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As a hip-hop fan, not knowing the man behind the title The Grand Master Flash is quite literally a punishable offense. This is because he was one of the pioneer DJs to come up with the beat on which emcees rhymed on in the very beginning. The Grand Master Flash, born Joseph Saddler, is of Barbadian origin but grew up in the United States, specifically in the Bronx, New York. He is currently a hip-hop recording artist and renowned DJ.

His journey did not happen by accident however. He made a name for himself cutting, scratching and mixing music on vinyl discs. The vinyl discs came to his attention through his father who collected records from black American and Caribbean artists. He may have gotten in trouble for messing with his father’s priced records but he learned a few tricks through them.

Some of the tricks he learned from messing with vinyl records and crayons in his room was the backspin deejaying technique where he isolated short drum beats and extended them over a longer period. He did this by plying duplicate records such that while one played, he was looking for the other section he wanted in the second disc. He then alternated playing both records in intervals such that when he stopped one, he immediately started the other on cue. On this technique, he could loop one beat and play it over and over again. This is one of the basic deejaying techniques that are still standing up to date.

It is through this looping that he came up with beats that emcees would then rhyme over, creating rap music in effect. After creating a beat through juggling, he then incorporated another technique that included isolating a short section of the music and repeating them over the beat rhythmically. In addition, he perfected the art of scratching the records to create a more captivating sound that drew audiences to listen to his mixes.

Once he perfected his craft, the Grand master collaborated with a few emcees to produce records. The Furious Five was born out of this. This was a group of artists that poetically rapped their lyrics to the beat created by the master.  Together, the Grand master flash and the Furious Five were inducted into the Hollywood Hall of Fame in 2007 in recognition of their talent and contribution to the Hip-hop industry. The Grand Master also promoted the freestyle rap battles as emcees started battling it out to give the best lines to his beats.

Other than the Hall of Fame induction, the Grand master also has an array of awards to his name. These include the I Am Hip-hop Icon Grammy award in 2006, another 2011 Hall of Fame induction for him and the Furious Five for their single ‘The Message’ and the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. In his honor, Netflix has a series known as The Get Down to tell his story and a documentary called Hip-hop Evolution in which he tells story.

With a collection of over 10 albums under his belt, the 60 year old has definitely lived a memorable life in the rap scene and there is no stopping him as he is still very much in the producer business.