Grandmaster Flash

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Grandmaster Flash (1998)

Grandmaster Flash (literally Grandmaster Blitz , actually Joseph Saddler ; born January 1, 1958 in Barbados ) is an American DJ . Along with Kool DJ Herc and Grandwizard Theodore, he is one of the pioneers of hip hop .

life and work

From 1976, under the artist name DJ Grandmaster Flash, he developed most of the techniques that still shape DJing in hip-hop today: cutting (playing tracks parallel to the beat ), backspinning (the record becomes the repetition of a certain section rotated quickly backwards) and phasing (where reducing the speed of one of the turntables creates a phase effect ). Further, partly purely acrobatic techniques can also be traced back to him. Together with Kool DJ Herc and the Grandwizard Theodore , who he discovered , he created and perfected the instruments of DJing.

Grandmaster Flash had its first successes with the band Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five , which formed in 1977. His single The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel (1981), which he recorded live, is considered groundbreaking with its innovative mix of different songs such as Good Times ( Chic ), Another One Bites the Dust ( Queen ) and Rapture ( Blondie ) . After several years with his ensemble in changing compositions, they went their separate ways at the end of the 80s. Short-lived reunions remained without much response.

In Germany, too, he worked with various artists in the mid-1990s. Grandmaster Flash, together with Grand Wizard Theodore and Disco Bee, contributed to the 1994 sampler Schetzt die Rille (Cologne Massive). He and many other musicians such as Das Duale System , Die Coolen Säue (DCS), Plattenpapzt, Microphone Mafia or Konstruktivronik advocated the Save The Vinyl movement, which was popular at the time , which wanted to prevent the almost sealed end of the record and how we also know today that this has at least been delayed.

Grandmaster Flash, 1999

By far the best known song from Grandmaster Flash is The Message . In 1999 his cooperation with the Polish DJ Tomekk 1 ... 2 ... Rhymes Galore caused a sensation and landed in the charts. In 2002 Flash returned to DJing on record and released a live retro with the Official Adventures and a "classic" old-school DJ CD with Essential Mix . The song Scorpio was heard in the computer game Need for Speed: Carbon .

Grandmaster Flash, 2007

In 2009 his album The Bridge was released , on which he collaborated with such as Q-Tip , KRS-One and Snoop Dogg .


Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Run-DMC , Public Enemy , NWA , the Beastie Boys and Tupac Shakur are the only hip-hop musicians to date to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame . In February 2019 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize .


The list is probably incomplete.

Chart positions
Explanation of the data
The Message (with The Furious Five)
  UK 77 10/23/1982 (3 weeks)
  US 53 10/16/1982 (24 weeks)
Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five (with The Furious Five)
  DE 32 11/28/1983 (15 weeks)
Greatest Messages (with The Furious Five)
  UK 41 06/23/1984 (16 weeks)
Work Party (with Melle Mel )
  UK 45 10/20/1984 (5 weeks)
They Said It Couldn't Be Done
  UK 95 02/23/1985 (1 week)
The Source
  US 145 05/17/1986 (6 weeks)
  US 197 04/25/1987 (1 week)
On the Strength (with The Furious Five)
  US 189 04/30/1988 (3 weeks)
The Message (with The Furious Five)
  AT 9 02/01/1983 (8 weeks)
  CH 11 05.12.1982 (4 weeks)
  UK 8th 08/28/1982 (11 weeks)
  US 62 10/16/1982 (7 weeks)
  UK 77 01/15/1983 (3 weeks)
New York New York (with The Furious Five)
  DE 18th 07/18/1983 (14 weeks)
  CH 9 08/21/1983 (5 weeks)
  UK 82 06/11/1983 (2 weeks)
White Lines (Don't Do It) (with Melle Mel)
  UK 7th 
11/12/1983 (61 weeks)
Jesse (with Melle Mel)
  UK 83 04/14/1984 (3 weeks)
Sign of the Times
  UK 72 02/16/1985 (2 weeks)
1, 2, 3 Rhymes Galore (From New York to Germany) (vs. DJ Tomekk feat. Afrob , Flavor Flav & MC Rene )
  DE 6th 09/27/1999 (17 weeks)
  AT 34 11/07/1999 (3 weeks)
  CH 9 10/10/1999 (16 weeks)


  • 1982: The Message
  • 1983: Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five (with the songs New York New York and White Lines )
  • 1983: Greatest Messages
  • 1985: They Said It Couldn't Be Done
  • 1985: Stepping Off
  • 1986: The Source
  • 1987: Ba-dop-boom-bang
  • 1988: On the Strength
  • 1998: Flash Is Back
  • 2002: The Official Adventures of Grandmaster Flash
  • 2005: Mixing Bullets and Firing Joints
  • 2007: Safety First / Watch Yourself
  • 2009: The Bridge


  • 1979: Super Rappin '
  • 1981: The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel
  • 1981: It's Nasty (Genius of Love)
  • 1982: The Message (Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five)
  • 1983: Scorpio (Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five)
  • 1983: New York New York (Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five)
  • 1983: White Lines (Don't Do It) (Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel; also with The Furious Five)
  • 1985: Sign of the Times (Grandmaster Flash)
  • 1988: Magic Carpet Ride (Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five)


In the television series The Get Down , which was broadcast from 2016 to 2017 , he was portrayed by the Mauritanian-American actor Mamoudou Athie .

Web links

Commons : Grandmaster Flash  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum: All Inductees: Alphabetical
  2. Chart sources: DE AT CH UK US