20 questions for Grandmaster Flash

How do you control time? Ask Grandmaster Flash. PopMatters has the answer in this latest edition of 20 questions, which highlights the legendary hip-hop innovator’s first high profile studio effort in more than two decades, “The Bridge” (Strut Records).

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?

“The Secret.” It tells me about the endless possibilities of everything that I could do, it makes me kind of teary-eyed. I know what is possible and I’ve done some things that might have been considered impossible but I look back and I say, Oh shoot I did that!

2. The fictional character most like you?

The lead guy of the Transformers, Optimist Prime. He leads many courageous people on his team but he converts himself into so many other things. He’s a car one minute and he’s a robot the next. He has such a tough responsibility and he handles it.

3. The greatest album, ever?

There is no one favorite. I can never answer that question. I haven’t had an answer for that in 25 years. It’s different everywhere. What’s hot in Australia might be cold in Japan. What’s cold in Japan might be steaming hot in Mexico.

4. “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”?

“Star Trek”. I’m a Trekkie. “Star Wars” was too long and drawn-out for me. “Star Trek” gets to the point in 30 minutes.

5. Your ideal brain food?

Meditation allows you to just put your brain in neutral just for a little while. The brain is designed to go on and on and on but if you give it rest, it’s even better. Meditation is my brain food. On the stage is meditation for me because that’s what I’m most comfortable with. Thousands of screaming people, that’s very comforting for me.

6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?

To take a piece of vinyl and look for an area … in that area where the drummer plays for a couple of seconds, and get two copies of that, and take that drummer’s performance and make it endless. In essence, I didn’t realize I was controlling time. Being able to control time is probably my biggest accomplishment, which is taking a drummer who might make two bars of music and make it last five minutes, 20 minutes. I was controlling time. Every DJ in the world does my science, which is controlling time.

7. You want to be remembered for …?

Controlling time.

8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?

My father. He used to beat me for touching his equipment and he used to beat me pretty badly. I guess maybe in some weird way he taught me to respect stereo equipment and vinyl.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?

I don’t think there’s anything that I wish for. Everything that has my signature I agree with.

10. Your hidden talents …?

They’re hidden, so I don’t know. The ones I know: I produce, I’m heavy into electronics, I do lectures. All my talents are on display.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?

I follow the voice in my head.

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?

Probably a turntable by a company that was not well-known. The model was SL-20 and it was by Technics. It’s the grandfather of turntables.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or …?


14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?

Paulette, she’s very close to me. And Chris Lighty, who handles this management company called Violator. He actually handles 50 Cent.

15. Time travel: where, when and why?

I’m really good with right now because tomorrow is a figment of our imagination and yesterday’s already written so right now is all we have.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?

Spa vacation in Jamaica.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or …?

Peace. It’s essential to life. Be at peace with yourself and everything else will work out.

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?

I do both, I enjoy both.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?

Be impeccable with your word. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?

I’m in the early stages of doing a deal with…I can’t say who it is but it probably will be the biggest video game in the world next year.

PopMatters is an international magazine of arts and culture. Find more PopMatters content at www.popmatters.com.

Copyright 2009 McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.