Release Date: Mar 3, 2009
Record label: Strut
The last time Grandmaster Flash released an album of new studio material, I didn’t even exist. So imagining a career so long and influential is hard for my mind to grasp, but I have always appreciated Flash’s 80s material for its musicality and, well, apparent influence. Just about everyone regards Flash as the grandfather of hip-hop and quite possibly the greatest DJ of all time.
For all of the hip-hop landmarks to see the light in 1988-- It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back , By All Means Necessary , Straight Outta Compton , Critical Beatdown , Long Live the Kane , The Great Adventures of Slick Rick -- one detail that often goes overlooked is the fact that it was also the year Grandmaster Flash released his last LP, briefly reuniting with Melle Mel to drop the commercially disappointing On the Strength . After it tanked, Flash shifted his focus to become a highly in-demand touring DJ, which wasn't the worst career move: His status as a musical icon is indelible in any case, and some of the mixes he released-- like 2002's b-boy break/scratch showcase The Official Adventures of Grandmaster Flash or 1997's disco mix Salsoul Jam 2000 (re-released in 2005 as Mixing Bullets and Firing Joints )-- are essential for anyone who likes old-school hip-hop. But while I won't begrudge Flash for wanting to get back into the studio and reassert his place in the hip-hop pantheon, maybe we should all agree to pretend that The Bridge doesn't actually exist.