Grandmaster Flash (real name Joseph Saddler) emerged from the South Bronx in the mid-1970s. DJing funk and soul at block parties around the Bronx, Saddler realised that the drum break was the most popular part of the track and found a way to extend the drum break with ingenuity. Alongside DJ Cool Herc and Afrika Bambaattaa Saddler, he is considered one of the creators of hip-hop music.
However, despite being a hip-hop purist, in a conversation with Billboard magazine, the Bronx legend considers Drake a genius and believes he has changed rap music for the better.
Earlier this year, as hip-hop celebrated its 50th anniversary, Grandmaster Flash performed at the Grammys alongside the likes of LL Cool J, Questlove and new-generation artists such as GloRilla and Lil Uzi Vert. However, before the performance, while on the carpet, he highlighted his admiration for other contemporary MCs.
Drake is known for his singing style of rapping and his seamless combination of hip-hop and R’n’B. However, he is also known for his versatility and bold beat choices. Saddler expressed his affinity for the latter while speaking to Billboard.
Opening up about his opinion of Drake (real name Aubrey Graham), Saddler unveiled, “He is probably the only rapper, and I want to speak on his talent because he’s a great rapper, but he’s the only one, in my opinion, that’s daring enough to rap on a trap beat, to rap on a disco beat, to rap on ballad beat.”
He continued, “I would call it like a Prince formula. When Prince makes records, it does not sound like his last record. Drake is daring enough to rap on all different types of beats. I think he’s a consummate genius.”
Many golden-age rappers, including the likes of KRS-One and Ice-T, have been critical of new-school artists like Drake, and many believe the culture has regressed. Fortunately, for hip-hop, one of the genre’s pioneers doesn’t share these opinions. You can hear Flash reflecting on 50 years of hip-hop in the video below.