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Simple deejaying has been around for a long time. In Jamaica vans called "sounds," which were equipped with a record player, amplifier, and speakers, would travel to different neighborhoods and play records. In Manhattan, discos were playing music and entertaining crowds.

However in 1973 Kool Herc, who started out as a graffiti artist, would change the way DJ's played.

In 1973 Kool Herc started when his sister Cindy asked to provide the music at her birthday party, which was being held in a recreation room in their projects. To prepare he bought a selection of records, and did something that is now a standard to all deejays, he hooked two turntables together. With turn turntables, and two copies of the same record, he developed a technique called the break beat. What he did was play the break of a song, which is a short section of a song without vocals that is good for dancing, on one turntable then switch to the other turntable and play the break, in order to extend the break. Herc ripped it up and continued his craft at community centers and house parties, charging 25 cents per person. Besides having the best records and beats he also had one of the best and loudest sound system which he labeled the Herculords, partially consisting a Macintosh amp and Shure speaker columns. By 1975, Herc moved into a club that had just been christened the Helvalo. Herc's parties there

Kool Herc

became a gathering place for b-boys, it was at the Helvalo that Kevin and Keith, as well as the Nigger Twins had their beginnings.

Grandmaster Flash

Another man to make an advance in the art form would be Grandmaster Flash, who had been deejaying since 1974. He began by entertaining at house parties and performing in city parks and by 1976 had achieved notoriety for his ability. While he had talent he didn't have a system that could touch Herc's in any way and Flash was determined to find another way to set himself apart from the other DJ's.

His chance came when he noticed that DJ Pete Jones, who Flash met while Jones was , was able to change from turntable to turntable smoothly. In contrast, Kool Herc was more hit or miss when he did a break beat and the beat would be broken as he switched turntables. After some pleading DJ Pete let Flash take a turn at the wheels of steel for him one night and Flash discovered his secret, Pete had hooked up a pair of headphones to a toggle switch that allowed the DJ to hear what was on either turntable.

Soon Flash had perfected the technique and used it to create phrases by switching between several records in a row, playing a word or two from each. Around this time he developed his clock method of finding a spot on a record, which is pretending the label on the record is a clock face and branching out to find a spot on the record. Grandmaster Flash tried to teach his then partner Mean Gene about his discoveries but he could never pull it off consistently, instead Gene's brother Theodore did.

In 1977 Flash introduces yet another development, that of back-spinning. Back-spinning is playing a phrase from a record, for an example let's use the phrase "don't push me" (from "The Message") as an example. The DJ plays the phrase then quickly spins the record back slightly in order to repeat the phrase as many times as desired.  Not only did Grand Wizard Theodore pick up on the new techniques that Flash taught him he would develop one of his own. While

practicing his skills one day he realized that moving the record back and forth while it was playing produced an interesting sound. He incorporated this sound into his stage show and it became a hit.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, it was Grand Theodore Wizard who invented the scratch.  Since then, other techniques, like orbits and flares, have been developed by other individuals, like the Invisibl Skratch Picklz.

Grand Wizard Theodore

Kool Herc and Grand Wizard Theodore Interview