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Quite possibly the most influential and innovative figure in rap music, Grandmaster Flash pioneered the turntable techniques that eventually became standard in the rapidly growing genre. Born Joseph Saddler, Flash grew up in the Bronx and, along with Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, became an integral part of the late-1970s/early-'80s New York City rap community. His deft turntable stylings were so entrancing to his club audiences that he had to enlist the help of others to shift the focus away from him, and this group formed the Furious Five, one of the first MC crews. He also helped pioneer the socially conscious aspect of rap with 1981's pop crossover hit "The Message."
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