Hip Hop History 101: Grandwizard Theodore Explains the Orgins of the Scratch and Beyond

Grand wizzard Theodore fingerThis is an important conversation where Hip Hop pioneer Grand Wizzard Theodore speaks for himself and explains the origins of the Scratch.. Up to that point, many had come to believe that Theodore was trained by Grandmaster Flash who started off in a crew called the L-Brothers (L=Livingston which is Theodore’s last name). I recall interviewing Flash back in 1996 at length and he broke all this down..noting that Theodore was his student..

I ran into Theodore a few months later and he was livid and said that the story was absolutely not true.. Back then he explained as he does in the interview below, how he came into his own.. GM Flash to my knowledge hasn’t retracted the story, so those two will have to sort it out..

Here’s a excerpts from a 2005 interview w/ Troy Smith of Tha Foundation


TS: I read in an article that Gene originally didn’t want you to DJ, you ended up having to sneak it to do it. Flash put you on to it. Flash showed you how to do it?

GWT: Gene and Flash were down together and people were trying to say that Flash taught me. I taught myself how to DJ. Nobody taught  me how to DJ. The only thing Flash taught me was, you know, there are so many different mixers out there..you have to know how to turn the mixer on, turn the mixer off..,this is this cross fader, for that turntable, this cross fader for that turntable..these are the ear phones.. that’s about it. He never sat me down and said, “O.K. This is how you mix these two records together.  It was nothing, never like that. All the skills that I have I taught myself. Nobody taught me all the skills that I have. That is why my style is like no other. If anything, Flash taught me – this is the left turntable, this is the right turntable, this is the mixer, this is that for the mixer, and this is that for the mixer – but I pretty much knew all that already, just by watching.

TS: Your brothers were already doing this before Flash even came to your house, didn’t Flash stay at your house for a minute as well?

GWT: Flash was down from day one with Gene. Flash couldn’t keep the equipment at his house, so the equipment was at my mom’s house. Flash was able to come any time he wanted to DJ. If he came and he stayed till 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning, he had a room were he could just stretch out. My moms was like,”You can come and go as you please.”

Below Theodore speaks for himself..


Theodore shows off his patented Needle drop technique


A classic cut that captures the essence of Theodore from back in the days


Grand Wizard Theodore oldThe other unintended story that needed to be put to rest was Theodore spilling beer on a turntable and inventing the scratch while wiping the record clean.. This came about after a humorous Heineken commercial aired a few years back depicting that. It was part of a series of commercials the beer company did where they fictionalized how the accidents around the beer created the Peace sign, the Lighter, the scratch etc.. Unfortunately because there had been so much historical distortion around the legacy of Theodore, many didn’t find the humor in the commercial resulting in an open letter and protest to the beer company.


6 comments on “Hip Hop History 101: Grandwizard Theodore Explains the Orgins of the Scratch and Beyond

  1. How far has the apple dropped from the tree? These dumb f–ks today claimin to be Hip Hop ain´t even hav skratcin in they muzick.

  2. grand wizard theodore had his own style and grandmaster flash had his but there wewe plenty of other good djs in the bronx at the time of the dj explosion like dj cisco and bucko breakout and the baron dj chevy chev from tnt disco cut master t dj white flash the grand buddha jazzy g dj darryl c from the crash crew dj kenny ken from the k-connection dj easy lee from the trecherous 3 dj kenny sex from harlem beatbox master dj quick dj topsecret r.i.p. dj ronnie green and the get high crew kool dj aj the disco twins cut master d.c. grand master flowers grand mixer d.s.t. grand dragon k.d. dj tat money dj cash money dj lighting lance dj moony moon the grand chop t-rock and too many more that deserve reconition

  3. now with emcees there are a vast marsh pit of people that i mr wonderful\blackpearl mafia a.k.a. dynamite t had the pleasure of perfoming with im only gonna mention the ones who kept it real and the ones i give respect to if i forgot you oooh well im telling my story now so screw you haters you see i was a b-boy when the mic game hit the scene and my boy kenny pounder a.k.a. left b-boyin and picked up the mic i was still dancin and he step to me one day in the hallway and ask me to harmonize with him and i caught the buzz and emcee dynamite t was born i kept practising with kaygee his name was m.c. othello at the time so we formed a little duo and then othello became know as almighty kaygee we was going around rockin the stage and competeing with the local crews like adam bomb r.i.p. tee ty small paul m.c. mcgee the fabulous 4 rps m.c. shakiem barry d killer b the vaughn brothers dj thor dj bozonk and the underfeated force featuring t larock now thangs were getting mighty competitive and kaygee step to me about a audition for a cat name charlie chase now i never had heard of him but we went me kay gee and m.c.shakiem to get a spot now i didnt know that it was only one spot so we go to charlie chase spot and dude got all this trunk azz equipment and monster azz speakers in a studio apartment so we introduce ourselves and easy a.d. was there and we took turns rhyming and it was time for them to make a choice and i just knew i had that spot right??? wrong they picked almighty kaygee and that was the only spot yeah i was a little disapointed because in them days i had turned myself into a devastating rhyming machine so it was no hard feelings because i continued to hook up with other top notch djs as i moved around the local rap circut with djs llike cisco and bucko the grand chop t-rock the grand buddha dj jazzy gee the amazin hell raisin 240 crew we use to have big rap concerts in the park and threw jazzy g i met funk master wiz his name was ringing mad bells in the hood and one day he saw me tear shit up at a concert in echo park with m.c.tnt and the 240 crew and he liked my style and we became real kool so wiz was a recording artist wiz was putting out records and they were getting mad fuckin rotation on the radio now i saw oppertunity when wiz took me under his wing and me and m.c. tnt would always go over to wiz place cause dude was always workin on something funky hes the reason i went on from freestyling to becomming a full fledge talented songwriter and learned the independent rap game and started the blackpearl music group and formed blackpearl mafia you see god had a plan for me and wiz really showed me a lot about the rap game i took my game to the next level reinvented myself change my name to something that matched my flashy classy style of dressing and baaaam mr wonderful was born ive been doing pretty good since those pioneer days of battaling other m.c.s. ive got my own imprint now and ive hooked up with illside entertainment and the ironhorse music group and us three imprints have been putting out independent product nonstop ive just finished my fifth studio album tittled blackpearl mafias greatest disses and misses and ive got blackpearl mafias across 110th street slated for release sometime this summer its been a long journey for me to get to this level and since the haters and the air heads dont wanna give me my props ha ha ha ha suckas i took them now what cause when they talk about pioneers ha ha ha im truly one of the best to have clawed a peice of history fo myself so perpetrators playa haters riggalators and darth vaders see ya at summer jams this summer this is yo candy cola a1 blackpearl solider sayin kiss my black pimpin azz in macys window im out

  4. yes at printing highschool back in the late 70s davey d and one love to you davey d you are a ledgend and i know how you get down on the turntables one love to ya potna

  5. the game has change but fo the worst most of these new jacks ha ha ha ha man please no real talent most of them are like voodoo chanters they say the same chorus threw out the whole damm record no lyrics at all str8 up doo doo -garbage and yall lames have the nerve to support that crap and if your a emcee and you support that bullshit no wonder your carrer is at a stand still now peep game lames real reconize real and fake well he he he he you do the math if you a trillville nigga because at the blackpearl music group we aint fucking with no wack azz niggas or sell out niggas or jealous niggas or stupid on the corner niggas we only fucking with cats that really got they shit together and can bring the funk

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