Flash is a Hip-Hop recording artist DJ, and inventor of the "backspinning" technique; he is also king of the South Bronx, having his own territory. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of original Hip-Hop DJing. He cuts, scratches, and mixes various 60's and 70's records for drum break solos and samples. He is based on the historical figure of the same name.
He serves as a mentor for Shaolin Fantastic as well as the rest of the Get Down Brothers. He passes his wisdom of what it means to be a successful DJ by giving them "the crayon" which helps the gang learn how to keep track and que the drum breaks by marking where the desired part starts — by marking it from the center of the vinyl; outward, so they don't accidentally play the "wack part" of the track.
Real Life Grandmaster FlashEdit
Joseph Saddler was born in Bridgetown, Barbados on January 1, 1958. His family migrated to the United States from Barbados, and he grew up in The Bronx in New York City. He attended Samuel Gompers High School, a public vocational school, where he learned how to repair electronic equipment. Saddler's parents played an important role in his interest in music. His father was a big fan of Caribbean and black American records. Saddler's early interest in DJing came from this fascination with his father's record collection as well as his mother's desire for him to educate himself in electronics. After high school, he became involved in the earliest New York DJ scene, attending parties set up by early luminaries.
Grandmaster Flash carefully studied the styles and techniques of earlier DJs, particularly Pete Jones, Kool Herc, and Grandmaster Flowers. As a teenager, he began experimenting with DJ gear in his bedroom, eventually developing and mastering three innovations that are still considered standard DJing techniques today.
- Backspin technique (or, quick-mix theory): Early New York party DJs came to understand that short drum breaks were popular with party audiences. Aiming to isolate these breaks and extend them for longer durations, Grandmaster Flash learned that by using duplicate copies of the same record, he could play the break on one record while searching for the same fragment of music on the other (using his headphones). When the break finished on one turntable, he used his mixer to switch quickly to the other turntable, where the same beat was cued up and ready to play. Using the backspin technique (also referred to as beat juggling), the same short phrase of music could be looped indefinitely.
- Punch phrasing (or, clock theory): This technique involved isolating very short segments of music, typically horn hits, and rhythmically punching them over the sustained beat using the mixer.
- Scratching: Although the invention of record scratching as a form of adding to the musical entertainment is generally credited to Grand Wizzard Theodore, Grandmaster Flash perfected the technique and brought it to new audiences. Scratching, along with punch phrasing, exhibited a unique performative aspect of party DJing: instead of passively spinning records, he manipulated them to create new music. Scratching, more commonly known among radio broadcasters as back-cueing, was devised in the late 1940s as a way to find the very beginning of the audio in the modulated groove of a vinyl record. It is related to scrubbing (in terms of audio editing and production) when the reels of an open reel tape deck (typically 1/4 inch magnetic audio tape) are gently rotated back and forth while the playback head is live and amplified, in order to isolate a specific spot on the tape where an editing cut is to be made