The Secret Origins of Grandmaster Flash

    Joseph Saddler was another teenager from the Caribbean, raised in the Bronx, who shared Herc's obsession with music and electronics. But unlike the muscled Herc, the diminutive Saddler was a perfectionist. Saddler spent hours watching Herc in Cedar Park run his "merry-go-round," and saw that Herc was visually locating the starting point of the breaks, dropping the needle and hoping for the best. When he switched back and forth between the turntables, Herc never really stayed on beat.

    Saddler went home and worked at getting it right. Living in the South Bronx, he didn't know about the downtown DJ innovations that Hollywood had discovered, like "beat matching" (aligning the tempos of records) and "slip-cueing" (using headphones to audition and cue a record before releasing it into play). Saddler had to invent them himself. He came up with this own names for the techniques: the "peek-a-boo system," and "clock theory." In the elaborate setting of his bedroom, Saddler took the science of DJing further than anyone had. Before long, he could "cut" between duplicate copies of a record seamlessly, without dropping a beat. Since most breaks were agonizingly brief, the quicker the cut, the shorter the breaks he could use. Saddler got really fast. His friends called him "Flash," like the comic-book hero who possessed superhuman speed.

Source: The Big Payback, pg. 19

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