Grandmaster Flash at Dragon-i!

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Wednesday night Grandmaster Flash was back for his sophomore appearance at Dragon-i. By midnight the club was packed inside and out, especially the area near the stage that’s built for visiting acts. When I arrived I noticed a large mob of paparazzi outside the club. It turns out that Flash wasn’t the only legend in the house!

Celebrity gawkers had a field day. In addition to Flash, Jackie Chan was in the club along with Albert Yeung, the head of the Hong Kong entertainment behemoth, Emperor Group. In their section alone there were two tables filled with Emperor Group stars including one member of the group Twins, and several new actress-singers.

Other celebs in ‘D.I.’ on Wednesday night included Naomi Campbell, who got on stage to support Flash, as well as Hollywood actor Josh Hartnett, who’s been in town filming for the past month.

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Grandmaster Flash a pioneer and Hip Hop legend

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Starting his set at around 12:30, Flash began with some classic mid-nineties Hip Hop, before branching out into more recent material. The crowd was extremely receptive, throwing their hands in the air and singing out familiar lyrics when Flash commanded. Three decades of rocking parties clearly made this a walk in the park for the Grandmaster.

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Though veering into contemporary hits, Flash still played a good variety of classic songs. One track that stood out was the Run-D.M.C. b-side “Live at the Funhouse,” that seldom gets play. Flash scratched and cut songs frequently, holding the crowd rapt for the next needle drop. It looked like Grandmaster Flash was playing mostly vinyl records – a real rarity these days, as most touring d.j.s go purely digital.

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At one point in the night, a surprise police license-check forced a stop to the music and the lights to come on. Flash navigated the inconvenience without losing steam or his cool.

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The party went right back on, perhaps with renewed momentum. Flash finished off his set with a Rock segment before playing a few more Hip Hop tracks. As new clubs come and go, it’s nights like this that make Dragon-i itself legendary.

3 Comments

  • Really disappointed to hear such ‘crapy shity mainstream music’ from one this pioneer of the hip hop dj industry!
    Big names does not mean anything anymore…

  • I have mixed feelings on this subject. As a Hip Hop purist myself, I know where you’re coming from. BUT, think of it this way, Hip Hop was built on the backs of people like Flash. He barely made any money back in those days. I could see that he was testing the crowd to see what they responded to. He played a short segment of breaks and Hip Hop classics.

    I often get disappointed by big name d.j.s, as well, especially when they come from so far away, and end up playing the same Pop music that the amateur d.j.s do. Also, think about the crowd he was playing to. They didn’t exactly fit the profile of Hip Hop heads. HOWEVER, once a d.j. has a big name, and a crowd hanging on his every record, they can get away with playing more underground stuff, and should try to please the educated fans out there as well.

    It’s not an easy position to be in. D.J.ing is tough! Part of the time you should be looking to rock the dance floor, and part of the time you should be putting your own twist in the mix by introducing additional good music to others. A huge problem with the scene right now is that people go out and want to hear songs that they know. In a real music city, people go to the clubs and want to hear something they don’t know – they expect the d.j. to know more about music than they do. That’s how it should work.

    Some Hong Kong club-goers seem to have a karaoke mentality when it comes to music. They just want to hear the same songs that they know… Unfortunately, most d.j.s in H.K. are happy to oblige them and limit the range of the music that they play. Then what differentiates one d.j. from another, or one club from another, if they all play the same Pop music? It’s a huge problem.

  • I agree on the comments by Nestor and the Administrator, most people like mainstream music, but would you like it if they play music to degrade women and just flash their jewelery showing that you can’t afford those things? I believe it is time to bring back Hip Hop. The culture, the influence, the fashion, the complex lyricism and the street poetry. I just can’t believe people listen to the mainstream music because they promote negativity. It promotes the mentality that these people are better than you when you really don’t have to compare yourselves to those music “artists”. Everyone is different when it comes to different things. I believe the Flash is still at his best and I hope he’ll stay that way. Promote the creativeness!

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