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Grandmaster Flash

Founding Father of Hip Hop and DJing

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 Grandmaster Flash Biography

There are lots of stories about the birth of jazz and the beginning of rock n’ roll, but hip-hop has founding fathers: one of them is DJ Grandmaster Flash.

In the early 70’s Joseph Saddler was living in the South Bronx and studying electrical engineering. However, Saddler, a native of the Bronx, had a much deeper passion for music; he had been experimenting with his father’s vinyl since he was an adolescent. His knowledge of audio equipment led him to an idea that would revolutionize music: the turntable would become his instrument.

The career of DJ Grandmaster Flash began in the Bronx with neighborhood block parties that essentially were the start of hip-hop—the dawn of a musical genre. He was the first DJ to physically lay his hands on the vinyl and manipulate it in a backward, forward or counterclockwise motion, when most DJs simply handled the record by the edges, put down the tone arm, and let it play. Those DJs let the tone arm guide their music, but Flash marked up the body of the vinyl with crayon, fluorescent pen, and grease pencil—and those markings became his compass.

He invented the Quick Mix Theory, which included techniques such as the double-back, back-door, back-spin, and phasing. This allowed a DJ to make music by touching the record and gauging its revolutions to make his own beat and his own music. Flash’s template grew to include cuttin’, which, in turn, spawned scratching, transforming, the Clock Theory and the like. He laid the groundwork for everything a hip hop DJ can do with a record today, other than just letting it play. What we call a DJ today is a role that Flash invented.

By the end of the 70s, Flash had started another trend that became a hallmark of hip-hop: emcees asked to rap over his beats. Before long, he started his own group, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Their reputation grew up around the way the group traded off and blended their lyrics with Flash’s unrivaled skills as a DJ and his acrobatic performances—spinning and cutting vinyl with his fingers, toes, elbows, and any object at hand.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five went Platinum with their single, “The Message.” Meanwhile, the single “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel” introduced hip hop DJing to a larger listening audience than it had ever known before; it became the first DJ composition to be recorded by a DJ. The group’s fame only grew with “Superappin,” “Freedom,” “Larry’s Dance Theme,” and “You Know What Time It Is.” Punk and new wave fans were introduced to Flash through Blondie, who immortalized him in their hit, “Rapture.”

The rock n’ roll establishment also recognized Flash with an honor no one else in hip hop has received: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first hip hop group ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Flash is also the only hip hop DJ to ever receive that honor.

By the time the 90s rolled around, Flash was hand picked by Chris Rock to spend five years as the music director for his groundbreaking HBO series, The Chris Rock Show. More recently, Flash has played for audiences as large as the Super Bowl and as elite as Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

Today, Flash has a weekly show on Sirius Radio, The Flash Mash on Hot Jams 50. The show is a kaleidoscopic mash-up of Flash’s tastes, spanning just about any genre from just about any corner of the world; it airs on Saturdays from 5-8pm.

On top of his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Flash has been the recipient of many awards, including VH1 Hip Hop Honors; The Icon Award from BET in honor of his contribution to hip hop as a DJ; The Lifetime Achievement Award from the RIAA; and Bill Gates’ Vanguard Award.

Although Flash has been in the business for many years, he shows no sign of slowing down: this coming year promise, a new album, and he will began his descent from the analog vinyl world of DJing to enter the digital world of DJing.  His DJ application of choice will be “Traktor Scratch” by Native Instruments.

Grandmaster Flash’s memoirs, The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash – My Life My Beats is slated to hit bookstores on June 10.  The book is penned by David Ritz, author of both Marvin Gaye’s and Ray Charles’ biographies. In this extraordinary book, Grandmaster Flash sets down Hip Hop history,sharing for the first time his personal and difficult life story—along with no small amount of wisdom and experience.

The Smithsonian Museum of American History in honor of Black History Month  has opened its exhibit RECOGNIZE! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture that Grandmaster Flash along with other hip hop artist such as LL Cool J, Erykah Badu and Common will be featured.

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FAQs
  • HOW TO BOOK Grandmaster Flash?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Grandmaster Flash for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Grandmaster Flash, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Grandmaster Flash or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Grandmaster Flash?

    Booking fees for Grandmaster Flash, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Grandmaster Flash, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Grandmaster Flash?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Grandmaster Flash for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Grandmaster Flash for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Grandmaster Flash or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Grandmaster Flash or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

Grandmaster Flash

Founding Father of Hip Hop and DJing

Travels From:
New York, NY, USA
Speaking Fee:

Grandmaster Flash Biography

There are lots of stories about the birth of jazz and the beginning of rock n’ roll, but hip-hop has founding fathers: one of them is DJ Grandmaster Flash.

In the early 70’s Joseph Saddler was living in the South Bronx and studying electrical engineering. However, Saddler, a native of the Bronx, had a much deeper passion for music; he had been experimenting with his father’s vinyl since he was an adolescent. His knowledge of audio equipment led him to an idea that would revolutionize music: the turntable would become his instrument.

The career of DJ Grandmaster Flash began in the Bronx with neighborhood block parties that essentially were the start of hip-hop—the dawn of a musical genre. He was the first DJ to physically lay his hands on the vinyl and manipulate it in a backward, forward or counterclockwise motion, when most DJs simply handled the record by the edges, put down the tone arm, and let it play. Those DJs let the tone arm guide their music, but Flash marked up the body of the vinyl with crayon, fluorescent pen, and grease pencil—and those markings became his compass.

He invented the Quick Mix Theory, which included techniques such as the double-back, back-door, back-spin, and phasing. This allowed a DJ to make music by touching the record and gauging its revolutions to make his own beat and his own music. Flash’s template grew to include cuttin’, which, in turn, spawned scratching, transforming, the Clock Theory and the like. He laid the groundwork for everything a hip hop DJ can do with a record today, other than just letting it play. What we call a DJ today is a role that Flash invented.

By the end of the 70s, Flash had started another trend that became a hallmark of hip-hop: emcees asked to rap over his beats. Before long, he started his own group, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Their reputation grew up around the way the group traded off and blended their lyrics with Flash’s unrivaled skills as a DJ and his acrobatic performances—spinning and cutting vinyl with his fingers, toes, elbows, and any object at hand.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five went Platinum with their single, “The Message.” Meanwhile, the single “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel” introduced hip hop DJing to a larger listening audience than it had ever known before; it became the first DJ composition to be recorded by a DJ. The group’s fame only grew with “Superappin,” “Freedom,” “Larry’s Dance Theme,” and “You Know What Time It Is.” Punk and new wave fans were introduced to Flash through Blondie, who immortalized him in their hit, “Rapture.”

The rock n’ roll establishment also recognized Flash with an honor no one else in hip hop has received: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first hip hop group ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Flash is also the only hip hop DJ to ever receive that honor.

By the time the 90s rolled around, Flash was hand picked by Chris Rock to spend five years as the music director for his groundbreaking HBO series, The Chris Rock Show. More recently, Flash has played for audiences as large as the Super Bowl and as elite as Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

Today, Flash has a weekly show on Sirius Radio, The Flash Mash on Hot Jams 50. The show is a kaleidoscopic mash-up of Flash’s tastes, spanning just about any genre from just about any corner of the world; it airs on Saturdays from 5-8pm.

On top of his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Flash has been the recipient of many awards, including VH1 Hip Hop Honors; The Icon Award from BET in honor of his contribution to hip hop as a DJ; The Lifetime Achievement Award from the RIAA; and Bill Gates’ Vanguard Award.

Although Flash has been in the business for many years, he shows no sign of slowing down: this coming year promise, a new album, and he will began his descent from the analog vinyl world of DJing to enter the digital world of DJing.  His DJ application of choice will be “Traktor Scratch” by Native Instruments.

Grandmaster Flash’s memoirs, The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash – My Life My Beats is slated to hit bookstores on June 10.  The book is penned by David Ritz, author of both Marvin Gaye’s and Ray Charles’ biographies. In this extraordinary book, Grandmaster Flash sets down Hip Hop history,sharing for the first time his personal and difficult life story—along with no small amount of wisdom and experience.

The Smithsonian Museum of American History in honor of Black History Month  has opened its exhibit RECOGNIZE! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture that Grandmaster Flash along with other hip hop artist such as LL Cool J, Erykah Badu and Common will be featured.

Grandmaster Flash Videos

  • Grandmaster Flash The Message HQ

Speaker Lists Featuring Grandmaster Flash

FAQs on booking Grandmaster Flash

  • How to book Grandmaster Flash?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Grandmaster Flash for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Grandmaster Flash, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Grandmaster Flash or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Grandmaster Flash?

    Booking fees for Grandmaster Flash, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Grandmaster Flash, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Grandmaster Flash?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Grandmaster Flash for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Grandmaster Flash for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Grandmaster Flash or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Grandmaster Flash or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Grandmaster Flash is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Grandmaster Flash for your event is $10,000 - $20,000. Grandmaster Flash generally travels from New York, NY, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Talib Kweli, Ice-T, David Banner, 9th Wonder and Spike Lee. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Grandmaster Flash for an upcoming event.

Grandmaster Flash Speaker Videos

  • Grandmaster Flash The Message HQ

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Speakers Similar to Grandmaster Flash

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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