Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Black History Spotlight: GrandMaster Flash

"DJ 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 (music)cutting, and mixing. He formed his own group in the late 1970s. The initial members were Cowboy, Melle Mel, and Kid Creole making "Grandmaster Flash & the 3 MCs". Two other rappers briefly joined, but they were replaced more permanently by Rahiem and Scorpio to create "Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five". Soon gaining recognition for their skillful raps, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five pioneered MCing, freestyle battles, and invented some of the staple phrases in MCing. They performed at ''Disco Fever'' in the Bronx beginning in 1978.

Signed to Sugar Hill Records in 1980 by Joe Robinson, they released numerous singles, gaining a gold disc for "Freedom", and also toured. The group's most significant hit was "The Message" (1982), which went platinum in less than a month. Flash sued Sugar Hill in 1983 over the non-payment of royalties, and in 1984 the group split between Flash and Mel before disintegrating entirely.

Among his many awards are the Pioneer Award from Source magazine, the DMC Hall of Fame Award and B.E.T.’s Diamond Award. He has also been honored on many other occasions. And to top it all, DJ Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five has been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, making them the first DJ and rap group to ever be nominated.