Posts tagged 'Grandmaster Flash':

The Get Down Brothers vs. The Notorious Three

This track is faux old-school hip-hop created for the TV show "The Get Down". It's a good fake, though. It sounds like it could have come out in the late 1970s. This show has done a great job of mixing older funk, soul and hip hop with newer tracks that fit right in.

The show's Get Down Brothers and their DJ Shaolin Fantastic are modeled on the Furious Five and Grandmaster Flash. It's best to not think too hard about that though, because Flash is also a character in the show, as Shaolin Fantastic's mentor. And since this track mixes in some old Flash tracks, even though the show's Flash had previously gotten on Shaolin Fantastic's case over a bootleg recording.

Or maybe Shaolin Fantastic, like Flash himself, is mixing up Freedom's "Get Up And Dance" (and I always thought the Furious Five were just playing kazoos, as weird as that image is).

In this show they play fast and loose with the musical connections, plainly having fun and including in-jokes and making it all work. Another track, the new "Set Me Free", becomes a disco anthem in the show. In the middle is a short drum break that Shaolin Fantastic works into his mix, to great effect. A religious-inspired song with a drum break the DJs love? Can anyone say "The Amen Break"? I knew you could.


The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel

I've been watching "The Get Down" recently so I've had Grandmaster Flash and early hip hop in my head.

"The Adventures..." features Grandmaster Flash at his best. Sugarhill released a lot of records with his name on them. But in the early 1980s it was way too risky to put out a record that contained someone else's music, even in small bits. Sampling was a dream. Literally, since such samplers as existed were extremely expensive curiosities rather than mainstream devices. Flash did it old school, mixing records with two turntables (a technique which he invented).

On records then, "Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five" was mostly the Furious Five with studio musicians. Flash was well-known to Sugarhill's customers from live performances, so they were happy to boost sales by mentioning him. I'm not sure how "The Adventures..." eventually got released, but it's a rare and amazing glimpse of Flash's technique.

Among many records making an appearance, Flash features Blondie's "Rapture", in which Blondie name-checks Flash. Flash is fast, Flash is cool. Take a listen.