Covenant with Black America, and The Covenant in Action
“Grandmaster Flash is a musical pioneer, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for his creative originality.” – Janet Jackson, 6-time Grammy Award winner, Academy Award nominee and singer
“Grandmaster Flash is one of the great figures in hip hop. He is a courageous and visionary artist whose work has enriched so many of us!” — Dr. Cornel West, New York Times bestselling author of Democracy Matters
“By theorizing the turntable, the mixer, and the breakbeat into a brand new dance-floor science, Grandmaster Flash helped inject bonafide party-rocking into global pop. Every night a DJ saves your life, Flash deserves more than a little bit of your thanks.” – Jeff Chang, author Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of The Hip-Hop Generation and editor of Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop
“Hip hop wouldn’t be hip hop without the great Grandmaster Flash.” – Jermaine Dupri, producer and composer
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