Grandmaster Flash talks about the origins of hip-hop this Black History Month

Chanteé Lans Image
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
ABC7 New York 24/7 Eyewitness News Stream
ABC7 New York 24/7 Eyewitness News StreamStream New York's #1 news - Accuweather - original content 24/7

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Hip-hop transcends far beyond the music.

"One person did not create this culture. It's three. Herc, Bam, and myself," said Grandmaster Flash, the founding father of Hip-hop.

Joseph Saddler, better known as Grandmaster Flash, is one of the three founding fathers of hip-hop.

"This is hip-hop to me, wax paper, spray starch, the heated rubber mat," Grandmaster Flash said.

Grandmaster Flash showed what he used in the Bronx to make history, a style of DJing he calls the quick mix theory.

"I came up with this technique that allowed me to elongate the drum break, I put a microphone on the other side of the table, to see if anyone could speak," Grandmaster Flash said.

"It wasn't well received in the very beginning. A lot of people, they thought it was a fluke. They thought it was bubble gum. They did not want to respect it at all because they say it's coming from the streets," said Kool DJ Red Alert, 107.5 WBLS.

That's until it went from the streets to the radio airwaves.

Kool DJ Red Alert played hip-hop on 98.7 Kiss FM.

"My job is to entertain the audience, make them feel good. I consider myself like the band leader, the maestro, the pied piper," DJ Kool Red Alert said.

His work paved the way and launched on the PBS sister station WNYC in 1983.

It was the only local TV show at the time showcasing rising Black hip-hop stars.

"Black music has always been changes, trends and that's what hip-hop did. It just changed trends," said VJ Ralph McDaniels, Founder, Video Music Box.

Video Music Box was the longest-running video music show in the world, creating demand from all races.

"They were like, 'Ralph we need you, please bring us the Black videos. Bring us the hip-hop videos," he said.

Affectionately known as Uncle Ralph in the hip-hop community, he shot and directed Nas' first music video.

"It's a blessing. I'm a product of hip-hop. I'm a product of the old school and the newest of the new," Nas said.

Just to show the magnitude of hip-hop, Nas recently performed at Madison Square Garden.

It was a sold-out concert for a single hip-hop artist.

ALSO READ | Mom, daughter among many Ukrainian refugees hoping to make living in New Jersey

A mother and her young daughter are trying to make a new life for themselves in New Jersey after fleeing Ukraine. Sonia Rincon has more on their story.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.