Hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash is in town tonight, but not to lay down beats. Rather, the artist formerly known as Joseph Saddler will be at the University of Chicago’s International House to sign and promote his new autobiography, The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats. During the appearance, Flash will also discuss his life and the memoir with WGCI’s DJ Timbuk2.
In the memoir, co-written with music-bio veteran David Ritz (Marvin Gaye, B.B. King, Ray Charles, etc.), Flash details his formative childhood in the South Bronx; the rise of his legendary group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five who, along with artists like the Sugar Hill Gang and Melle Mel, put hip-hop on the map; and how, in true VH1 fashion, it all came tumbling down. The memoir is full of interesting insights including the fact that Flash apparently hated one of the band’s biggest hits. It’s a rare chance to see one of music’s true living pioneers in person. And to ask him what he thinks about Lil Wayne.
Grandmaster Flash’s appearance at the University is the latest in a series of events dedicated to exploring all sides of hip-hip. . Center for the study of Race, Politics and Culture Artist-in-Residence Bakari Kitwana taught a class on “The Politics of the Hip-Hip Generation” during the spring quarter. DJ Kool Herc, credited with helping to birth the movement, spoke at the Experimental Station in early June. South Asian hip-hoppers performed in March as part of HipHopistan, a mixture of discussions and concerts believed to comprise an event that is the first of its kind. And the theme of the hip-hop generation’s involvement in politics has been frequently addressed on campus: Artists, academics, and analysts gathered at the University April 5 for a conference on “The Hip-Hop Generation: Race, Gender & the Vote,” while feminism and hip-hop were debated during panel discussions in 2005.
Grandmaster Flash appears tonight at The International House at the University of Chicago, 1414 E. 59th, 6 p.m., Free, Call 773-753-2270 for more details.