Grandmaster Flash praises Drake’s versatility and authenticity in hip-hop

The legendary DJ Breaks Down why Drizzy’s “different styles” make him a superstar

Primary Wave's 17th Annual Pre-Grammy Party
Primary Wave's 17th Annual Pre-Grammy Party / Jon Kopaloff/GettyImages
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Grandmaster Flash, the iconic DJ and pioneer of hip hop, has stepped into the ongoing debate over Drake’s authenticity as a hip hop artist. During a candid conversation on the 2024 Grammy Awards’ red carpet, Flash not only co-signed Drizzy but also delved into why his versatility sets him apart.

The kaleidoscope of Drake’s music

"“What I admire about Drake,” Grandmaster Flash began, “is that he’ll rap on all different styles of beats.” As someone who witnessed the early days of hip hop firsthand, Flash reminisced, “Back in the day, when I was DJing and cutting, a rapper would step up to the mic, and guess what? They’d rhyme over whatever beat I played!”"

"Flash’s eyes sparkled with nostalgia as he continued, Sometimes, the beat was jazz; other times, it was pop, rock, blues, R&B, or even disco. Drake, my man, he’s doing the same thing! His kaleidoscope of music styles is absolutely excellent. And that’s why he’s a megastar."

The Yasiin Bey controversy

The discussion around Drake’s place in hip hop escalated when Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) labeled Drake’s music as “pop” in a recent interview. Bey playfully quipped that some of Drake’s tracks felt like the perfect backdrop for shopping at Target in Houston. But he also acknowledged that Drake’s music was undeniably “likeable.”

However, Grandmaster Flash isn’t one to shy away from expressing his opinions. He emphasized, “Drake is a genius.” Comparing him to the late Prince, Flash praised Drake’s daring approach to music. “He’s probably the only rapper,” Flash asserted, “daring enough to rap on a trap beat, a disco beat, and even a ballad beat. It’s like a Prince formula.”

Beyond the dance floor

Flash’s admiration for Drake extends beyond the beats. At last year’s Grammy Awards, he likened Drake’s fearlessness to that of Prince. “He’s the only one,” Flash declared, “who’s willing to explore different musical territories. Whether it’s trap, disco, or a slow jam, Drake dives in fearlessly.”

But what about the deeper connection? Yasiin Bey challenged artists to go beyond the jukebox and dance floor. “A fair-weather friend can hardly be called a friend at all,” Bey mused. “Will they show up for you when you’re at the triage?” He urged creators to connect on a more profound level.

Grandmaster Flash’s endorsement of Drake’s artistry reinforces the Canadian superstar’s impact on hip hop. His ability to seamlessly blend genres and adapt to diverse beats cements his place in the pantheon of rap legends. So, next time you hear Drake’s voice, remember that it’s not just music—it’s a kaleidoscope of styles that transcends boundaries.

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