cover image The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats

The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats

Grandmaster Flash, with David Ritz. . Harlem Moon, $22.95 (258pp) ISBN 978-0-7679-2475-7

The story of Grandmaster Flash has been told many times—but never this well—in countless books on hip-hop culture: a DJ whose genius at mixing songs and beats using multiple turntables as the background for rapping MCs in New York City during the late 1970s and early '80s made him one of the founding fathers of hip-hop. Here, Flash's own no-holds-barred look at his rise, fall and resurrection is powered by his insider's look at the transcendent as well as the seamy sides of the early days of hip-hop. He is especially good at presenting new information on his dealings with one of the early hip-hop giants, Sugar Hill Records. He is ably assisted by the ubiquitous Ritz, who, as a coauthor of numerous autobiographies (Ray Charles, Don Rickles, etc.), allows for individual voices and writing styles. While Flash writes in short, phrases, the entire book reveals a complex and thoughtful approach to his life, especially his obsessive mixing work (“I would have to do that thirty-six hundred times to fill an all-day park jam with music the way I wanted to play it”). (June 10)