On this day in Hip Hop history one of the genre’s founding fathers, Grandmaster Caz, was born in the Bronx borough of New York City in 1961.

Caz’s influence on the earliest stages of Hip Hop cannot be ignored. His image and career helped to build the sound that we’ve come to know and love today, along with inspire the generation of artists that would bring Hip Hop to the mainstream.

Born Curtis Fisher, Caz’s love for Hip Hop began after he attended his very first DJ Kool Herc block party in 1974. Much like many of the MCs and DJs of his time, Caz was captivated by the new experience of early Hip Hop. DJ Kool Herc’s style and control of the crowd instantly inspired to follow in his footsteps and begin his career as a DJ.

He adopted the name Cassanova Fly but quickly changed to Grandmaster Caz. He linked up with JDL to form the group The Notorious Two. Later he joined up with the Cold Crush Brothers and became strictly an MC.

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Grandmaster Caz serves as one of Hip Hop’s most earliest unsung heroes. Along with being proclaimed as one of the first simultaneous DJ/MCs in Hip Hop, it’s said that Grandmaster Caz wrote Big Bank Hank‘s verse in The Sugarhill Gang‘s famous “Rapper’s Delight.” This un-credited ghost verse led to the rise to fame of the Sugarhill Gang as well as the growth in popularity of Hip Hop as a whole.

Regardless of the incident, Caz found great underground success with the Cold Crush Brothers and was held at high regard as a performer. It is said that he and the Cold Cush Brothers were the most popular live rap group during the pre-Run D.M.C. era in New York. He and the group even appear in and recorded the theme song for the cult classic film, Wild Style.

Currently, Grandmaster Caz works with the Hush Hip Hop Tours in New York which is a tour service providing an inside look at some of Hip Hop’s oldest and most historical landmarks in the city of it’s birth. Caz is also a member of the Universal Federation for the Preservation of Hip Hop Culture. Take some time today to pay homage to one of the originators of a sound that is heard across the globe by millions. From everyone at The Source, Happy Birthday Grandmaster Caz. Thank you for everything you’ve done for the culture.