Funkmaster Flex

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Funkmaster Flex
Birth name Aston George Taylor, Jr.
Also known as Flex, Funk Flex
Born (1968-08-05) August 5, 1968 (age 45)
The Bronx, New York City, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupations DJ, producer singer, rapper, musician, host
Instruments Turntable, sampler
Years active 1987–present
Labels Loud/RCA/BMG Records
Def Jam/IDJMG/Universal Records
E1/Koch Records
Website www.funkmasterflex.com, www.inflexwetrust.com,

Aston George Taylor, Jr.[1] (born August 5, 1968)[1] better known as Funkmaster Flex is an American hip hop DJ, rapper, musician and producer on New York City's Hot 97 radio station (http://www.hot97.com).

Music[edit]

Funkmaster Flex was born in the Bronx borough of New York City to father Aston George Taylor Sr., a sound system DJ for local clubs throughout the city.[2] By 16, Flex began DJing at local nightclubs, perfecting his mixing and turntable talents.[2] At 19, he got his first job as a record boy for fellow Bronx native, Chuck Chillout for WRKS 98.7 Kiss-FM in New York. One evening, Chillout was late for his show and Funkmaster Flex got his big break and was allowed to stand in, thus beginning his career in radio.[3]

He later left KISS for a brief stay at 107.5 WBLS-FM. Flex continued his club appearances at many of Vito Bruno's operated nightclubs including The Tunnel, Home Bass and Mecca. Bruno helped convince Joel Salkowitz, a regional vice president of Hot 97, to begin airing live broadcasts from clubs where Flex was performing like The Tunnel. He called the hours of Saturday evening programming the "Saturday Night House Party". When they realized the resurgence of Hip Hop was coming fast from its fallout in the eighties they increased the hours and days of these style of shows.[4] Salkowitz went and saw Funkmaster Flex perform and work the crowd at the Home Bass. After that night, he was convinced that Flex was his man and in the spring of 1992, Funkmaster Flex began mixing and hosting his own show, a specialized rap show on Hot 97. With that, it became the first pop station in New York to showcase rap. Flex has been with Hot 97 ever since and aired nationally through syndication throughout the weeknights and weekends.[4] In 1995 The Flip Squad was born, consisting of eight of New York City's most respected DJs—Funkmaster Flex, Biz Markie, "BounceMasta" Doo Wop, Big Kap, DJ Enuff, Mister Cee, Frankie Cutlass, DJ Riz, Cipha Sounds and Mark Ronson. Their self-titled debut LP was released on MCA in late 1998.

Website[edit]

On August 3, 2010, Flex launched[5] his blog InFlexWeTrust.com, being the first media outlet to get Lil Wayne on the phone during his Rikers bid. Aired on his Hot 97 radio show, he simultaneously posted the audio on his blog, garnering a decent amount of web traffic and awareness of his new presence on the web. Since then, Flex has used the same formula for all of his Hot 97 interviews, making the audio, video and mp3's of artist freestyles "exclusively" available on his blog. They also post stories of entertainment news, new music, cars, models, sports and technology. The site joined[6] the Complex media network in September, 2012. As of October of 2012, the site is in the top[7] 5000 sites in the U.S., garnering over one million unique users a month. It has also become a part of pop culture, with various artists mentioning the site in their songs, including Fabolous' "So NY."

Mobile[edit]

In April 2013, Flex launched the official DJ Funk Flex App, available for iOS and Google Play.[8][9] The DJ Funk Flex App was the exclusive way to listen to Flex's latest mixtape, “Who You Mad At? Me Or Yourself?”, which featured 40 songs from hip hop’s biggest artists including Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown, Meek Mill, French Montana, A$AP Rocky and more. The DJ Funk Flex App includes MC instrumentals from Hip Hop’s top producers such as Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Pharell, Hit Boy, and DJ Mustard, with the hottest beats for up-and-coming artists to rhyme over. Fans can access all of Flex's freestyles from the past and present. As soon as Flex drops a song on the air, owners of the app are able to hear it from anywhere on their smartphones, along with daily breaking news alerts and music updates.[10]

Feuds[edit]

Due to unsavory comments made by Funkmaster Flex regarding the late 2pac Shakur at a concert, the Outlawz released a Funkmaster Flex diss song titled 'warning shots'. This was followed up by response songs from Nutt-so Outlaw, Rapology as well as 2pac's half brother Mopreme Shakur.

Production[edit]

By the mid-1990s, Flex was signed by a major record label, Loud Records, for a series of innovative 60 Minutes of Funk mixtapes. All four of them achieved gold status in the US.[3] On The Tunnel with Def Jam in 1999, Flex managed to get some of the biggest names in hip hop to contribute, including Dr. Dre, Nas, Jay-Z, DMX, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Method Man and DJ Myth to participate.[3]

He currently continues to be a prolific producer with a solid list of albums and artist he has supported over the years including Yvette Michele, Pras, DJ Kool, Armand Van Helden and many others.[11]

Television[edit]

Flex first started appearing on television in the early nineties on Yo! MTV Raps hosted by Fab 5 Freddy, DJ Myth, Ed Lover and Doctor Dré.[12][13] Soon, MTV began to ask Flex to do various spots on up and coming Hip Hop artists and his true passion for cars and trickin' out their celebrity rides.

In 2003, Flex debuted his first television series, Ride with Funkmaster Flex on the Spike cable network.[14] The show documented the explosive subculture of cars that are popular in the Hip Hop culture and with Hollywood celebrities. Noteworthy moments in series included a look into Diddy's private jet and a visit to Eminem's studio in the Motor City and look at his hot GMC Yukon.[14][15]

Soon after Ride's success, Flex wanted to explore his passion for car racing and developed a unique way to get it done with a new one-off Spike TV show race event - The Funkmaster Flex Super Series Invitational.[16] The race featured 60 hungry late model stock car drivers from across the country turning laps at The Waterford Speedbowl in Conn.[16] Flex went behind the scene to see what it takes to become a winner in racing while bringing out celebrities like Orange County Choppers, LL Cool J and Lil' Kim to watch the event.[16] Monica Taylor Enterprise - Rare Footage of Super Series

ESPN noticed Ride with Funkmaster Flex and decided they wanted a show to help them reach more automotive enthusiast who watched racing, NASCAR and sports. They developed a show with Flex focusing on custom cars and interviewing leading sports celebrities from the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball and the world of Hip-Hop including Danica Patrick, Terrell Owens and Jason Giambi. The show was called All Muscle with Funkmaster Flex and began airing early 2007.[17]

Later in 2007, Flex shifted his focus to influencing automotive design. Based on what he was witnessing at the competitions at his various Custom Car & Bike Show tour events, he decided he wanted to push the envelope with these amateur designers with a new show - Car Wars with Funkmaster Flex on ESPN.[18] With initial sponsorship from Castrol and later Ford Motor Company, Car Wars asked different car customizers from across the country to modify existing vehicles for cash prizes. The show developed lots of noteworthy designed Ford Expeditions, Ford Fusions and other vehicles. If featured famed automotive designers like Patrick Schiavone, former Ford North American Truck & SUV Design Director now Vice President of Design at Whirlpool and Ford Explorer Exterior Design Manager, Melvin Betancourt and Louis D'erasmo of Valanca Auto Concepts.[19]

For Fast Machines with Funkmaster Flex, Flex returned to Spike TV and his customization roots once again focusing on making some exciting muscle and modern car customization for celebrities like a 1955 Chevy Bel Air for Dale Earnhardt Jr., a 1966 Pontiac GTO for Pontiac Enthusiast Magazine, 1970 Chevy Chevelle for the U.S. Marines. It also featured an interview with Royal Purple race driver Kathryn Minter.[20]

In 2010, Flex returned to his MTV roots with a new show - Funk Flex Full Throttle. Flex was back doing what he does best: interview the most buzzed-about hip-hop artists - with his signature raucous, familiar style - and complete car customizations that have made him a legend in the automotive world; either on location at Spring Break, the New York Auto Show or hanging in his tricked-out garage. Full Throttle also integrated reality elements as Flex directed his team of car customizers at various builds and allowed viewers inside the lifestyle of Hip-Hop stars - be it clubbing with Diddy, or helping Swizz Beatz select a top-of-the-line dream ride.[21]

Funk Flex - On the Road[edit]

Flex developed and promotes an annual eight-city Funkmaster Flex Custom Car & Bike Show Tour, bringing the most exclusive and expensive candy colored rides to fans in cities from Miami to Atlantic City.

The tour moves across the country and has featured artists such as Drake, Nicki Minaj and Fabolous. Each stop showcases the hottest customized rides in competition for cash prizes, model and recording talent search. In 2010, Flex added the Funkmaster Flex Lifestyle Expo. The Expo featured sneaker and DJ battles, video game competitions, skateboard demos along with discounted prices on the hottest shoes, fitted hats and underground gear.[22]

The Tour also showcases the premiere show for sneaker enthusiasts and Street Wear Culture, "The International Sneaker Battle." The Battle brings together sneaker enthusiasts and everyone involved in the culture of Hip Hop, graffiti, DJing, sneakers, clothing, art, and overall fashion.

Flex also loves to show off his personal collection of muscle cars at each stop. He has amassed over 40 cars in his collections. Here are his favorites.[23]

1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass - A car his father once owned and started his passion for American muscle cars.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T - The first muscle car he ever purchased, even though he admits he isn't really a Mopar fan.

1970 Chevy Chevelle SS 502 - Flex's favorite and the one car he will never part with.

1967 Ford Galaxie G-Machine - One Flex's favorite Ford products.

Auto design - Flex style[edit]

An FMF tenth-generation Ford F-150.

In 2005, Ford Motor Company opened its Dearborn design studio doors to Funkmaster Flex to look at how to customize its product line-up and add exposure to the brand. To date, Flex has worked on a lot of innovative projects for Ford.[24]

2006 Ford Fusion - Flex is named the first customizer to transform the Fusion for the street.[24]

2008 Ford Expedition Funkmaster Flex Edition - Flex follows his idol Carroll Shelby and is given the opportunity to have a limited edition Expedition with unique design cues with his name on it. The car is revealed for the first time at the New York Auto Show.[25]

2009 Ford Flex - Flex reveals his version of the new crossover at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) alongside Hip Hop artist Nelly.[26]

2010 Ford Taurus SHO - Flex tricks out the iconic Taurus for 2009 SEMA show.[27]

2010 Ford Explorer - Flex tricks out the all-new redesigned Explorer for the 2010 SEMA show.[28]

2011 Ford Fiesta - A contest to win an all-new 2011 Ford Fiesta receives over a quarter of a million entries on FordUrban.com[29]

Video games[edit]

Flex is a featured DJ on The Beat 102.7 in the 2008 Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony.[30]

He is a celebrity adversary and an unlockable free agent fullback in season mode of ESPN NFL 2K5. He also has an unlockable team, the Baurtwell Funkmasters.[31]

Flex was an unlockable character in Def Jam Vendetta. In that game, he was the in-game narrator of almost all fights, except in After Hours matches, which don't have narrating.

Flex's music is featured in his own game – Funkmaster Flex's Digital Hitz Factory.[32]

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Funkmaster Flex at allmusic.com
  2. ^ a b Ex, Christian. "Funkmaster Flex Return of the Master." Vibe Mar. 1997
  3. ^ a b c Shapiro, Peter (2005) The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop, Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-263-8, p.149-150
  4. ^ a b Charnas, Dan (2010). The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, ISBN 978-1-101-44582-2
  5. ^ "Funkmaster Flex Interviews Lil Wayne Live From Rikers". Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "InFlexWeTrust.com Joins The Complex Media Network". 
  7. ^ "InFlexWeTrust Alexa rankings". 
  8. ^ "Apple Store". 
  9. ^ "Google Play". 
  10. ^ "Funkmaster Flex Teams With Loud Digital for Mixtape and App". 
  11. ^ Artistopia. "Funkmaster Flex - Music." Artistopia 2011
  12. ^ "Funkmaster Flex - Interview @ Yo MTV Raps 1995 (HQ)". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  13. ^ Realtelevision.net. "Funkmaster Flex - Bio."
  14. ^ a b Spike TV. "Funkmaster Flex Rides Back for Season II on Spike TV." PR Newswire Apr. 15, 2003 [1]
  15. ^ "Eminem shows his GM truck to FunkMaster Flex". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  16. ^ a b c New York Times Television Section. "Funkmaster Flex Super Series - TV Special." New York Times July 1, 2004 [2]
  17. ^ Blades, Nicole. "Muscle Man - Celebs and jocks roll with DJ Funkmaster Flex when they want their own wheels of steel" ESPN The Magazine July. 2007.
  18. ^ High Gear Media Staff. "Funkmaster Flex Returns in Car Wars" The Car Connection May 17, 2007 [3]
  19. ^ "Car Wars with Funkmaster Flex Bstroll Rap Freestyle". YouTube. 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  20. ^ Weprin, Alex."Funkmaster Flex Returning to Spike TV" Broadcasting and Cable Jan. 27, 2009 [4]
  21. ^ Mancini, Elan."Funkmaster Flex Parks New Car Show in MTV2's Lot" XXL Magazine, Mar. 22, 2010 [5]
  22. ^ Johnson, Mitchell."Royal Purple Lubricants Taps DJ Funkmaster Flex to Showcase Its Latest Performance Products" PR Newswire. Mar. 8, 2010
  23. ^ Editors of Motor Trend."My Garage: Funkmaster Flex" Motor Trend. Jan. 2006 [6]
  24. ^ a b Mitchell C. Johnson."FORD FUSION AND F-150 TO RIDE FUNKMASTER FLEX STYLE" Ford Media. May 12, 2005
  25. ^ Mitchell C. Johnson."Ford and Funkmaster Flex Muscle In Hot New Expedition"
  26. ^ Ford Media."Nelly Flex Unveiled at SEMA Show" Ford Media. Nov. 4 2008
  27. ^ Ford Media."CELEBRITY DJ AND CUSTOMIZING LEGEND FUNKMASTER FLEX TRICKS OUT 2010 TAURUS SHO FOR SEMA" Ford Media. Nov. 3, 2009
  28. ^ Ford Media."Meet the Three Faces of Ford Explorer" Ford Media. Oct. 14 2010
  29. ^ Ford Media."FORD FIESTA KNOWS HIP-HOP, CELEBRITY CUSTOMIZER FUNKMASTER FLEX TRICKS OUT FORD'S NEWEST SMALL CAR." Ford Media. Apr. 29, 2010.
  30. ^ GTA.net."Beat 102.7" GTA.net. 2010
  31. ^ Zawada, Chris."ESPN NFL 2K5" GamesRadar.com Jul. 27, 2004
  32. ^ TeamXBox.com Editors."Funkmaster Flex's Digital Hitz Factory" TeamXBox.com 2010

External links[edit]