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 48)
The Bronx, New York City, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) DJ, producer, singer, rapper, actor, musician, television show host
Instruments Turntable, sampler
Years active 1987–present
Labels Loud/RCA/BMG Records
Def Jam/IDJMG/Universal Records
E1/Koch Records
Website Funkmasterflex.com, 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. In 1992, he became host of the first hip hop radio show in New York, on Hot 97, which was a pop radio station at the time.[2]

Radio[edit]

Aston Taylor Jr. was born in the Bronx borough of New York City to sound system professional and DJ Aston George Taylor Sr.[3] At age 16, he began DJing at local nightclubs.[3] At 19, he began working with fellow Bronx native Chuck Chillout for WRKS 98.7 Kiss-FM in New York. He later left KISS, and spent a brief period at 107.5 WBLS-FM.[4]

In the early 1990s, Flex made club appearances at many of Vito Bruno's operated nightclubs. Bruno later convinced Joel Salkowitz, a regional vice president of Hot 97, to begin airing live broadcasts from clubs where he was performing. When they realized the resurgence of Hip Hop was coming fast from its fallout in the eighties, they increased the hours of this urban radio programming.[2] Due to the success of that programming, in the spring of 1992 Funkmaster Flex began mixing and hosting his own show, a specialized rap program on Hot 97. With this, Hot 97 became the first pop station in New York to showcase rap. Flex has been with Hot 97 ever since, and currently airs nationally through syndication during weeknights and weekends.[2] He is well known for his signature "bomb drop" sound effect over records.

Website[edit]

On August 3, 2010, Flex launched[5] his news website InFlexWeTrust.com. He makes the audio, video and mp3's of artist freestyles from his show "exclusively" available on the site. The site also posts entertainment news, music, cars, models, sports and technology. It joined[6] the Complex media network in September 2012, and has been mentioned in songs, including Fabolous' "So NY."

Controversy[edit]

Due to comments made by Funkmaster Flex regarding the late Tupac 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 Tupac's stepbrother Mopreme Shakur.

In 2011, Flex was arrested for allegedly pushing his wife Monica Joseph-Taylor and sending her threatening texts.[7]

As of 2014, Flex is battling his ex-girlfriend Haydee Diaz in court over child support for their son Dante.[8]

In 2012, Flex had a feud with rival NYC hip-hop radio station Power 105.1 and their radio personalities, including DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God.[9]

In 2015, a petition was started online to get Funkmaster Flex to step down from hosting his radio program on NYC's Hot 97.[10] Flex promised through a series of social media post that he would air an exclusive premiere of Meek Mill's answer diss track to rapper Drake's "Charged Up" in the midst of their feud.[11] During the actual broadcast on Monday, July 27, Flex told listeners that he had reference tracks that would "expose" Drake's usage of a ghostwriter.[12] However, after many spins of Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen", Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money", and songs off of Future's DS2, listeners started to become enraged, inciting that they felt duped. [13][14]

Music production[edit]

By the mid-1990s, Flex was signed by a major record label, Loud Records, for a series of mixtapes entitled 60 Minutes of Funk. All four were certified gold by the RIAA in the US.[4] In 1995 he formed The Flip Squad along with seven of New York City's most respected disc jockeys, including 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. In 1999, he released The Tunnel with Def Jam, which included songs by artists Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Eminem, LL Cool J, DJ Myth , Method Man, DMX, Nas, and Snoop Dogg.[4] Other acts he has worked with include Yvette Michele, Pras, DJ Kool, Armand Van Helden[15]

Television[edit]

Funkmaster Flex first appeared on television in the early nineties on Yo! MTV Raps hosted by Fab 5 Freddy, DJ Myth, Ed Lover and Doctor Dré.[16][17] He later did various hip-hop and automobile spots for MTV.

In 2003, Flex debuted his first television series, Ride with Funkmaster Flex on the Spike cable network.[18] The show documented the subculture of cars popular in hip hop culture. Noteworthy moments in the series included a look into Diddy's private jet and a visit to Eminem's studio.[18][19]

Flex later developed a one-off Spike TV show race event – The Funkmaster Flex Super Series Invitational.[20] The race featured 60 late-model stock car drivers at The Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut.[20] Celebrities like Orange County Choppers, LL Cool J and Lil' Kim were brought out to watch the event.[20]

ESPN noticed Ride with Funkmaster Flex and decided to create a show with Flex focusing on custom cars and interviewing athletes from the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. Guests included Danica Patrick, Terrell Owens and Jason Giambi. The show was called All Muscle with Funkmaster Flex and began airing early 2007.[21]

Later in 2007, a second show called Car Wars with Funkmaster Flex premiered on ESPN.[22] Car Wars asked different car customizers to modify existing vehicles for cash prizes. If featured automotive designers such as Patrick Schiavone, former Ford North American Truck & SUV Design Director and currently Vice President of Design at Whirlpool, Ford Explorer Exterior Design Manager Melvin Betancourt and Louis D'erasmo of Valanca Auto Concepts.[23]

For Fast Machines with Funkmaster Flex, Flex returned to Spike TV to focus on making muscle and modern car customization for celebrities. Examples included a 1955 Chevy Bel Air for Dale Earnhardt Jr., a 1966 Pontiac GTO for Pontiac Enthusiast Magazine and a 1970 Chevy Chevelle for the U.S. Marines. It also featured an interview with Royal Purple race driver Kathryn Minter.[24]

In 2010, Flex returned to MTV with a new show – Funk Flex Full Throttle. The show featured Flex interviewing hip-hop artists and customizing cars; either on location at Spring Break, the New York Auto Show or in his 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.[25]

In 2014, Funkmaster Flex appeared on VH1 as part of the reality show This Is Hot 97.

Car Show Tour[edit]

Taylor developed and promotes an annual eight-city Funkmaster Flex Custom Car & Bike Show Tour. It has had featured artists such as Drake, Nicki Minaj and Fabolous. Each stop showcases customized cars in competition for cash prizes and model and recording talent search. In 2010, he added the Funkmaster Flex Lifestyle Expo which included sneaker and DJ battles, video game competitions, skateboard demos.[26]

He also displays some of his personal collection of roughly 40 muscle cars at each stop of the tour.[27]

Auto design[edit]

An FMF tenth-generation Ford F-150.

In 2005, Ford Motor Company opened its Dearborn design studio doors to Taylor to look at how to customize its product line-up and add exposure to the brand. He has since customized several models for Ford.[28]

Video games[edit]

Flex is a featured DJ on The Beat 102.7 in Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony.[29]

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.[30]

Flex was an unlockable character and in-game narrator in Def Jam Vendetta.

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jason Birchmeier (1968-08-05). "Funkmaster Flex | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  2. ^ a b c Charnas, Dan (2010). The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, ISBN 978-1-101-44582-2
  3. ^ a b "Vibe". Books.google.com. p. 88. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  4. ^ a b c Shapiro, Peter (2005) The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop, Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-263-8, p.149-150
  5. ^ "Funkmaster Flex Interviews Lil Wayne Live From Rikers". In Flex We Trust. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  6. ^ Martin, Andrew. "InFlexWeTrust.com Joins The Complex Media Network". Complex. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  7. ^ "NY Daily News". Nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  8. ^ "NY Post". Nypost.com. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  9. ^ "The Urban Daily". Theurbandaily.com. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  10. ^ Goddard, Kevin (2015-07-27). "Online Petition Started To Force Funkmaster Flex To Resign From Hot 97". Hotnewhiphop.com. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  11. ^ "Petition Started To Force Funkmaster Flex To Resign From Hot 97". Hip-Hop Wired. 2015-07-27. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  12. ^ "Meek Mill Doesn't Show Up On Funkmaster Flex To Address Drake". News.hiphopearly.com. 2015-07-27. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  13. ^ Davis, Justin. "Someone Started a Petition To Force Funkmaster Flex To Step Down From Hot 97". Complex.com. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  14. ^ "Someone Started An Online Petition To Remove Funkmaster Flex From Hot 97". Vibe.com. 2015-07-28. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  15. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20110707165642/http://www.artistopia.com/funkmaster-flex/music. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Funkmaster Flex – Interview @ Yo MTV Raps 1995 (HQ)". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  17. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20110724030638/http://www.realtelevision.net/2010/04/29/funk-flex-full-throttle/. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ a b "Funkmaster Flex Rides Back for Season II on Spike TV - re> NEW YORK, April 15 /PRNewswire/". Prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  19. ^ "Eminem shows his GM truck to FunkMaster Flex". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  20. ^ a b c Poniewozik, James. "Arts - Television - The New York Times". Tv.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "Funkmaster Flex Returns in Car Wars". The Car Connection. 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  23. ^ "Car Wars with Funkmaster Flex Bstroll Rap Freestyle". YouTube. June 14, 2008. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  24. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20101028172415/http://www.spike.com/show/31298. Archived from the original on October 28, 2010. Retrieved February 15, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ "Original TV Shows, Reality TV Shows". MTV. 2016-02-09. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  26. ^ Johnson, Mitchell."Royal Purple Lubricants Taps DJ Funkmaster Flex to Showcase Its Latest Performance Products" PR Newswire. March 8, 2010
  27. ^ "Funkmaster Flex's Classic and Muscle Cars - My Garage - Motor Trend Classic". Motortrend.com. 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2016-02-26. 
  28. ^ Mitchell C. Johnson."FORD FUSION AND F-150 TO RIDE FUNKMASTER FLEX STYLE" Ford Media. May 12, 2005
  29. ^ GTA.net."Beat 102.7" GTA.net. 2010
  30. ^ Zawada, Chris."ESPN NFL 2K5" GamesRadar.com July 27, 2004