The Quick Mix Theory

New York is home to the birth of Hip-Hop, and in the late 70s, it was also home to several artists and innovators working diligently to create the tools of the craft. One of the most renowned pioneers of Hip-Hop, Grandmaster Flash, used 70s disco records to create the party sound that would drive the genre into popularity.

Emerging from the disco era, Grandmaster Flash and other 70s DJs found that by isolating the drum breaks of popular diso records, an isolated drum solo that lasted from approximately 10 to 15 seconds and looping the break to create a steady, rhythmic beast for MCs to rap over and people to dance to.

Before laptops and computer found their way into the DJing, Flash developed a way to continuously loop a drum break live called the Quick Mix Theory. Using this theory, Flash would use two vinyls of the same record, find the drum break on one vinyl while simultaneously searching for the break on the other record and timing the second record to play the break as soon as the first finished. Using this method required Flash to simultaneously exist in two realms at the same time while creating a seamless sound and atmosphere for the crowd.

To create this method Flash had to break a lot of rules commonly followed by Djs of the time. For example, to remember the exact point where a break would begin, Flash would mark the vinyl itself to remember the exact placement. Moreover, touching a vinyl record on its face was considered sacrilege at the time; however, Flash pioneered the common practice of putting his hands on the record to spin and scratch. The Quick Mix Theory created the sound Hip Hop became known for and has informed the tradition of sampling in Hip Hop that continues today.

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