Watching the first person to ever use the turntable as an instrument at a packed hip-hop tent at a dance festival I was overcome by one of those moments where a montage of history and development passes through the forefront of a mind in the blink of an eye. I felt privileged to be in attendance, sharing the sense of collective awareness and humility that follows the ‘first’ of people to do anything.
A festival full of DJ’s and acts that have developed from disco, drum and bass, dubstep or dance roots the Grandmaster of turntablism is still managed to make his mark on a smaller corner of the music scene. Don’t get me wrong the Juicy tent at Parklife was nothing short of impressive mass hysteria and positivity provided by hip-hop music, but bitter cynics might question why Flash didn’t preside over the main stage.
For me it only proved how the spirit of hip-hop has developed and grown. Peeking behind a symbol of futurism and technological innovation (an Apple Laptop) it became clear that flash had changed, fashion sense and in terms of what equipment he uses to make noise.
The ‘cue’ button has enabled all DJ’s across the world to skillfully develop the ‘hype’ and artful excitement that sells tickets and unites masses in appreciation of what Sir Anthony Wilson described as ‘the medium’.
As Grandmaster himself will tell you – he doesn’t consider himself the ‘greatest’ or the ‘best’; he confirms with reliable confidence and historically researchable evidence that he was the ‘first’. Being the first of something is something that will never change, and as other DJs and genres enjoy borrowing from hip-hop’s pioneering spirit, Grandmaster Flash and the roots of turntablism and hip-hop will never be forgotten or erased, and why would it?
My emotional moment and damp eyes dried in the heat of acceptance as the masses showed respect to Grandmaster Flash, who then played Onyx and shut the shit down.
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