Thursday, 25 October 2007

Back in the Day #5 - Grandmaster Flash - Adventures on the Wheels of Steel

For a song to be featured more than once on this blog it has to be a good one; this one is. Grandmaster Flash as I'm sure you'll all know was a pioneer of turntable techniques and had a pivotal role in making Hip Hop what it is today. His waves have caused more than ripples outside of Hip Hop too; Annie Mac's Minimixes would simply not exist without this man's vision and skill.

'Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel' doesn't exactly have a snappy title but it is a memorable one and the track does what it says on the tin. It IS an adventure; a genre defying skip through some big party type records of the time. I say genre defying because it is but it is unmistakably Hip Hop, this is what Hip Hop DJ'ing is. It is my belief that Hip Hop DJ'ing does not consist of playing Hip Hop or Rap tracks, it's all in the method and technique. Any type of music can be mixed (i.e. beatmatched, faded, looped etc) by a Hip Hop DJ, this being the perfect example.

There are still many exponents of this style around nowadays but I think the reason Flash did this so well was down to the lack of prejudices in Hip Hop's early years. People seem to have become more closed minded. The folk who would have been jamming to this in the parks of New York in the very early 80's just wanted to hear the best of everything, they just wanted good music to dance to. Hip Hop has branched off and progressed from this but we must remember that at the heart of it all is good music that transcends limitations of genre and only promotes, to quote Chic as sampled here, 'good times'.

Here's the track:

Here are the tracks Flash mixed together to create this never boring classic, they're all classics in their own right:

Chic - Good Times (Sampled um, on 'Rapper's Delight')
Blondie - Rapture (Listen for the Hip Hop references particularly Fab Five Freddy and Flash!)
Incredible Bongo Band - Apache (Sampled also by Sugarhill Gang on 'Apache')

And here are some covers/tributes:

1 comment:

Tom said...

You don't see many boomboxes like that these days!

Quality tunes. I hope the Grandmaster is living it up in a mansion somewhere, music owes him a lot.