Grand Wizzard Theodore

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Grand Wizzard Theodore
Grand wizzard theodore.JPG
Theodore doing his famous "needle drop" at the Experience Music Project in Seattle 2002
Background information
Birth name Theodore Livingston
Born (1963-03-05) March 5, 1963 (age 55)
Bronx, New York United States
Occupation(s) Musician, DJ
Associated acts Grandwizard 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 achieved renown for his mastery of needle drops and other techniques which he invented or perfected.

Early life

Born in Bronx, New York, Theodore's brother, Mean Gene, was his mentor, and began to teach him the technique of DJing during his childhood years. 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. At this point he 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 since used the technique.


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.[3] 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. ^

External links

  • "Grand Wizard Theodore on Peter Rosenberg's "Juan Epstein" podcast". November 4, 2014. Archived from the original on December 15, 2014. 
  • DJ Grand Wizzard Theodore Interview - NAMM Oral History Library (2012)

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