Grandmaster Flash has been named as a recipient of the 2019 Polar Music Prize.
The prestigious honor is handed out annually to at least two laureates during a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden – in a similar fashion to the country’s Nobel Prizes.
“It is such an honor, because a lot of times in our culture, what we do as DJs gets overlooked,” the hip-hop legend, real name Joseph Saddler, said in a press release. “So for these people to say, let’s give this to someone who doesn’t necessarily use a microphone as their gift… for me to be picked out of so many people, I am so, so deeply honored.”
Saddler, 61, first found success in the late 1970s New York music scene, forming the group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five with rappers Melle Mel, The Kidd Creole, Keef Cowboy, Mr. Ness/Scorpio, and Rahiem.
The group is often credited with creating the term “hip-hop” and found mainstream success with their 1982 album The Message.
This year’s other laureates are Grammy Award-winning German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and The Playing For Change Foundation, a charity which provides music and arts education to underprivileged children around the world.
Previous winners include Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar, Renee Fleming, and Ray Charles.
The three winners will receive the honors and a cash prize of $110,000 from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a gala ceremony and banquet at Stockholm’s Grand Hotel on June 11.