Friday, March 29, 2019

Grand Wizzard Theodore

Theodore Livingston (born March 5, 1963), better known as Grand Wizzard Theodore, is an American hip hop DJ. He is widely credited as the inventor of the scratching technique. In addition to scratching, he gained credibility for his mastery of needle drops and other techniques in which he invented or perfected.

Born in the Bronx, New York, Theodore's brother, Mean Gene, was his mentor, who began teaching him the technique of DJing at an early age. Theodore also apprenticed under Grandmaster Flash.

Though variants of the story exist, it is generally accepted that Grand Wizzard Theodore was playing records at a high volume in his bedroom. Fed up with the noise, his mother entered and ordered him to turn the music down. He then looked away from the turntable to face her. While his mother lectured him, he continued slowly moving the record back and forth, which produced a sound all its own. When she left the room he was intrigued by the sound the vinyl made when manipulated in this fashion. After months of experimentation, he introduced this technique at a party and thus scratching was born. Many forms of popular music have used the technique.

A dramatization of Theodore’s invention of the record scratch was featured on Comedy Central’s television show “Drunk History”, narrated by Questlove.

In the early 1980s, Theodore was a part of the group Grandwizard Theodore & the Fantastic Five. They released "Can I Get a Soul Clap" in 1982. He was also featured in the 1983 film Wild Style, as well as contributing to the film's soundtrack. He explains the origin of the scratch in the documentary, Scratch

Theodore's phrase "Say turn it up" from his track "Fantastic Freaks at the Dixie" was sampled by hip hop and rap acts such as Public Enemy (on the track "Bring the Noise"), Bomb the Bass (on the track "Megablast") and many others.


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