• Grandmaster Flash reveals a major source of his storied record collection

    By | July 27, 2017

    Ex-ssentials.

    An innovator of DJing and producing, turntablist Grandmaster Flash is as known for the research-based approach he used to develop his techniques and set-up as he is for the huge range of his vinyl collection and samples.

    Read more: Grandmaster Flash on the “scientific approach” he used to pioneer turntablism

    Flash was notoriously protective of his collection admitting that he “used to soak his records in the tub before hitting a party to switch the labels so competing artists couldn’t steal his sound.”

    Though he frequented midtown NYC record stores Disc-o-mat and Downstairs Records, he also went ‘shopping’ at far more exclusive locales…

    Speaking to amNewYork Flash admitted, “I’m not proud of this — well — a lot of my collection came from dating women.”

    “If I went to dinner at a person’s house, if I dated somebody and they wanted me to meet their parents, I would say Mrs. — let’s just say the last name was Williams — ‘Mrs. Williams, would you happen to have any old records lying around that you don’t want or need?’” Flash recalled. “And they would say, ‘Boy, go on in that closet right there. There’s a whole bunch of them. I don’t know. We don’t even want that junk.’”

    “I’d go in there and,” Flash said, pausing to gasp as if a pile of records appeared in front of him. “I’d say, ‘Can I go get a shopping cart? I’ll be right back.’ I would take them home and I’d sit there and listen to every cut.”

    Girls might love the way he spins, but a special shoutout is due to all those exes, whose familial wax is responsible for inspiring one of hip hop’s greatest.

  • Grandmaster Flash on the “scientific approach” he used to pioneer turntablism

    By | August 23, 2016

    Did you know Grandmaster Flash also invented the slipmat?

    Popular culture has a tendency to romanticise major innovations into eureka moments and anoint their inventors as visionaries who, whether by mistake or inspiration usher in new trends, genres or ways of making music. The reality of course, is a little less glamourous.

    And no musical “invention” is as much mythologised as the birth of hip hop, an accolade variously laid at the doors of Kool Herc, Grand Wizard Theodore and Grandmaster Flash. 13th August 1973 is supposed to mark that birth, as the day on which Herc DJ’ed at his first block party (when he was actually just marking the birthday of his sister).

    With Baz Luhrmann’s new series The Get Down similarly seeking to tell the elusive story of hip hop’s childhood and adolescence, one of Luhrmann’s primary sources Grandmaster Flash gave a candid interview to The Washington Post in which he reveals the endless trials, scientific tests and hair-brained research that actually went into early turntablism.

    Describing himself as a geek, Flash describes how he did “extensive studies on the stylus” in order to “figure out the proper needle that would stay inside the groove when it’s under the pressure of the vinyl being moved counterclockwise.”

    The next problem was the material of the slipmat, which at that time was made of rubber, and not yet christened as such. “When I was trying to move the vinyl counterclockwise, it caused too much drag and too much friction, so I had to remove it,” he explains. The steel platter underneath was no good either, for obvious reasons.

    “My mother was a seamstress so I knew different types of materials,” he continues. Having settled on felt, Flash encountered another issue. “The problem with felt is that it draped, it was limp,” he recalls. “So I ran home and got a copy of my album and I bought just enough felt to cut out two round circles the same size as a 33’ LP and — when my mother wasn’t looking — I turned the iron all the way up high and I used my mother’s spray starch. I sprayed it until this limp piece of felt became — I called it a wafer, like what you get in church at Easter. Today it’s called a slipmat.”

    Finally, he needed a proper turntable. Having trialled everything from Fisher Price to Magnavox, Flash stumbled across a Technics SL-23 in a Bronx store. “They were $75 a piece,” he says. “I had a messenger boy job after school so I had to save up my money to get two of these turntables. This particular turntable is considered the great-grandfather to what is known as the 1200. Every DJ that seen me with these turntables started buying Technics turntables.”

    “I came from a scientific approach,” he explains. “Once I came up with the queuing, the proper needle, the “wafer,” duplicate copies of records, the mixer, which I had to rebuild, I was able to take a 10 second drumbeat and make it seamlessly 10 minutes.” The rest is history.

  • From John Cage to Kool Herc: A Brief History of Turntablism

    By | February 2, 2016

    We explore the history of turntablism, from its primitive beginnings with travelling showmen right up to contemporary sound installations and the DMC.


    Words: Sophy Smith


    Coined by DJ Babu of the Beat Junkies crew, the term ‘turntablism’ emerged in 1995 to reflect the artistic practices of the hip hop DJ and, specifically, to denote the difference between playing back records and using turntables to manipulate sound. What’s described as turntablism today however, extends beyond hip hop, and its history starts much earlier.


    Precursors

    In fact the creative use of reproductive technology started early in the development of the equipment. From the mid-to-late 1800s, buyers of cylinder phonographs and graphophones were using the equipment not only to listen to pre-recorded music, but also to make their own vocal and instrumental recordings.

    Both Edison’s phonograph and Bell-Tainter’s graphophone enabled sound recording as well as playback, with wax as the medium to allow the recording to be removed from the cylinder and stored for later listening. Although Edison didn’t foresee the creative and commercial potential of his invention, the first manipulation of recorded sound for the purpose of entertainment took place using his phonograph. Seventy years before hip hop turntablists, traveling showmen would, as the grand finale to an evening’s entertainment, instantly record a cornettist and then perform sped-up takes of the recording by turning the phonograph handle faster and faster.

    50652t

    When a commercial version of Emile Berliner’s flat disc gramophone was introduced in 1985, both the phonograph and graphophone lost appeal because the new flat disc could support longer, better quality recordings than the cylinder. The disc gramophone, however, lacked home-recording technology – instead it was restricted to playing the records that were commercially available.

    With recording out, musicians began to experiment with the gramophone as a performing and composing device, and from this point we see the development of what we now call turntablism. Musicians from across the board began to experiment with the creative potential of the turntable, transforming it from a reproductive device and into to a musical instrument.

    The background to the creative musical use of the turntable falls into several distinct histories. The work of hip-hop pioneers and radio/club DJs is well documented, but the other earlier, and equally important history, lies outside popular music, in the field of experimental music and installation art.


    Experimental Music and Art

    In the early part of the twentieth century, a handful of composers became interested in the creative potential of the phonograph or gramophone, and began undertaking small-scale experiments. Paul Hindemith’s Trickaufnahmen (trick recordings), for example, investigated the technical abilities of the gramophone as well as the performer with a range of sound manipulation techniques – including acceleration and deceleration of discs and the knock-on pitch changes, possibly even using two phonographs simultaneously.

    These experiments set the foundation for visual artists Moholy-Nagy and Christian Marclay and composers Pierre Schaeffer and John Cage; four major turntable pioneers emerging from a range of musical and artistic backgrounds.

    john-cage3

    Moholy–Nagy, along with Oskar Fischinger and Paul Arma, attempted to alter the acoustic content of records before amplification by carving graphic structures into the grooves and running the record backwards against the stylus to scratch new patterns. Nagy hoped that his experiments with turntable music would result in the creation of a new musical language, through studying the graphic signs on the record.

    Pierre Schaeffer, pioneer of musique concrète, also experimented with manipulating recordings by playing them backwards and forwards, juxtaposing sounds taken from their original time continuum, playing recordings at different speeds, and creating repetitive sound loops by breaking the groove at specific points.

    Many contemporary turntablists manipulate the sound of records by creating repeating loops or ‘locked grooves’ and Schaeffer was the first to use this technique, pressing records with a groove that holds the stylus in a continuous cycle, looping the sound as the record rotates. This technique was used in Etude aux Chemins de Fer (1948) which was constructed from successive extracts of material made from manipulated recordings of steam locomotives at Gare des Batignolles, Paris.

    In John Cage’s Imaginary Landscape No.1 (1939), the records alternate between two speeds – 33 and 78 rpm – and rhythms are created by lifting and lowering the needle onto the record. Meanwhile in his work Credo in Us (1942) the player of the phonograph is instructed, “If phonograph, use some classic: e.g. Dvorak, Beethoven, Sibelius or Schostakovich” to add fragments of sound to the piece. His Imaginary Landscape No.5 (1952) work was composed for 42 records and 33 1/3 (1969) for twelve record players. This creative use of turntable technology also extended to the phonograph itself. In Cage’s Cartridge Music (1960), performers are directed to amplify small sounds using pick-ups taken from the tone arms of record players.

    Marclay Footsteps

    The idea of the record as basis for production is later found in the turntable music of artist Christian Marclay – his tribute composition John Cage for example is a recording of a collage made by cutting slices from a number of records and gluing them together to form a single disc. Marclay’s Footsteps also explores the effects of physically altering the record – three thousand five hundred records were used as flooring at an art exhibition over six weeks, packed in individual covers and then sold. For Marclay, these experiments that alter and distort the original recording highlight his understanding of the record as a constantly changing capsule of sound and he deliberately brings the residual sounds of pops, clicks and scratches to the foreground of the composition.


    Reggae, Radio and Club DJs

    Meanwhile in ’50s and ’60s Jamaica, musicians began a radical relationship with records that transformed recorded music into a live event. Until 1995 Jamaica had limited music copyright laws, meaning that soundsystem and reggae DJs could use records for their own creative ends. Through EQ alterations, sound effects and vocals, as well as pioneering tricks like the ‘rewind’ (spinning back a record to be repeated), DJ created original compositions using rhythm tracks from popular records.

    Jamaica

    Over in the States, early radio DJs played their part in developing turntable techniques. In order to enhance his promotions of records for example, Bill Curtis (veteran DJ for American station WUFO) began to manipulate the records he played, extending the record by slowing it down, repeating sections and/or talking over the track.

    The first DJ to introduce mixing, albeit in a primitive sense, was Terry Noel, resident DJ at the ’60s New York nightclub Arthur. Working with a relatively simple set-up (having only a volume dial for each turntable), Noel subtly mixed tracks in a way never heard before.

    Francis Grasso, resident disco DJ at The Sanctuary in New York, was arguably the first club DJ to manipulate recorded material for artistic purposes. Prior to Grasso’s turntable experiments DJs played records one at a time and club evenings lacked a cohesive flow due to the constant start-stop of three-minute records. Although Grasso was not the first DJ to mix two records together, he was the first to deliberately perfect beat mixing as a creative technique. In the 1970s, DJ Francis Grasso went on to introduce slip-cueing, which he had learnt from friends working as radio DJs.

    Not far away, at the Paradise Garage, Larry Levan perfected the practice of constructing music from many different sources, blending rock, pop, electronica, soul, rap, funk and disco and in a similar vein Frankie Knuckles incorporated sound effects into his sets at the Warehouse, Chicago. In an unconscious nod to Pierre Schaeffer’s Etude aux Chemin de Fer, Knuckles played an extended sound effect of a speeding steam train, panning the sound from the front to the back of the club, giving the effect of a train ploughing through the dance floor.

    Larry-Levan

    During his time at the club Galaxy 21, Walter Gibbons developed turntable-based cut and paste techniques to manipulate small sections of drum breaks – the forerunner to the beat-juggling techniques used by contemporary hip hop turntablists. Walter Gibbons’ cut and pastes enabled him to construct small sections of music into an original whole at the turntable.

    The 1970s and early 1980s witnessed a club-based popular music revolution that took DJs from using one turntable to two, and sometimes three, decks. These innovations, taking place as they did on turntables, established the concept of the DJ as music creator rather than solely player of records. and paved the way for the sound manipulation techniques and compositional processes of turntablist musicians.


    Hip Hop

    Perhaps the best known examples of turntablism sit within hip hop, which has embraced the genre from its outset. Creating original music using records, turntables and microphones from the early 1970 onward, hip hop pioneers and visionaries developed many of the turntable manipulation techniques that are still central to turntablism today.

    The story starts with Afrika Bambaata, who in the early ’70s transformed his street gang into the hip hop orientated Universal Zulu Nation. Bambaata became known as the “Master of Records” for the wide variety of music and break records he would blend in a DJ set.

    One of Bambaata’s contemporaries, Kool Herc, pioneered the breakbeat ‘merry-go-round’ technique. Noticing that dancers would go nuts for drum sections of funk records, Herc began to play these sections back-to-back, elongating the break and ignoring the rest of the track. This breakbeat DJ style set the blueprint for hip hop production.

    DJ Grandmaster Flash added to the growing body of turntablism tricks with his Quick Mix and Clock theories. With Quick Mix, passages of music are spun back to be repeated, whilst Clock Theory allows the DJ to identify key sections of the record by markings out the record label. Flash also developed punchphasing, in which shorter sound sounds are played over the breakbeat from another record, and backspinning which allows the turntablist to quickly rewind a part of the record.

    grandmaster-flash-665x400

    Developed by Barry B (Get Fresh Crew) and Steve Dee (X-Men) in the 1990s, beat juggling also deserves a mention. Here new patterns are created by alternating between two identical records on different turntables.

    And of course the most celebrated hip-hop technique is scratching, where the musician moves the record back and forth against the stylus whilst also cross-fading on the mixing desk. Legend has it that this was discovered, accidentally, by DJ Theodore in the early ’80s when his turntable practice was interrupted by his mother and his hand subconsciously rocked the record, producing a sound of its own.

    These days there are dozens of scratch techniques – including (but by no means limited to): the baby, the tear, the scribble, the chirp, the transformer, the flare, the crab and the orbit.


    Contemporary Practice

    Turntablism is still thriving today. In 2007 Gabriel Prokofiev composed Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra which, following its performance at the BBC Proms with DJ Mr Switch as soloist, has received critical acclaim. The fifth movement was recently included in the BBC’s classical music initiative Ten Pieces, designed to introduce a generation of children to classical music. The idea of accompanying an orchestra with a turntable is hardly new though – Hansjörg Dammert, composer and pupil of Arnold Schoenberg called for a ‘concerto for phonograph’ back in 1926!

    Artist Janek Schaefer has used turntablism in his work throughout the past two decades. In 1997 he developed the triple tonearm Tri-Phonic Turntable, which is inspired by Philip Jeck’s piece Vinyl Requiem, itself created using 180 old Dansette record players. Schaefer’s first composition using the Tri-Phonic was made with a T.S. Elliot poetry LP – playing ‘Burnt Norton’ simultaneously with the three arms, staggering one after the other.

    Schafer is also known, and received acclaim, for his sound installation Extended Play. Three solo string parts were recorded separately, edited, and cut onto vinyl. In the installation, three cello EPs, three piano EPs and 3 violin EPs play at either 33, 45, or 78rpm using nine retro record players. These play continuously, modified to pause in response to the audience moving around the exhibition, changing the composition for each performance.

    Perhaps one of the best-known examples of contemporary turntablism though is the DMC World DJ Championships. An annual DJ competition hosted by Disco Mix Club (DMC) since 1985, DJs can enter as individuals or teams and are allocated exactly six minutes to perform original routines.

    Originally sponsored by Technics, since 2011 the DMC Championship has permitted the use of vinyl emulation systems, alongside traditional vinyl, to balance traditional mixing and the popularity of digital playback.

    As well as supporting established techniques, digital vinyl systems also include additional tools including those for re-editing, effects, tempo awareness, key-locking and they offer visual feedback as well as the ability to sync up with external hardware. Whilst the manufacturers stress the creative potential of these systems, some feel that artistic experimentation is limited with this new equipment, promoting a future haunted by ghosts of the past.

    This feature is based on Sophy Smith’s Hip-Hop Turntablism, Creativity and Collaboration book, published by Ashgate (2013).


    Cover Artwork by Hector Plimmer

  • The Message: How Cymande’s cult funk debut shaped the golden age of hip hop

    By | December 1, 2015

    An unforgettable mix of afro, reggae, jazz and funk, Cymande’s debut album captured the the black experience in ’70s London and inspired a generation of hip hop producers across the pond. With their first new album in four decades out now, Liam Izod digs out the roots of this extraordinary record and traces its branches all the way to Grandmaster Flash, De La Soul and Fugees.


    Words: Liam Izod


    Britain in 1972: Ted Heath; the Troubles; T-Rex in the charts. There is little room in the popular memory of the period for Cymande, a group of Caribbean-born, Brixton-based musicians, who released their self-titled debut album that year. Cymande’s sound was hard to categorise and remains so; an intangible alloy of reggae-inflected soul grooves and tribal poly-rhythms. In 1970s Britain they sank with barely a trace. Instead Cymande’s quixotic calypso resonated in the U.S, where the band burnt bright and briefly until their break-up in 1975.

    That might have been it for Cymande, were it not for their rediscovery by the pioneers of hip hop. DJs Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash excavated Cymande’s bass lines and grooves, deploying them as hooks and breakbeats in their sets. By the end of the 1990s Cymande’s back catalogue, in particular their debut album, was the worst kept secret of crate diggers from L.A to Paris. They stand today as one of the most sampled black British bands ever, cropping up on hip hop, house, and dance 12″s the world over.

    © The Vinyl Factory, Cymande Record, Photography Michael Wilkin

    Even upon its original release Cymande was a Rosetta Stone of a record, from which the grammar and history of black music could be decoded. The percussive patter of antique African rhythms melds with patois gospel grooves and bluesy funk riffs. The record’s afterlife as a sample library lends it another dimension, allowing the listener to travel tardis-like through the development of black music, and the social experience to which it gave voice.

    Unpacking the album’s musical references provides a sobering testament to the experience of black and ethnic minority communities in the U.S. and the U.K. But listening to Cymande is no academic exercise; the album’s jazz infused Rasta-rhythms are organic and undeniably danceable. You can find Cymande’s heirs among today’s genre benders. Guardian Critic John L Waters described funk fusion men-of-the-moment Snarky Puppy as having ‘absorbed and reinvented almost the entire history of jazz fusion.’ Add the history of reggae, calypso, and a strong dose of Rastafarian theology and you’re close to Cymande’s concoction.

    © The Vinyl Factory, Cymande Record, Photography Michael Wilkin

    UK R&B impresario John Schroeder strode into a Soho strip club in 1971 intending to audition some hopefuls for his newly minted label Alaska Records. He was distracted by some unusual grooves emanating from the basement and, foregoing the audition, followed his ears to find an exuberant crowd tuned in to Cymande’s funk-rock vibes. Within weeks Schroeder had committed them to vinyl, cutting four demos, among them bouncy funk-reggae number ‘The Message’.

    Schroeder took the demos to industry trade fair Midem in Cannes, where he played them to U.S executive Marvin Schlachter. Schlachter was so impressed that when Schroeder returned to Britain he walked back through customs with a briefcase stuffed with enough cash to record Cymande’s debut album; nothing to declare but the funk. Schlachter released Cymande in the U.S on Janus records, a sub-division of legendary R&B label Chess Records, which had housed blues legends such as Howlin’ Wolf and Etta James. ‘The Message’ was chosen as Cymande’s lead single and it scored an unexpected top 20 hit on the U.S R&B charts. A national tour in support of soul supremo Al Green followed, during which Cymande became the first British band to play the legendary Harlem Apollo.

    © The Vinyl Factory, Cymande Record, Photography Michael Wilkin

    Why did Cymande resonate with U.S audiences? Their unusual but infectious grooves played a huge part. Schroeder recalls a gig in Philadelphia where the audience were inspired to join in, tapping out time with forks and spoons whilst dancing on the tables. At Cymande’s heart was a partnership between guitarist Patrick Patterson and bassist Steve Scipio, both of whom originally hailed from Guyana. Prior to Cymande the duo had played in a jazz fusion band called Meta, whose Nigerian drummer schooled them in odd time signatures and traditional African rhythms. With their own outfit, Patterson and Scipio added the grooves of U.S R&B and British blues-rock to the cocktail, creating something they dubbed ‘Nyah Rock’. ‘Nyah’ referenced the Nyahbinghi Mansion of the Rastafarian faith, whose ritual rhythms underpinned Cymande’s sound.

    On the album’s second single ‘Bra’ Patterson’s guitar burbles Hendrix-like accompanied by Scipio’s Motown tinged bass. ‘Bra’, slang for ‘Brother’, reflects Cymande’s Rastafarian philosophy. Whilst the verse catalogues injustices – “They might have said we’re lying/No matter how hard we try” – the chorus jubilantly exclaims, “But it’s alright, we can still go on”.

    The track owes something to U.S soul ambassador Curtis Mayfield’s paean to positivity ‘Move on Up’, which was released two years earlier in 1970. Instead of the urgency of Curtis’ exhortations, there was something distinctly relaxed and even resigned about the lyrical messages on Cymande. ‘Getting it Back’ laments “I guess I’m going down”, with little sense there is anything that could be done about it.

    By the time of Cymande’s resurrection in the late 1980s, the message had changed. Grandmaster Flash released his far better known ‘The Message’ in 1982. Its commentary on desperation and double digit inflation revealed a community low on the faith that had sustained Cymande. Whilst Cymande’s debut album gave hip hop artists access to grooves steeped in the history of black music, it also contained a message in need of an update.

    ‘Problems’, an early Wu Tang Clan demo from 1992 sampled ‘Dove’, a sprawling instrumental anthem to peace built around a Santana-like guitar riff. The Wu Tang Clan clipped ‘Dove’s’ wings. The signature guitar riff is truncated and looped, giving it a maddening quality that RZA uses to explicitly spike the vibe of the upbeat original. He raps of hopelessness – “Things would change, I thought that at first, right? Time goes on, things got worse”, and its consequences, “I was a good citizen now I’m a leech.”

    In 1992 black musicians were a community no longer content to keep on pushing. In the same year, the acquittal of the white police officers who had been filmed beating Rodney King half to death sparked the L.A riots. A year after the riots The Coup, an L.A based outfit known for their political hip hop, released their playfully provocative debut Kill Your Landlord.

    ‘I Ain’t the Nigga’ uses Cymande’s ‘The Message’ as the basis for a searing commentary on race in the U.S that has lost none of its relevance. The Coup front-man Boots Riley raps a defiant plea, “You wanna race for the trigger? I ain’t the one, I ain’t the nigga”. In 1990s America, black lives did not seem to matter, and Cymande’s Rasta optimism, and even Curtis Mayfield’s dignified Civil Rights sermons, looked hopelessly naïve.

    Hip hop visionaries De La Soul offered a more positive alternative to the understandably disillusioned and angry currents of mainstream hip hop. ‘Change in Speak’, a track from their 1989 masterpiece 3 Feet High and Rising sampled Cymande’s ‘Bra’, borrowing its jubilant horn lines to support the proclamation, “you are now dancing to the new soul”. In making this claim De La Soul invoked the evolution of black music from the original soul music of the 1960s and ‘70s.

    De La Soul’s exhortation to dance towards enlightenment is akin to Cymande’s Rastafarian philosophy, but just as De La Soul’s chilled jams proved out-of-kilter with the hip hop mainstream, their more faithful interpretation of Cymande was the exception not the rule. By 1996, even the Fugees – who like De La Soul had a reputation for sensitivity – employed a Cymande sample on an explicitly militaristic track. ‘The Score’ paired Paterson’s guitar riff on ‘Dove’ with a refrain inciting a march to war, “left, right, left, right”.

    Cymande’s reinterpretation by hip hop artists in the 1980s and 1990s changed the original album itself. The 1972 release of Cymande led with ‘Zion I’, a funked-up hymn to Rastafarianism. On the 1993 U.S re-release on compact disc, ‘Zion I’ was shunted to the end. The whole album was re-ordered to feature the tracks that were most popular with samplers. ‘The Message’, ‘Dove’, and ‘Bra’ were all amongst the first four tracks. Track two was ‘Brothers on the Slide’, a song originally from Cymande’s third album Promised Heights, released in 1974.

    Over a guitar riff that could have provided inspiration for some of the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s hits, ‘Brothers on the Slide’ offers a downbeat commentary on the plight of black brothers. In a Curtis Mayfield-like falsetto the vocalist declares “You can’t win so you know you must lose”. The sentiment is a far cry from Mayfield’s ‘60s civil rights anthem ‘We’re a Winner’. With this treatment, Cymande’s debut album takes on the quality of a palimpsest, its original messages reinterpreted and rewritten by later scribes.

    One element has remained consistent throughout the shifts in the reception of Cymande’s debut album. A clue can be found on the Coup’s ‘I Ain’t the Nigga’, which paired its Cymande sample with an excerpt from Big Daddy Kane’s rap on Kool G Rap and DJ Polo’s 1990 single ‘Erase Racism’. The refrain “If I’m a slave then I’m a slave to the rhythm” is repeated throughout. This statement unifies the disparate messages to say something that has been true of black music since the chain gang holler of the early blues; if there’s a means of subverting mistreatment, it is through music and movement. Whilst Cymande’s ‘message’ may have evolved, their enduring appeal comes back to that Philadelphia crowd and their spontaneous cutlery calypso. They’ve got the funk.


    Cymande’s new album A Simple Act Of Faith is out now via Cherry Red Records.

    Record photos: Michael Wilkin

  • Grandmaster Flash loses treasured vinyl after car is given to stranger

    By | July 27, 2015

    Originally published on FACT.

    The hip-hop icon is not having a good week.

    Grandmaster Flash lost his 2014 Dodge Charger — and more importantly, a huge selection of his rarest vinyl — last week when a parking attendant gave his car away to a thief. The attendant didn’t check the ID or request the valet ticket when the thief requested it, he explained on a call-in with TMZ. The attendant apologized and said he didn’t request anything because “the guy looks like [you],” the turntable innovator said.

    To make matters even worse, Flash was transporting a selection of his best records for use in an upcoming project with Baz Luhrmann (maybe the upcoming series on the golden age of hip-hop?). The car and records are still missing, and he is currently considering a lawsuit against the parking company.

    Watch the video here and revisit FACT’s interview with the legend himself.

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