Funkmaster Flex

Funkmaster Flex
Funkmaster Flex
Birth name Aston George Taylor, Jr.
Also known as Flex, Funk Flex
Born August 5, 1968 (1968-08-05) (age 43)
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Origin The Bronx, New York
Genres Hip hop, R&B
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, www.funkflex.tv

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 and host of the hit MTV show Funk Flex Full Throttle.

Contents

About Funkmaster Flex

A New York City native, Funkmaster Flex[2] is synonymous with Hip Hop. For over a decade, he has reigned as America's No. 1 Hip Hop DJ personality, reaching more than two million listeners a week through his popular radio show on WQHT Hot 97 in New York.[3] His turntable production talents and artist relationships have earned him five gold records for major-label mix albums like the 60 Minutes of Funk and The Tunnel.[4]

Funkmaster Flex has successfully connected his Hip Hop celebrity status to the automotive industry to become a evangelist of car customization culture.[5] He uses television to showcase his passion for cars. Currently, he is excited to be working on his second season of his new show Funk Flex Full Throttle[6] - a high-adrenaline tour of music and car culture, the ultimate ride for fans who love to live in the fast lane on MTV with celebrities like Diddy and Ludacris.[7]

His eight-city Funkmaster Flex Custom Car and Bike Show tour keeps him constantly connected with the latest trends and styles happening in the automotive industry.[3] He then puts this knowledge to good use with his high-profile custom-car club, Team Baurtwell where he customizes cars for attention-grabbing personalities in film, music and professional sports including Danica Patrick, 50 Cent, Queen Latifah, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Manny Ramirez.[3]

Various companies including Ford Motor Company, Sony and Microsoft have noticed Flex's success and have supported his career with several marketing/endorsements deals over the years. The high-point of these relationships was the creation of the limited-production 2008 Ford Expedition Funkmaster Flex Edition which sold in dealerships nationwide.[8] Currently, he is working with Flowmaster Exhaust, Royal Purple, Dupli-Color, Kicker Audio, Lincoln Technical Institute, U.S. Marines, TCI Transmissions, Sony and Ford.[9]

Music

Funkmaster Flex (Aston George Taylor Jr.) was born in the Bronx borough of New York City with music flowing through his veins thanks to his father Aston George Taylor Sr., a sound system DJ for local clubs throughout the city.[10] By 16, Flex began DJing at local nightclubs a perfecting his mixing and turntable talents.[10] 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.[11]

He later left KISS for a brief stay at 107.5 WBLS-FM, meanwhile Flex kept up 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 resurange of Hip Hop was coming fast from its fallout in the eighties they increase the hours and days of these style of shows.[12]

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. 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.[12]

Production - The Business of Making Music

By the mid-ninedies, 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 USA.[11] 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 50 Cent to participate.[11]

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.[13]

Television

Flex first started appearing on television in the early nineties on Yo! MTV Raps hosted by Fab 5 Freddy, Ed Lover and Doctor Dré.[12][14] 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.[15] 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.[15][13]

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. Flex came a calling with a show 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.[14]

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 a fantastic interview with Royal Purple race driver Kathryn Minter.[19]

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. Whether Flex was on location at Spring Break, the New York Auto Show or hanging in his tricked-out garage the show was exciting. 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.[20]

Stay tuned for the second season of Full Throttle and a potential new Hip Hop lifestyle series from Flex in the future.

Funk Flex - On The Road - A Lifestyle

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.[21]

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.[22]

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 purchase, 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

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 lot of innovative projects for Ford.[23]

2006 Ford Fusion - Flex is named the first customizer to transform the Fusion for the street.[23]

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.[24]

2009 Ford Flex - Flex reveals his version of the new crossover at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) along side Hip Hop artist Nelly.[25]

2010 Ford Taurus SHO - Flex tricks out the iconic Taurus for 2009 SEMA show.[26]

2010 Ford Explorer - Flex tricks out the all-new redesigned Explorer for the 2010 SEMA show.[27]

2011 Ford Fiesta - A contest to win an all-new 2011 Ford Fiesta receives over a quarter of a million entries on FordUrban.com[28]

Video Games

Flex is a featured DJ on The Beat 102.7 in the 2008 Grand Theft Auto IV - The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony.[29]

He is a celebrity adversary and a 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 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.[31]

Controversy

Tupac Shakur

On November 22, 2010, Funkmaster Flex was caught in a small controversy when a video recorded earlier in 2010 in New York leaked on YouTube showing him saying negative things about rapper Tupac Shakur on stage and referencing that The Notorious B.I.G. was a better artist.[32] He has gotten response from people such as Outlawz,[33][34] Nutt-So,[35] Crooked I,[36] and Tupac's stepbrother Mopreme Shakur[37] Flex justified his actions by saying that Tupac was a divisive force in hip hop and criticising the long lasting effect of Tupac's negative energy. He also claimed that he respected Tupac's musical legacy but there was documented animosity between the two stretching back to the days when Tupac was still alive.[38]

Discography

  • The Mix Tape, Vol. 1 (1995)
  • The Mix Tape, Vol. II (1997)
  • The Mix Tape, Vol. III (1998)
  • The Tunnel (1999)
  • The Mix Tape, Vol. IV (2000)
  • Car Show Tour (2005)

References

  1. ^ a b Funkmaster Flex at allmusic.com
  2. ^ Taylor, Monica. Ride with Funkmaster Flex Filmography/Biography. Spike TV, 2003
  3. ^ a b c [1], Funkmaster Flex Biography.
  4. ^ [2], Funkmaster Flex Biography.
  5. ^ Century, Douglas. "You Can't Floss In Those Shoes." The New York Times 29 Sept. 2002. [3]
  6. ^ MTV.com. "Funk Flex Full Throttle Show Summary." MTV 2010
  7. ^ Johnson, Mitchell. "Full Throttle DJ, Funkmaster Flex Joins Forces With The United States Marine Corps to Promote Service in the Corps to Potential New Applicants." PR Newswire 9 Aug. 2010. [4]
  8. ^ Johnson, Mitchell. "Ford and Funkmaster Flex Muscle In Hot New Expedition" Ford Motor Company Media Relations 30 Mar. 2007. [5]
  9. ^ Taylor, Aston. "Funkmaster Flex Media Website". Jayden Inc., 2011
  10. ^ a b Ex, Christian. "Funkmaster Flex Return of the Master." Vibe Mar. 1997
  11. ^ a b c Shapiro, Peter (2005) The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop, Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-263-8, p.149-150
  12. ^ a b Charnas, Dan (2010) "The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, ISBN 978-1-101-4452-2
  13. ^ Artistopia. "Funkmaster Flex - Music." Artistopia 2011
  14. ^ Realtelevision.net. "Funkmaster Flex - Bio."
  15. ^ a b Spike TV. "Funkmaster Flex Rides Back for Season II on Spike TV." PR Newswire Apr. 15, 2003 [6]
  16. ^ a b c New York Times Television Section. "Funkmaster Flex Super Series - TV Special." New York Times July 1, 2004 [7]
  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 [8]
  19. ^ Weprin, Alex."Funkmaster Flex Returning to Spike TV" Broadcasting and Cable Jan. 27, 2009 [9]
  20. ^ Mancini, Elan."Funkmaster Flex Parks New Car Show in MTV2's Lot" XXL Magazine, Mar. 22, 2010 [10]
  21. ^ Johnson, Mitchell."Royal Purple Lubricants Taps DJ Funkmaster Flex to Showcase Its Latest Performance Products" PR Newswire. Mar. 8, 2010
  22. ^ Editors of Motor Trend."My Garage: Funkmaster Flex" Motor Trend. Jan. 2006 [11]
  23. ^ a b Mitchell C. Johnson."FORD FUSION AND F-150 TO RIDE FUNKMASTER FLEX STYLE" Ford Media. May 12, 2005
  24. ^ Mitchell C. Johnson."Ford and Funkmaster Flex Muscle In Hot New Expedition"
  25. ^ Ford Media."Nelly Flex Unveiled at SEMA Show" Ford Media. Nov. 4 2008
  26. ^ Ford Media."CELEBRITY DJ AND CUSTOMIZING LEGEND FUNKMASTER FLEX TRICKS OUT 2010 TAURUS SHO FOR SEMA" Ford Media. Nov. 3, 2009
  27. ^ Ford Media."Meet the Three Faces of Ford Explorer" Ford Media. Oct. 14 2010
  28. ^ Ford Media."FORD FIESTA KNOWS HIP-HOP, CELEBRITY CUSTOMIZER FUNKMASTER FLEX TRICKS OUT FORD'S NEWEST SMALL CAR." Ford Media. Apr. 29, 2010.
  29. ^ GTA.net."Beat 102.7" GTA.net. 2010
  30. ^ Zawada, Chris."ESPN NFL 2K5" GamesRadar.com Jul. 27, 2004
  31. ^ TeamXBox.com Editors."Funkmaster Flex's Digital Hitz Factory" TeamXBox.com 2010
  32. ^ "Funkmaster Flex DISSES 2PAC", YouTube
  33. ^ Outlawz- Warning Shots (Funkmaster Flex Diss) YouTube
  34. ^ Tha Outlawz (Audio Interveiw) "Speaking On Funkmaster Flex" 2Pac Comments YouTube
  35. ^ Nutt-So - Funk Master Flex Diss YouTube
  36. ^ Crooked I Responds to Funkmaster Flex Dissing Tupac! YouTube
  37. ^ Mopreme Shakur disses FunkMaster Flex - Must see! (Music Video) YouTube
  38. ^ http://www.theboombox.com/2010/11/23/funkmaster-flex-tupac/

External links


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