Happy Birthday, Grandmaster Caz!
Today, April 18, is Grandmaster Caz's 57th birthday. The hip-hop legend was born in 1961 in the Bronx and grew up along with Kool Herc's parties in the '70s. He witnessed his first Herc party in 1974, and soon after he adopted the name Casanova Fly, teaming up with DJ Disco Wiz to form Mighty Force and JDL (Jerry Dee Lewis) to form the Notorious Two.
In the late 1970s, Caz joined the Cold Crush Brothers, and though he was one of the first in hip-hop to both MC and DJ at the same time, he became a full-time MC when he got with the crew. Unfortunately, he didn't get credit for the biggest hit song he was a part of.
In 1979, Sugarhill Gang released "Rapper's Delight," a song most people believe to be the first rap song ever officially released ("King Tim III" is more like it). On it, group member Big Bank Hank spits, "Check it out, I'm the C-A-S-AN, the O-V-A and the rest is F-L-Y / You see, I go by the code of the doctor of the mix and these reasons I'll tell you why." It's pretty obvious from the jump who wrote it, but Caz never got credit despite Hank coming to him before the song's release and asking to crib his bars. In a sense, ghostwriting started with the "first" rap song ever nationally released.
Nonetheless, the Cold Crush Brothers enjoyed fame in and out of hip-hop, landing roles in the 1983 movie Wild Style alongside their rivals Grand Wizard Theodore and the Fantastic Five. Caz himself extended his career into the '80s with a solo career. On March 6, 2018, he was named a founding member of the Kennedy Center's Hip-Hop Culture Council along with LL Cool J, Questlove, Bobbito Garcia, Common, Fab 5 Freddy and more.
To this day he's a pioneer in hip-hop. Happy Birthday, Caz!
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