The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats
Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., June 27, 2008
The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beatsby Grandmaster Flash with David Ritz
Broadway Books, 258 pp., $22.95
Grandmaster Flash didn't create the break. That credential belongs to neighborhood hero Kool Herc. Rather, Flash made the modern DJ. He turned the role from a playground party fixture to a staple of clubs across the country. And with Melle Mel, Kid Creole, and the rest of the Furious Five, the Grandmaster transformed the MC into one of American culture's most stigmatic roles. The backstory's all found in The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash, from the drugs, to the booze, to the women and parties, almost completely in that order. The man known for his hands caught a nasty spell when crack hit, and his journey to the "ether-infested basement" paints a Flash completely removed from the one rocking Europe on the Sugar Hill dime. When he was on point, he was a revolutionary, filling previously unfrequented uptown nightclubs with B-boys, while disco ruled his late-1990s spot DJing The Chris Rock Show. His 2007 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the first (and currently only) by a rapper, wasn't only symbolic. It was grand.