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Grandmaster Flash admits much of his record collection came from ex-girlfriends

"Can I go get a shopping cart?"

  • Harrison Williams
  • 27 July 2017

Grandmaster Flash has his ex-girlfriends to thank for helping him build the basis of his record collections, which helped inspire his legendary hip-hop career.

In a recent interview with AM New York, Grandmaster Flash was discussing his early influences when he told a story about how he used to play with his father’s records and turntable after he left to go to work. At some point Flash decided he needed to accumulate his own records, which is when he tapped the families of his ex-girlfriends.

At the opportune moment, Flash would make a move for old records that had since been forgotten: “If I went to dinner at a person’s house, if I dated somebody and they wanted me to meet their parents, I would say Mrs. -- let’s just say the last name was Williams -- ‘Mrs. Williams, would you happen to have any old records lying around that you don’t want or need?’ And they would say, ‘Boy, go on in that closet right there. There’s a whole bunch of them. I don’t know. We don’t even want that junk.’”

This would be like uncovering a treasure trove for Flash. What the family called junk, would be valuable possessions to him: “I’d go in there and I’d say, ‘Can I go get a shopping cart? I'll be right back.’ I would take them home and I’d sit there and listen to every cut.”

Today Flash’s vinyl collection is vast, with an eclectic mix of rock, jazz, soul, funk and pop. It’s these very records that led to a string of DJ innovations that helped evolve the craft. Big up the exes for the crucial contribution to music history.

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