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Grandmaster Flash

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Queensbridge, New York (1958 – present)

Grandmaster Flash (born Joseph Saddler on January 1, 1958 in Barbados) is a hip hop musician and DJ; one of the pioneers of hip-hop DJing, cutting, and mixing.

Saddler’s family migrated to the United States, and he grew up in the Bronx. He became involved in the earliest Queensbridge, New York DJ scene, attending parties set up by early luminaries. Learning from Pete Jones and Kool Herc, he used duplicate copies of a single record and two turntables but added a dextrous manual edit with a mixer to promote the break (a point of isolated drum rhythm) - the ordinary playing of the record would be interrupted to overlay the break, the break could be repeated by using the mixer to switch channels while the second record was spun back. The speed and dexterity needed showed why Saddler was called Flash, although he got the nickname in school due to the fact that he hung around with another guy named Gordon (from Flash Gordon). He also invented the technique initially called cutting, which was developed by Grand Wizard Theodore into scratching (AMG).

Flash played illegal parties and also worked with rappers such as Kurtis Blow and Lovebug Starski. He formed his own group in the late 1970s, after promptings from Ray Chandler.

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