Version 5It’s a sweltering Wednesday night in Manchester, as we await the special guest. The opening act has gone, the stage has been cleared, and is set for the trailblazer of modern turntable technicians and self-styled scientist, Grandmaster Flash.

Hip hop has changed immeasurably since its salad days, where a raw, anti-disco, New York underground movement has evolved into a multi-layered, pan-urban, multi-billion dollar juggernaut.

As a player, Flash has witnessed many instalments of the hip hop story, which you wouldn’t be able to discern by his youthful appearance. His reputation has obviously proceeded him judging by the frenetic atmosphere, and when the MC finally introduces him, the crowd roars with delight as the Grandmaster takes his position behind his 1210s.

With no time to waste, he dives into familiar old skool tunes including Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock’s, It Takes two, Paid in Full by Eric B & Rakim and his own groundbreaking, The Message, an anthem which set a precedent for socially-conscious hip-hop before Public Enemy and KRS-1 ever dreamt of success.

The mixing was as sharp as ever, with the infamous elbow making an appearance.
Throughout his set, Flash was so focused, he was totally oblivious to the posse of imposing photographers, armed with concentration-breaking flashguns (yours truly included). Although, he must surely be used to it by now.

Unlike many other DJ’s of his stature and longevity, Flash is a genuine talent. His gift, honed for the past part of two decades in clubs, on Bronx street corners and in his own bedroom shone through his unbeatable show, which is one of the best gigs I’ve attended in a long time. And like everyone else here tonight. I am truly not worthy.

Flash is bad. No doubt.

© 2019 Dawn Daniels

 

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