Grandmaster Flash
The Bridge: Concept of a Culture
(Adrenaline Entertainment/Strut)


In 1979, Grandmaster Flash revolutionized music as one of the forefathers of hip-hop, said Steve Jones in USA Today. On his first album in more than 20 years, the legendary turntablist connects “the dots between rap then and now.” For the most part, The Bridge: Concept of a Culture bridges the gap with flair. Drawing on a little help from “old-school stalwarts” such as Q-Tip and Big Daddy Kane, the 51-year-old surveys the evolution of rap, from floor-stoppers (“Tribute to the Breakdancer”) to today’s glossy, synth-laden sounds (“Unpredictable”). Both “history lesson and hip-shaker,” the album suggests how far the genre has come “without getting mired in the past.” Yet it claims no new ground, either, said Killian Fox in the London Observer. Often The Bridge “merely echoes past greatness.” Grandmaster Flash has put together a “worthy project, executed with energy and good humor,” but it sounds perfunctory coming from one of the first hip-hop artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.