Grandmaster Flash comes to Calgary [News]
Calgary, AB – On Jan. 14, the good people over at Hifi Club bring Grandmaster Flash to Commonwealth Bar & Stage (731 – 10 Ave SW) in Calgary for a throwback to everything great about hip-hop. If you’re not familiar with Grandmaster Flash, go home and get a proper schooling. Or go home and never surface again. Because the great Flash is one of the founders of everything hip-hop production has come to be. For starters, he perfected the backspin technique, as well as punch phrasing. He made them the norm. And then he made scratching a thing. He is a founding father of hip-hop, so to speak. So if you don’t know, now you know.
Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available for purchase online or at Sloth Records (736 – 17 Ave SW), Group Seven (1510 – 6 St SW), and Grassroots (112 – 10 St NW).
About Grandmaster Flash
The career of DJ Grandmaster Flash began in the Bronx with neighborhood block parties that essentially were the start of what would become a global phenomenon — the dawn of a musical genre. He was the first DJ to physically lay his hands on the vinyl and manipulate it in a backward, forward or counterclockwise motion, when most DJs simply handled the record by the edges, put down the tone arm, and let it play. Those DJs let the tone arm guide their music, but Flash marked up the body of the vinyl with crayon, fluorescent pen, and grease pencil—and those markings became his compass.
He invented the Quick Mix Theory, which included techniques such as the double-back, back-door, back-spin, and phasing. This allowed a DJ to make music by touching the record and gauging its revolutions to make his own beat and his own music. Flash’s template grew to include cuttin’, which, in turn, spawned scratching, transforming, the Clock Theory and the like. He laid the groundwork for everything a DJ can do with a record today, other than just letting it play. What we call a DJ today is a role that Flash invented.
By the end of the ’70s, Flash had started another trend that became a hallmark around the world: emcees followed flash to the various parts and parties to rap/emcee over his beats. Before long, he started his own group, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Their reputation grew up around the way the group traded off and blended their lyrics with Flash’s unrivaled skills as a DJ and his acrobatic performances—spinning and cutting vinyl with his fingers, toes, elbows, and any object at hand.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five went Platinum with their single, “The Message.” Meanwhile, the single “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel” introduced DJing to a larger listening audience than it had ever known before; it became the first DJ composition to be recorded by a DJ. The group’s fame continued to grow with “Superappin,” “Freedom,” “Larry’s Dance Theme,” and “You Know What Time It Is.” Punk and new wave fans were introduced to Flash through Blondie, who immortalized him in her hit, “Rapture.”
The rock n’ roll hall of fame also recognized Flash with an honor no one else in hip hop has received: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first hip hop group ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Flash is the first DJ to ever receive that honor.