17 April 1961 (age 60)
Grandmaster Caz AKA Grandmaster Casanova Fly, real name Curtis Fisher, was born in the Bronx, New York and was a part of the hip hop group The Cold Crush Brothers. After seeing Kool Herc play at a party in the Bronx in 1974, Fisher decided to become a DJ, and purchase the necessary equipment the next day. As "Grandmaster Caz," he teamed up with his best friend, DJ Disco Wiz (Luis Cedeno). He later would team up with JDL (Jerry Dee Lewis) and form The Notorious Two. Caz began incorporating rhymes with his DJing and become known as the first DJ to do so. In 1978 he formed a group called the Mighty Force with Whipper Whip (James Whipper) and Dot-A-Rock (Darryl Mason). In 1979 DJ Charlie Chase (Carlos Mandes) from The Cold Crush Brothers asked Caz to help audtion MCs for his group which was really a way for Charlie Chase to trick Caz into joining the Cold Crush Brothers. JDL, Whipper Whip, and Dot-A-Rock were also part of The Cold Crush Brothers before Whipper Whip and Dot-A-Rock left to join The Fantastic Five.
The Cold Crush Brothers began building a reputation in the burgeoning hip hop scene in New York, mostly for Caz's routines and lyrical ability. Around this time, Sylvia Robinson, who went on to found Sugar Hill Records, happened to hear part-time club bouncer and manager of the Cold Crush Brothers, Big Bank Hank (Henry Jackson) rapping to a tape of Grandmaster Caz while working at a Pizzeria. She asked him be the third member of a group that she was putting together called the Sugar Hill Gang. Hank accepted and, since he wasn't an MC himself, he borrowed a book of rhymes from Grandmaster Caz. Caz figured that if Hank was picked up by a record label, then he would help Caz and the Cold Crush get a contract in turn.
Hank would use Caz's lyrics in the song "Rapper's Delight" which would become a huge hit in 1979 and is the first hip hop single to land on the top 40 charts. This was also the first time the term rapper was used to describe a person who is rhyming to music on the mic, such people had been known only as MC on the hip hop scene at the time. Caz would never receive any credit or compensation for the rhymes that he contributed.
In 1982, The Cold Crush Brothers were featured in the movie Wild Style and would also be on the soundtrack with Grandmaster Caz doing the movie theme song. Caz released some records as a solo artist in the late 1980s. He also released the song "MC Delight" in 2000 which finally sets the record straight about the disputed verse on "Rapper's Delight."
He released a 7inch record in 2005 with Dj Signify featuring Waterbed Kev of the Fanastic Five on the upstart New York GrandGood label.
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