Grand Wizzard Theodore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Grand Wizard Theodore)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Grand Wizzard Theodore
Grand wizzard theodore.JPG
Theodore doing his famous "needle drop" at the Experience Music Project in Seattle 2002
Background information
Birth nameTheodore Livingston
Born (1963-03-05) March 5, 1963 (age 56)
Bronx, New York United States
Occupation(s)Musician, DJ
Associated actsGrandwizard Theodore & the Fantastic Five

Theodore Livingston (born March 5, 1963), better known as Grand Wizzard Theodore, is an American hip hop DJ. He is widely credited as the inventor of the scratching technique.[1][2] In addition to scratching, he gained credibility for his mastery of needle drops and other techniques which he invented or perfected.

Early life[edit]

Born in the Bronx, New York, Theodore's brother, Mean Gene, was his mentor, who began teaching him the technique of DJing at an early age. Theodore also apprenticed under Grandmaster Flash.[2]

Though variants of the story exist, it is generally accepted that Grand Wizzard Theodore was playing records at a high volume in his bedroom. Fed up with the noise, his mother entered and ordered him to turn the music down. He then looked away from the turntable to face her. While his mother lectured him, he continued slowly moving the record back and forth, which produced a sound all its own. When she left the room he was intrigued by the sound the vinyl made when manipulated in this fashion. After months of experimentation, he introduced this technique at a party and thus scratching was born. Many forms of popular music have used the technique.

A dramatization of Theodore’s invention of the record scratch was featured on Comedy Central’s television show “Drunk History”, narrated by Questlove. [3]


In the early 1980s, Theodore was a part of the group Grandwizard Theodore & the Fantastic Five. They released "Can I Get a Soul Clap" in 1982.[4] He was also featured in the 1983 film Wild Style, as well as contributing to the film's soundtrack. He explains the origin of the scratch in the documentary, Scratch.[2]

GrandWizzard Theodore at BelTek Festival in Belmont, Maine, 2009


Theodore's phrase "Say turn it up" from his track "Fantastic Freaks at the Dixie" was sampled by hip hop and rap acts such as Public Enemy (on the track "Bring the Noise"), Bomb the Bass (on the track "Megablast") and many others.


  1. ^ David Dye (February 22, 2007). "NPR: The Birth of Rap: A Look Back". NPR.
  2. ^ a b c Steve Huey. "Grand Wizard Theodore". Allmusic. Archived from the original on June 3, 2009.
  3. ^ ""Drunk History" Game Changers (TV Episode 2018)".
  4. ^ "Grand Wizard Theodore, the Fantastic Romatic Five* - Can I Get a Soul Clapp "Fresh Out the Pack"".

External links[edit]