DJ Grandmaster Flash and his group the Furious Five were hip-hop's greatest innovators, transcending the genre's party-music origins to explore the full scope of its lyrical and sonic horizons. Flash was born Joseph Saddler in Barbados on January 1, 1958; he began spinning records as teen growing up in the Bronx, performing live at area dances and block parties. By age 19, while attending technical school courses in electronics during the day, he was also spinning on the local disco circuit; over time, he developed a series of groundbreaking techniques including "cutting" (moving between tracks exactly on the beat), "back-spinning" (manually turning records to repeat brief snippets of sound), and "phasing" (manipulating turntable speeds) -- in short, creating the basic vocabulary which DJs continue to follow even today.
Flash did not begin collaborating with rappers until around 1977, first teaming with the legendary Kurtis Blow. He then began working with the Furious Five -- rappers Melle Mel (Melvin Glover), Cowboy (Keith Wiggins), Kid Creole (Nathaniel Glover), Mr. Ness aka Scorpio (Eddie Morris), and Rahiem (Guy Williams); the group quickly became legendary throughout New York City, attracting notice not only for Flash's unrivalled skills as a DJ but also for the Five's masterful rapping, most notable for their signature trading and blending of lyrics. Despite their local popularity, they did not record until after the Sugarhill Gang's smash "Rapper's Delight" proved the existence of a market for hip-hop releases; after releasing "We Rap More Mellow" as the Younger Generation, Flash and the Five recorded "Superappin'" for the Enjoy label owned by R&B legend Bobby Robinson. They then switched to Sugar Hill, owned by Sylvia Robinson (no relation), after she promised them an opportunity to rap over a current DJ favorite, "Get Up and Dance" by Freedom (the idea had probably been originally conceived by Crash Crew for their single "High Powered Rap").
That record, 1980's "Freedom," the group's Sugar Hill debut, reached the Top 20 on national R&B charts on its way to selling over 50,000 copies; its follow-up, "Birthday Party," was also a hit. 1981's "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" was the group's first truly landmark recording, introducing Flash's "cutting" techniques to create a stunning sound collage from snippets of songs by Chic, Blondie, and Queen. Flash and the Five's next effort, 1982's "The Message," was even more revelatory -- for the first time, hip-hop became a vehicle not merely for bragging and boasting but for trenchant social commentary, with Melle Mel delivering a blistering rap detailing the grim realities of life in the ghetto. The record was a major critical hit, and it was an enormous step in solidifying rap as an important and enduring form of musical expression.
Following 1983's anti-cocaine polemic "White Lines," relations between Flash and Melle Mel turned ugly, and the rapper soon left the group, forming a new unit also dubbed the Furious Five. After a series of Grandmaster Flash solo albums including 1985's They Said It Couldn't Be Done, 1986's The Source, and 1987's Da Bop Boom Bang, he reformed the original Furious Five lineup for a charity concert at Madison Square Garden; soon after, the reconstituted group recorded a new LP, 1988's On the Strength, which earned a lukewarm reception from fans and critics alike. Another reunion followed in 1994, when Flash and the Five joined a rap package tour also including Kurtis Blow and Run-D.M.C. A year later, Flash and Melle Mel also appeared on Duran Duran's cover of "White Lines." Except for a few compilations during the late '90s, Flash was relatively quiet until 2002, when a pair of mix albums appeared: The Official Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on Strut and Essential Mix: Classic Edition on ffrr.
DJ Yoda is one of Britain's most admired, original club DJs and an AV pioneer who is constantly pushing the possibilities of audio-visual manipulation. Encapsulating the very essence of good times, DJ Yoda has transformed clubbing as we know it, throwing down styles as diverse as Hip-Hop, Funk, Baltimore Club, Drum n Bass and even Country music, all cut-up with a awe-inspiring selection of film, TV show and You Tube visuals that elevate his sets to the uniquely sublime. His keenly-defined sense of humour has captured the imagination of the masses making him possibly the only DJ in the world who can fill a club cutting the Indiana Jones theme music with dirty dubstep beats or 80's pop with New York rap. A judge for three years-worth of DMC DJ World Finals, tipped by Q Magazine as one of 'The 10 DJs you must see before you die' and voted alongside DJ Premier as 'One of the Top Three DJs in the World' in Hip-Hop Connection magazine, DJ Yoda represents a new brand of mix-master who can happily play any kind of music to make people dance. In the last year alone, DJ Yoda has:
* Played on the same bill as Steve Martin, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock at the HBO Comedy Festival in Las Vegas
* Sold out London's Koko on his critically acclaimed 'Magic Cinema Show' tour
* Performed alongside the likes of Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson and Fatboy Slim
* DJ'd to packed-out clubs everywhere from Beijing to New York
* Mixed up the Champions League highlights with a tongue-in-cheek soundtrack for ITV's Champions League Final preview show, blowing ITV Sports presenter Matt Smith's mind along the way
* Performed with Lily Allen providing exclusive visuals
* Earned a barrel full of accolades for mixing the Fabric Live 39 CD
* Hosted an hour-long show for BBC Radio 1 mixing-up highlights of their 40-year history as part of their official anniversary celebrations
* Been voted No.28 in Datatransmission's publicly voted Top 40 DJs Poll, making him the highest placed Hip-Hop DJ.
* Been nominated for a Sony Radio Award in the 'Music Special' category for his "Cut & Paste" documentary for BBC Radio 1.
Following his successful re-scoring of both 'The Goonies' and 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' on the festival circuit in 2003 and 2004, Yoda's notoriety as the most exciting Audio-Visual innovator has escalated with his 'DJ Yoda Goes To The Movies' tours achieving legendary status. His current 'Magic Cinema Show' takes the AV art form into brand new territory utilising cutting edge DVD mixing equipment that he has been instrumental in developing.
Aside from his constant touring, DJ Yoda has completed the fourth instalment of his lauded 'How To Cut and Paste' mix CD series. Following on from Vol. 3's 'The 80s Edition' - a collage of his favourite pop, hip-hop and movie moments from the 1980s - Volume 4 is a truly surprising and groundbreaking edition that sees DJ Yoda blowing the barn doors off, distilling the most potent musical moonshine for a wild hayride into the heart of both types of music; Country AND Western and their stylistic dalliances with hip-hop.
No stranger to breaking ground, Yoda's other achievements include providing Pete Tong with his first ever hip-hop Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 - bootleg copies of which have been doing the rounds ever since - plus his "Mini-Mix" for Annie Mac's show was also voted, by listeners, as the best mix ever broadcast on the show.
With his abilities as a DJ and Audio Visual tour-de-force in no doubt, Yoda's skills as a musician were confirmed with the release of his debut artist album, 'The Amazing Adventures Of DJ Yoda' in 2006. Providing beats for the likes of Biz Markie, 2005 MOBO-winner Sway, Princess Superstar, Jungle Brothers, MC Paul Barman, and a host of other vocalists, 'The Amazing Adventures Of DJ Yoda' was critically acclaimed gaining rave reviews across the board. Having recently provided music for Film, TV and Advertising he is now working on a new album due for release in 2009 and still hopes to work with all the cast of Sesame Street on a turntablist DJ track.
2009 - Nominated for Sony Radio Award for "Cut & Paste" documentary, Radio 1
2008 - FabricLive 39 DJ Yoda - Compilation of the Month iDJ Magazine
2007 - DJ Yoda AV Show Listed As One of the Moments of 2007 - Mixmag
2007 - UK Festival Awards - Best Dance Act
2006 - Nominated for Best Urban DJ - Ibiza DJ Awards
2005 - Voted one of the Top 100 Best Things About Dance Music Today in IDJ Magazine
2004 - Hip Hop Connection 2004 Reader's Poll - Top 5 DJs In The World
2004 - Word Magazine votes a skit on "How To Cut and Paste Vol. 1" one of the Top 5 Skits Of All Time, alongside Wu Tang Clan and De La Soul
2002 - Hip-Hop Connection 2002 Reader's Poll - 6th Best DJ in the World
2002 - 10 DJs You Must See Before You Die - Q Magazine (including Fatboy Slim, Paul Oakenfold, etc.)
2001 - Diesel U Music Awards - DMC Scratch DJ Category Award
2001 - UK Hip-Hop Awards - Nominee for Best DJ