Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Grandmaster Flash in the Pan

Been a while. I've been wanting to post about my experience opening for Grandmaster Flash (in April) for a while now, finally getting around to doing it. The basic statement I want to make is "Grandmaster Flash is a washed up jerk face." Ok, ok, dude like invented djing and shit, is now 60 years old and I guess deserves some respect for his contributions to hip hop, but that doesn't mean homie has to be a total prima donna punk. From what the promoters told me, their whole experience with him focused around his complete lack of respect for them and outlandish demands for superstar treatment. So not keeping it real. I was told two weeks before the show that I was only allowed to play house music, so I tried to prepare a total mind-blowing house set for the night... then an hour before getting to sound check the promoter told me that I could play hip hop, but just not the songs on GMF's "Do Not Play List" (see picture above). Seriously?!... I would think after 40 plus years in the game he'd be comfortable enough with himself and his accomplishments that he wouldn't be fazed by anyone playing anything before him. Like I'm going to steal his thunder or some shit. Whatever. Anyways, I played a pretty sloppy unprepared set of hip hop and disco that wasn't on his list, and half way through my set his entourage of two dudes (there to set up his equipment) came into the dj booth and basically just acted like they had good reason to hate me. Awesome. Finally I was told to finish playing, and while helping to do the switch over these two dudes (who's claim to fame is being Flash's roadies/cousins or whatever) gave me much attitude about breaking down my gear quickly so that Flash could get on. After clearing out the booth for him, they proceeded to play Gangstarr's "Take it Personal" on loop for like twenty minutes while the man of the hour was busy relaxing in his tour bus outside the club and everyone in the club lost interest. Boring. Finally, finally finally, Flash got on the decks and proceeded to rock it pretty much like any frat party I've ever been to (except his scratching was worse and he did a lot more obnoxious yelling at the crowd). I know ten dj's in Shanghai alone who could have played a better set than he did. Dude didn't even mix two records together once. Every transition was him yelling over his baby scratches and then bang, into the next Naughty by Nature song. What a disappointment to find someone who's earlier musical contributions to hip hop were so inspiring is now so washed up, plateaued out, grumpy and simply bad by modern day standards. Did anyone out there hear his latest album? Terrible. This guy has not pushed the envelope at all since the 80's. Meanwhile, here are a few tracks by a few people who continue to rep it (and if I had to guess, would be a lot more fun to hang out with than Mr. Grandmaster).