Read a guide to hip hop stalwart Grandmaster Flash, compiled by London club crew Applebum.
The brainchild of founders Jordan, Stevie and Nicola, carefree clubnight Applebum was first established in the summer of 2014. With DJs Little Prince, J-Train, Mister Bounce, Only, Queen Shi Shi and Kir3y on rotation alongside a raft of special guests and affiliates, it has since become North London's hip hop hotspot with a monthly residency at The Garage in Islington and a recently announced party series at Paradise, Kensal Rise.
Also fresh from announcing another jewel in the Applebum crown, they'll ditch the smog for a sizzling summer residency at Sankeys Ibiza this year, playing weekly Tuesday nights from June 21st, through to the season's close in September. To warm up for the summer run, the crew will be making their way up north to Sankeys Manchester on March 11th, to host a night with one of their mutual heroes, Grandmaster Flash. An all-time stalwart of the hip hop scene, he's a figure from the history books and a linchpin of the movement. Thoroughly influenced by his legacy and eclectic beat juggling, his firebrand, fun-driven attitude to DJing has shaped the clubnight's vibe - and to celebrate the mark he's had on Applebum, the crew banged heads to create a mini guide to the living legend ahead of his set this Friday.
Read the Applebum crew guide to Grandmaster Flash's best bits below, and if you're up north, drop into Sankeys this Friday to catch the legend dominating on the 1s and 2s.
Jordan: "I've always been fascinated with hip hop culture. Not just the music, but everything that comes with it. From MCing to b-boying, to graffiti and DJing, it's a lifestyle beyond rap music and Flash to me was one of the first people to really champion all the elements of the culture and bring them to the mainstream. I grew up listening to hip hop in the '90s and it wasn't really until my late teens that I started looking back to where it all came from. When I first heard Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five's The Message it completely blew my mind."
Jordan: "Obviously the next step was White Lines. From the moment I heard that bass line I was hooked! There's something about the care-free yet conscious attitude of the early '80s hip hop era that really resonated with me. It was clearly at a point where the culture was beginning to carve out its own identity, but also taking huge influences from other scenes. You can see this in Grandmaster Flash's sets, cutting and scratching between huge tracks by Blondie, Queen and Chic. He was never (and still isn’t) afraid to have fun on the turntables, and that's something that we have taken into our own sets at Applebum."
Nicola: "It's 2010 at Space, Ibiza and all summer it’s been about Richie Hawtin, Kehakuma, Zoo Project, fist pumps, villa parties - you get the idea! Here we are, full crew stood at the back of the Terrace and suddenly Grandmaster Flash screams over the mic, "I am Grandmaster Flash and I am the first DJ to be entered in to the Rock and Roll hall of fame!" The following hour explained exactly why. He gave us an education in music – a bunch of Ibiza workers looking at each other, hands in the air, screaming along to every track we forgot we loved, whilst Flash held the crowd in the palm of his hands. He scratched his way through LL Cool J, Run DMC, David Bowie, and that White Stripes song that everyone sung on the bus back to San Antonio. He then instructed everyone to unite and "hold each other’s hands for hip hop" before blaring out Naughty By Nature's Hip Hop Hooray, followed by Rappers Delight, Snap and Bell Biv Devoe...and that was just the first 20 minutes. It was a special moment in Ibiza where no one took themselves seriously and got down to some absolute classics, which is essentially the vibe we go for with Applebum."
Nicola: "As Jordan pointed out, Flash's abiity to scratch and mix Blondie, Queen and Chic on The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel to create his own version of the songs is impressive in itself. For me, I grew up listening to Blondie so Rapture stands out to me as providing a light on rappers bringing a new scene through in the early 80's with lyric 'DJ's spinning I said my, my Flash is fast, Flash is cool' - she immortalises him in one line. The fact that he uses this sample in 'The Adventures of...' and chooses two other seminal records, is just proof that he was revolutionary at a time when people used to just let a record play out."
Stevie: "My brother played me the film, Wild Style, when I was eight or nine years old and I remember Grandmaster Flash scratching on his turntables in the kitchen scene. When my nan passed away she left me her record player and I used to try and scratch on my mum's old records, I used to imitate the scratch sound with my nail and think I was actually scratching - safe to say my mum wasn't happy! I also used my old Nike windbreaker as a scratch sound in the park with my mate Danny beatboxing. I still have the original first releases of White Lines and The Message that I bought from Max Millward's record shop when I had enough money from my paper round. I hope to get my idol Flash to sign them for me this weekend when he plays for us at Sankeys Manchester."