HIP HOP INFLUENCES
HOW THIS INFLUENCED HIP HOP
James Brown's music has influenced HIP HOP overall, from his dancing, call and response, his musical feel, his influence on BREAK BEATS or FUNK DRUMMING. James Brown hired so many influential drummers and musicians in his band that he pretty much single handedly shaped the world of BREAK BEAT MUSIC.
THE BREAK BEATS. From EARL PALMER to CLAYTON FILLYAU to CLYDE STUBBLEFIELD. these FUNK DRUMMERS created the beats that made HIP HOP music what it is today.
JAMES BROWN GOOD FOOT
From what the TWINS say. James Browns movements inspired young BBOYS dance styles.
AFRICAN DANCE / CAPOEIRA (Angola)
The roots to HIP HOP culture is in it's bloodlines. And in CAPOEIRA you can see the movements and it's similarities to BBOYING.
HOOFIN/ TAP / FLASH STYLE
(SAMMY DAVIS JR. NICHOLAS BROTHERS)
If you look at certain footwork patterns and steps where SAMMY DAVIS kicked his feet out, and certain ground moves done by groups like the NICHOLAS BROTHERS. you can definitely see the influence on BREAKING>
SALSA/ BOMBI PLENA
In the Latino communities throughout NYC, allot of style and they way the did there moves had that feel of a SALSERO. So the flava and moves like the RUMBA, and many other played a major roll in the shape and style of LATINO BBOYS. Especially when dealing with the UPROCKERS and TOP ROCKERS.
NATIVE AMERICAN DANCE / FANCY DANCE
The same as in Salsa, NATIVE dance especially the FANCY DANCE influenced TOP ROCKING and UPROCKING. Especially in the footwork and the head movements.
KUNG FU MOVIES
MARTIAL ARTS movies was so popular among young African Americans and Latinos. That we would go to 42nd street back in the late 70's and early 80's where you can watch like 5 Kung Fu movies for $3-$5. And young BBOYS would borrow moves and styles and mix it with there dance. Like KEN SWIFT'S PYTHON TOPROCK.
TRACK 2 would combine movements from there gymnastics background into there breaking. Like Track's hand stand pirouette which help lead to
CRAZY LEG'S one hand spin which became known as the 1990. Also young new comers like
BBOY GERMAN who incorporated the THOMAS FLARE into his dance routine, and was one of the early pioneers in mixing gymnastics with power moves.
AN EARLY PERSPECTIVE OF THE BRONX BEFORE AND DURING THE CREATION OF HIP HOP
in the late 60's early 70's there was a revolution goin on in the streets of NYC. we had some of the sickest gangs rumbling in the parks at midnight, and running the ghetto hoods block by block. Back then being in a gangs like being in a family. and your family was also your entire neighborhood. Some gangs stretched out throughout the entire NYC area, and had chapters in every borough.
THE SEVEN CROWNS
Being raised in the Bronx myself, i grew up on east Treomont in Grand Concourse near Echo park (an area known for gangs and original hip hop jams). where i lived we were surrounded by Javelins and Black Spades. I was constantly learning my street knowledge by hangin out with baby javelins in Echo park when i was only around 6-7 years old. i drank my first liquor in echo park with SHORT STOP from the javelins, i smoked my first cigarette picking up buts off the streets while playing hookie at age 7, i started my first fire by echo park during school hours and watched the smoke rise till pedestrians yelled at me and i ran, i also learned my first tag and was givin the name "lil KOOL KAT" by my older sister. i was hung out my apartment window 4 flights by members of a gang called the IMPERIAL SPADES that my older sister CINDY hung out with. Every time my sis left the room they would grab me and hang me out the window. lol. i was always finding 007 knives, stilettos, and broken clackers (a toy that had two heavy balls attached to a string and made a click clack noise when you swung it. It was used as a gang weapon and became banned due to violence). during these times the music was based on allot of heavy rock (Jimi Hendrix), and heavy revolutionary soul (James Brown). i learned tons of ghetto rhymes growing up in the streets from the older cats.
Growing up amongst, gang violence, drugs, poverty, police harassment, broken down abandon buildings, and bad schools added to this rebellious attitude that the youth had towards society. it was like living in a war zone at times. hearing gun shots in the allies at night and seeing the blood stained streets the next morning on your way to school. that was mine and every other young kids life in the south Bronx during these times. back the rumbles could start over any thing from stepping on some ones shoes, messing with the wrong girls, or being in the wrong turf and not removing your colors (gang jacket). The south Bronx gangs emulated the biker gangs except most Bronx gangs couldn't afford bikes. So war seemed like the only vehicle that these gangs rode. and there was allot of wars. weapons of choice were zip guns (home made weapon), bats (sometimes with nails in them), Molotov cocktails, sawed off shot guns, hand grenades, chains, 007's, stilettos, clackers, nun chucks, pipes, ect. And to become a member of one of these gangs you would have to go through some sort of test. One such test was called the APACHE LINE, where a new recruit would have to walk in between two line of gang members and get beat down from one side to the other. Another test was RUSSIAN ROULETTE, and as brotha LUCKY STRIKES put it in the book YES YES YALL. Allot of potential gang members were left dead in abandon building, with the police thinking it was suicide and not a gang recruiting ceremony.
GANG INFLUENCE ON HIP HOP
Fact is Black Spades influenced Hip Hop By way of DJ DISCO KING MARIO. Who was a major influence on all DJ's in the Bronx before Kool Herc did the Merry Go Round. Black Spades had DJ Crews like Chuck Chuck City Crew, and also had dancers, writers as well. Black Spades was considered the biggest Outlaw style Gang in the Bronx, and has an impact on New York Street Culture in many ways.
In every aspect of HIP HOP culture there is a connection of some sort of gang influence. in many cases HIP HOP heads were gang members them selves. lets take the DJ for example. while KOOL HERC gained respect from gangs by doin his thing, he was also shoutin them out on the mic, and keepin the peace in his jams. he developed a respect from these gang members by giving them respect during his jams. Gangs were also used as protection for DJ's and guarding equipment, and collecting money at the doors of jams. Then of course we have one the South BRONX's biggest gang leaders who turned his gang into the biggest hip hop movement in the streets of new york and eventually the world. I am talkin about AFRIKA BAMBAATAA and the mighty ZULU NATION. BAM gained his street movement with the BLACK SPADES, and soon turned the SPADES into the ORGANIZATION, and eventually the ZULU NATION. they were the the biggest and most feared as well. Aside from BAM there was DJ DICE from CHUCK CHUCK CITY CREW, DJ FLASH and the CASANOVA CREW, and many other DJ affiliations. gangs would show up to jams often to gain there respects, and if that didn't happen, to break sh%t up. but one of the most famous chants to come off during a ZULU jam was when a gang called THE GESTAPO would show up. and back the the ZULU mc's would get the crowd to chant ZULU!, but the Gestapo crew would respond GESTAPO!, in the end the mc would chant ZULU! and the whole crowd would chant back GESTAPO! and it became a popular chant during ZULU jams.
GANG INFLUENCE IN DANCE/UPROCKING (not to be confused with BBOYING)
now in dance, there is a significant amount of information that points to the fact that gangs had a major influence in a dance called UPROCKIN. one such fact is that all the gangs in NYC had a certain dance that they did before going to war. it was sort of like a gang member imitating what he will do to his enemy when they rumble. the dance involved strikes and movements of violence between two dancers. imitating (miming) weapons such as zip guns, knives, bats, and fists. This dance would later be emulated by a brother in BROOKLYN named "RUBBER BAND" (also a brother named "APACHE") who was eventually murdered over a dance battle gone bad. It is said that he was one of the greatest dancers on the streets. RUBBER BAND was also said to have laid the foundation of the dance with JERKS and BURNS and was responsible for takin the gang style dance to the clubs and made it popular with the DISCO CROWD and it eventually became a dance done all over the city by gangsters and non gangsters alike. But it was common knowledge that BROOKLYN mastered this dance with such crews as DYNASTY ROCKERS. (for more info on uprockin "UNITEDUPROCKERS").
GANG INFLUENCE IN WRITING/GRAFFITI
This is probably the easiest connection to make in reference to gangs inspiring elements in HIP HOP. the truth is evident in other cities where gangs marked there turf with there tags and signs and claimed there hoods with graffiti. allot of writers came from gangs, and while writing can be argued as being an element of HIP HOP, there were tons of writers that had nothing to do with HIP HOP and weren't even black or Latino. One of the first writers on record to hit up in NYC was a writer with GREEK origin named "TAKI", but also what needs to be noted is that the earliest writers that started the movement in NYC were in Philly, a writer named CORNBREAD wanted to please a girl he was after, so by taggin her name on her bus route he figured he can get her attention, and before you know it , writing flourished it's way to NYC. but aside from this history, writing was a one of the best ways to let any outside gangsters know what hood they were in so they can watch there step, and remove there colors (jacket with there names on it) before they would enter any other rivals area. This would be the same in almost every ghetto in America, from cholo gangs in LA , to the gangs in Chicago, as well as NYC. Well known WRITING CREWS from the early 70's included THE EBONY DUKNE , EX VANDALS.
THE DJ (KOOL HERC)
in 1955 in KINGSTON JAMAICA, a child was born who would eventually end up in one of the darkest ghettos in America, and father a culture that would soon change the sound of music .
the child's name: Clive Campbell (aka KOOL HERC)
the place: The BRONX
the culture: HIP HOP
Clive Campbell migrated to New York's west BRONX when he was only 12 years old. When the young Clive Campbell was attending Alfred E. Smith high school, he was constantly lifting weights in the school weight room. And when you add his huge body with his tallness that him as well as his brother KENNETH had. You would understand why the other kids nick named him HERCULES.
Initially HERC was down with a writing crew (graffiti group) young Herc was always inspired by the sounds and culture of his JAMAICAN roots, toasting, and the dubbing (mc'in and dj'in) that the DJ's had in his original birth place was instilled in his soul. He eventually got a system of his own and began dj'in locally to help make money to buy his lil sis some school clothes. His first DJ gig was a party in 1520 Sedgwick. in a small recreation center that his sister rented for about $25, and they would charge about 25 cents for girls and 50 cents for guys at that time. He began to throw many parties there before a predominantly African American crowd (at this time the Latinos were more heavily into ROCK DANCE, SALSA and DISCO). that's where herc would also fine tune his personal love for the break sections of all of his records. Although herc could still get the crowd jumping by playing "Listen To Me" by Baby Huey full out. Through his knowledge that every Jamaican record had a dub side to it, he focused on the break downs of instrumentals, and drum solos. He new that by extending the break he could lock the crowd into a state of frenzy. You see herc studied the crowd response when ever the drum solo would kick in, and he figured that by extending that drum solo, he could keep the whole atmosphere in that one state. So he began buying two copies of each record, (which he would soak the labels off so that other DJ's couldn't find out what records he was playing) and began to manipulate the turntables when the break ended on one turntable he would start it all over again on the next turn table, and would do this over and over until he saw it fit to throw on the next crazy beat. he called this the merry go round. Not only was he known for having the funkiest breaks but hercs biggest claim to fame was his sound system. It was said that herc named his crew the herculoids, but he son clarified that the name herculoids was a name he gave to his sound system. It was so loud that no other DJ could compete with him in a park jam battle which a young up and coming DJ by the name of Africa Bambaataa found out when he was blown away by herc's system in a battle. Herc owned what was known as a macintosh amp, which at the time was the most respected power amp, and also had sure speaker columns, he dubbed his system the "HERCULORDS" and his distinct sound was based on his heavy bass. he was also quoted saying that the only person that was close to him ion his time was a kid named "SMOKEY". herc began playing in clubs like twilight zone, and eventually the hevalo club. as his fame grew other DJ's began to make there contributions to hercs sound. Herc was also known for toastin on the mic and shouting people out from the crowd to get more crowd response. this came from things he remembered from his native Jamaica. and he also had what was known as the first mc to rock a hip hop party. "COKE LA ROCK" and HERC also had an MC named "TIMMY TIM".
FAMOUS DJ'S THAT CAME AFTER HERC
AFRIKA BAMBAATAA: known as the man with a thousand records. BAM'S collection was no doubt the largest, and the most versatile. Bam was also the leader of the largest ghetto organization in NYC. The ZULU NATION. And eventually landed a major deal on TOMMY BOY RECORDS along with mc's POW WOW, GLOBE, and MR. BIG'S. they went on to record one of the most famous hip hop songs of all time. "PLANET ROCK".
GRAND MASTER FLASH: Known as the creator of the quick mix (speed) , cutting, and also makes claim along with DJ THEODORE for inventing the scratch., FLASH was also the DJ for one of the most influential hip hop groups "GRAND MASTER FLASH AND THE FURIOUS FIVE"
Mc's: COWBOY, MELLE MEL, KID CREOLE, MR. NES (SCORPIO)), RAHIEM.
they went on to record many hit records including one of the first rap records ever:
UNDER THE TITLE "THE YOUNGER GENERATION" SONG TITLE "WE ROCK SO MELLOW"
(this was actually the 2nd rap record release after king Tim the third).
GRAND WIZARD THEODORE: The inventor of the needle drop, and also the scratch. He was the younger brother of a well known DJ "MEAN GENE" and part of a crew called "THE L BROTHERS" and he eventually became part one the most famous crews "FANTASTIC 5" along with RUBY D, PRINCE WHIPPER WHIP, DATA ROCK, KEVIE KEV,. FANTASTIC 5 were well known for all there accomplishments. But they are best remembered for there battle against THE COLD CRUSH 4.
LOVE BUG STARSKI: Starski was probably the best party rocker of his time, he was one of the first DJ MC'S, and was also known for coining the mc rhyme phrase "HIP HOP SHOOWOP DA BOP. Starski is rarely given props for his accomplishments in HIP HOP. But his crowd rocking style gave way to many DJ's and mc's.
OTHER DJ's WHO PAVED THE WAY WERE:
CHARLIE CHASE: DJ for the cold crush four, and also known for bridging the gap between African American and Latino youth.
AFRICA ISLAM: Known as the son of BAMBAATAA, he was a bboy/ DJ, and had the perfect feel for playing breaks for the hardcore bboys. he had a crew called the MAY BERRY CREW with mc's DONALD D and KID VICIOUS.
GRAND MIXER DST: Besides being a dope BBOY / DJ / PRODUCER. DST had incredible DJ skills, and recorded some great under ground records with his crew "THE INFINITY RAPPERS" (MC'S SHAHIEM, and ), But DST will always be remembered by his work with HERBIE HANCOCK on the hit record "ROCKIT" back in the mid 80's.
WHIZ KID: This man was at one time know as the simply the best. All you ever heard in the streets was that nobody can mess with WHIZ KID. He showcases his versatility on the hit record "PLAY THAT BEAT" along with MC GLOBE of the soul sonic force. In this song WHIZ KID DEMONSTRATED different scratch for every name that GLOBE CALLED out. He is no longer with us and will be missed by all OG HIP HOPERS.
OTHER INFLUENTIAL DJ's
there were many DJ's that were around during the creation of HIP HOP culture, but most were known as main stream, and disco DJ's. it is the opinion of many that herc was known as the DJ of the ghettos, and for focusing his sound on break beats rather than disco. These are some of the big DJ's of that time who still had a major influence on hip hop culture.
KOOL DJ DEE
DISCO KING MARIO
JOHNNY THUNDER BIRD
GRAND MASTER FLOWERS
DJ PETE DJ JONES
THE BREAK BEAT
(the percussive part of many SOUL, FUNK, and R&B records)
To get to the origin of HIP HOP, we need to examine one of it's main components. "THE BREAK BEAT "what this word signifies is a style of drumming that influenced BBOYS/ BGIRLS, to "GO OFF". All HIP HOP rhythms have it's origin in AFRICAN MUSIC. But to be specific we have to go back to the most influential DRUMMERS, of the time period when FUNK music with break beats were being recorded.
JAMES "DIAMOND" WILLIAMS
AL JACKSON, JR.
JOHN "JABO" STARKS
And many more drummers contributed to the sound that molded what HIP HOP is today. This particular drum sound was said to have been created in NEW ORLEANS. According to the book "GIVE THE DRUMMER SOME" (I highly recommend this book). Drummers like EARL PALMER (who is said to be the earliest funk style drummer ever) would imitate all the sounds coming from hundreds of marching band drummers who fused Latin percussion influences from the AFRICANS in NEW ORLEANS native land BRAZIL. Add the sounds of new Orleans jazz to this gumbo and you have a unique sound that jazz drummers would imitate but only on one drum kit (as opposed to hundreds of drummers) this added a whole new syncopation to the drum patterns of that day which was like a revolution in music. You see according to CLAYTON FILLYAU, when he started playing for JAMES BROWN, he refused to have the band lean on him as just a live click track, he pretty much made it clear that he was doing his thing and other musicians better keep up. When CLAYTON played on live at the APOLLO. That became a major break through for funk drumming. And before you knew it, every band had a drummer with a similar sound. BREAK BEATS eventually became the heart and soul of what we call hip hop today. BREAK BEATS is what AFRIKA BAMMBATTA used to describe to the young ROCK STEADY bboys as "THE CALL OF THE DRUM". Once the drums start playing, people that fell the spirit of these drums will gather. And this is what was referred to as a "JAM" no matter how far you were, once a DJ started playing these beats. People would gather from all parts of the Bronx to one spot. Some people will here about a jam from word of mouth. But allot of people will actually hear the music from afar and rush over to the jam. The BREAK BEAT was so powerful that it attracted people from all communities (mostly AFRICAN AMERICAN, PUERTO RICANS, ). And these people would gather in the jams to hear there favorite beats, chill with some ladies, show off there latest gears (clothes), and also to BATTLE. These beats that were manually looped to extend them (thanks to the innovation by KOOL HERC), created an atmosphere that was some what a blood line connection to the tribal pasts of these young African American, and Puerto Rican teenagers. A DJ would tease the crowd with the opening of a funk song with the vocals singing over the beat, guitars, and horns. But once that break would kick in, the crowd would get down harder and the DJ would then manually extend the break with two turntables and back spinning the records in such a way as to get the crowd in a frenzy. By show casing the DJ's speed, and precise on time cuts. The crowd would respond by getting down harder with there latest moves and dance. But to get the crowd into the grooves even harder the DJ's started introducing vocalists that would chant, and crowd please and keep the people partying. These vocalists were called "MC'S".
DIGGIN FOR BEATS/ DIGGIN IN THE CRATES/ FINDING BREAK BEATS
One of the most forgotten arts of HIP HOP is undoubtedly the art of finding break beats. it seems that most of today's DJs are more focused in showcasing there skills than finding funky new ill breaks from obsolete rare records and impressing the crowds with a new beat. this art form was probably the main element that actually kept people comin back to jams. just to hear what new beats there favorite DJ would surprise the crowds with. Besides keepin the party rockin and making the people move. DJs were also known for certain break beats that they introduced to the HIP HOP ears. KOOL HERC was known for washing off record lables and replacing them with different ones so that other rival DJs would not know what record he was playing. they would sneak a peak at his records and go to the record shops only to find out that they were tricked into buying the wrong albums. places where HERC and many other DJs would buy there breaks at were places like "the RHYTHM DEN", or "DOWNSTAIRS RECORDS". back in the early 70's it was all about the rare breaks. scratchin, and cuttin was a the criteria of the future, but in 73 it was all about your sound system, and who had what record that nobody else had. that was the marks of respect. Also look at the article BEAT QUEST.
In the early days of HIP HOP an Mc sounded more like a smooth radio disc jockey. BAMBAATAA will always refer to original concepts of what an MC is and where is came from like SHIRLEY ELLI'S "The Name Game" and "the Clapping Song". And people like PIGMEAT MARKHAM's "Here Comes The Judge". Also credited were groups like THE BLACK POETS, and THE WATTS PROPHETS. Street snappin (mama joke) called THE DOZENS.
They were the masters of ceremonies, the mic controllers, the party pleasers, teasers, with the. By saying rhymes on the mic, and doing crowd call and responses, MC'S became the main focus of a jam, at times the most vital attractions as well. They were the stars of the show mainly because they were the most heard and most exposed out of all of the other elements of a jam. While the DJ was spinning the phattest break beats that made other DJ's wanna find out what that record was, the mc was manipulating the crowd with there clever word play. This eventually lead too mc's forming a crew with the DJ and throwing bigger jams that would include battles to see who had the tightest crew. The first mc on record to rhyme over break beats was a mc by the name of "COKE LA ROCK". KOOL HERC featured "COKE LA ROCK" in his earlier jams to fill in and crowd please while Herc was spinning records. The next mc (on record) to grab the mic in a Hip Hop jam was mc "COWBOY" known as an eventual member of the famed "FURIOUS 5 MC'S". At this point there were many mc's to grab the mic. Some of the most notable ones and there contributions were:
BUZY B: Known as the king of crowd pleasers, he was one of the most popular party rockers of his era.
MELLE MEL: Mel was known for his incredible lyrical skills. Before there was a RAKIEM, BIGGY SMALLS, AND BIG DADDY KANE, MEL WAS HOLDING IT DOWN.
GRAND MASTER CAZ: CAZ was also known for his lyrical skills in the same vein as MELLE MEL. CAZ precise delivery and ill metaphors, and was a key member in the COLD CRUSH 4 MC'S.
KOOL MOE DEE: MOE DEE was one of the best. He combined intricate lyrics with a fast rhyme style and along with his crew mates THE TREACHEROUS 3 (LA SUNSHINE, SPECIAL K) they had consecutive ghetto hit records that put them on the map. And one of the most unforgettable and famous battle of all times. KOOL MOE DEE-VS-BUZY B.
OTHER NOTABLE MC'S WERE
WHIPPER WHIP: He had the smoothest voice and precision delivery.
DATA ROCK: Also a great mc
COWBOY: a true legend, and smooth rhyme sayer
THE BRONX ROCKERS
(TOP ROCK, FOOTWORK, FREEZES, POWER)
Little was known of the Bronx Rock Dance culture that existed since the late 60's. Now with the research from Mr Wiggles Trac 2 and Fabel, we have uncovered what might be the true missing link to the Rocking culture and Hip Hop. We start with Rubberband. The legendary Rocker that traveled all city from Bronx to Queens to Brooklyn, battling, rocking clubs and leaving with the ladies. He also taught dancers from all over NYC and left the biggest impact with his trademark flexibility style and his spins from top to bottom on the edge of his Heel Shoes. It wasn't till the death of this incredible dancer that his Legend surpassed every major street style dancer, and his name echoed on till today as a Creator, and pioneer of many styles in Rocking and Breakin. More will be told about this amazing dancer. But Bronx defiantly had a huge Rocking culture that left a mark on the NYC dance floors.
Names of some of the Bronx Greats:
SALSA (That same BBOY Salsa)
more too come soon.
So many Bronx and Manhattan Rockers that were once forgotten, and now found, as we discover they all did a move called THE BREAK! And this move imitates the hand grabbing something and breaking it with the HIP or the STEP OUT we do in Top Rock.
More to come on this new found information.
(TOP ROCK, FOOTWORK, FREEZES, POWER)
This is a topic that must be broken down into three separate generations in order to fully understand the history of this dance. In researching bboy history, i found that there were many names being tossed around as the fathers of this dance, but the names that i would here the most were "THE NIGGA TWINS". but when referring to actual moves that has become the foundation of this dance, the names that would constantly come up were groups like "CRAZY COMMANDERS", and "SAL SOUL". I found myself just like every other bboy seeking history very confused. but only up until a an event that took place in Ohio on Sept. 10-11 1999. in this panel discussion we were finally abel to bring THE NIGGA TWINS as well as BBOYS TRAC 2, and JOJO. two sets of bboys representing two different generations. and i must say that fireworks were bursting in the room that day. but in the end when the smoke cleared i was able to scrape up this breakdown, which is still based on my thoughts of what took place between these two generations of bboying. So i will attempted to do this by dissecting BBOY history into the "EARLY 70'S". "MID 70'S", and the "80's".
THE EARLY 70'S
"THE CREATION AND THE BLUE PRINTS"
Now before i get into this section, there is an important issue that needs to be cleared up. during the early 70's the original bboys were mostly if all African American. in the Bronx we had a mixture of both black and Latinos living in the same hood, but there were two subcultures going on at the same time. while the young African American kids were more into the James Brown sound, most Latinos were into salsa and a dance called ROCKING. So i will break down both dance styles. (these two styles and there histories are still being researched, and i am still looking for more information)
When i finally got to meet the NIGGA TWINS (Keith and Kevin), the first thing that i asked them was who was the first bboy ever? and the first name they mentioned was "JAMES BROWN". they felt that James set the pace in the dance that they did, and in examining what they did during there era, there is some truth to that. you see the original BBOYS from the early 70's didn't break the same way we were breaking in the mid 70's. and if you ask them what they think of the bboys from the mid 70's ear they will straight up say "it's dope but it ain't bboyin". what bboys like the twins consider bboyin is a totally different style and foundation than the "TOP ROCK , FOOTWORK, AND FREEZE" foundation that we teach today. there are many truths to unveil about early bboys. so lets start with the name. the name "BBOY" was actually not the name of every kid that breaks, but an actual phrase coined by the father of HIP HOP "DJ KOOL HERC". the word BBOY was a short term for "BREAK BOY"< or "BEAT BOY",and even "BRONX BOY". a dancer who dances to BREAK BEATS. HERC gave this name to a group of elite dancers of that era that were getting down in his jams. dancers like
THE AMAZING BOBO
THE NIGGA TWINS
these dancers were among the most respected bboys in the bronx in the early 70's, and they were called the bboys. to them the word BBOY was like the name of there specific crew. how did the this word become an actual title for the dance? my guess would be that the legend of these dancers would eventually carry the word BBOY to represent the name of the dance to all the young up and coming dancers who followed there footsteps. in my experience as a young HIP HOP dancer in 1976. the word BBOY was any body who was BREAKIN at the time. but in any event, we excepted this name and till this day it is still the best descriptive term for the dance. although there were many expressions during the 70's that people used to describe the actions of breaking. terms like "GO OFF" were popular was that we would tell someone to dance. but it is clear that such phrases were just an expression no different than phrases like "GET DOWN" or "CUT UP". those were terms used by the crowd to get dancers to do there thing. but not actual names of a dance.
now lets get down to the moves. back in the twins times. they never did moves like the "HEAD SPIN", BACK SPIN", or the " CHAIR FREEZE". these moves came from the next generation. moves that the original BBOYS were more like "THE SLING SHOT", "THE FRANKENSTEIN", and "THE DRACULA" lots of stand up dancing that involved allot of shuffling, and was very funky, and there was also sweeps and ground moves similar to what SAMMY DAVIS, or the NICHOLAS BROTHERS would do. And in examining there top rock style (vertical dance), it was totally different than bboys of today. they seemed to have a whole different style and foundation to there dance. but the most important asset to a bboy was how they ,manipulated the music, and how they would catch phrases in a record. MELLE MEL (from the Furious 5 mc's) told me and CRAZY LEGS a story about probably the best bboy back then named "SAUSAU". when this brotha would dance he would improvise off of anything. the music, the crowd, and even objects around him. and one time he started gettin down on the ground in an out door jam and somehow ended up on a tree still gettin down. although this generation of bboys did not do the basic foundation that we know of today, the "6 step", "baby freezes" and so forth. they created the original form the would eventually evolve into today's BREAKIN, and they laid the blueprints for the next generation of BBOYS to come.
THE MID TO LATE 70'S
"THE NEXT LEVEL"
Now before i get into this section, there is an important issue that needs to be cleared up. during the early 70's the original bboys were mostly if all African American. in the Bronx we had a mixture of both black and Latinos living in the same hood, but there were two subcultures going on at the same time. while the young African American kids were more into the James Brown sound, most Latinos were into salsa and hustle, and of course a tsyle of dance known as UPROCKIN, which was made popular in rooklyn new York. Latinos were also in allot of park jams that were going on during the early 7o's mainly because we shared the same hood as our cousins in the African American comunity. But during the mid 70's the young Latino youth started picking up on the culture more. Dj CHARLIE CHASE was becoming a well known Puerto Rican DJ within the HIP HOP scene. and his eventual forming of the MC crew (rap group) THE COLD CRUSH 4, made him a house hold name in the NYC ghettos. And along with him pickin up on the culture were young Latin BBOYs. And with that came a new breed in BBOYS in the mid 70's there crews of either all african americans, and all Latinos, And there were also crews that were mixed with both. Soon this next generation of BBOYS started to take over. BBOYS like:
and a young CRAZY LEGS
and many more.
and the there were crews like:
SAL SOUL CREW
TBB (The Bronx Boys)
These crews were also mixed with both Latino and African American youth. And with these young Latinos came a new flava in the BBOY world. A more SALSA type of feel which was added on the already established BBOY style. Also More of the UPROCKING style was mixed with the BBOY style TOP ROCKING and while both styles of vertical dance have there own history and flava, there are similar steps used by BBOYS during this time period. And with both cousins comunities battling each other as well as dancing along side each other, some of the most inovated moves started to apear.
THE BABY FREEZE
THE CHAIR FREEZE
ONE SHOT HEAD SPINS/DRILLS
CC LONG FOOTWORK / THE 6 STEP
THE 4 STEP
THE NECK MOVE and the BUT SPIN (which eventually led to the back spin)
see who imvented these moves
HIP HOP/FUNK STYLES DANCE
BBOY MOVES HISTORY
The dance thrived during the mid 70's but as the 70's started to come to an end, so did BBOYING withing the African American youth. More African american kids were picking up microphones and MCing, and buying DJ equiptment to do parties and start crews.
BBOYS who turned to other elements of HIP HOP include:
DJ KLARK KENT/SUPERMAN (Herculoids)
GRAND MIXER DST (Zulu Nation/ Infinity Rappers)
PHASE 2 (legendary Writer/ graffiti)
DJ AFRIKA ISLAM (Zulu Nation/ Mayberry Crew)
MC MELLE MEL (Grand Master fFash and the Furious Five MC's
ALMIGHTY KG (Cold Crush 4 MC's)
POW WOW (Zulu Nation/Soul Sonic Force MC'S)
and many others.
By 1979 the dance was concidered played out by most people in the BRONX.
"THE POWER MOVE ERA"
During the early 80's BREAKING was still concidered old, But there was still signs of it throughout NYC in other boroughs. A young BBOY named CRAZY LEGS from the Bronx moved closer to Manhattan and started taking trips there more often till he eventually met up with a BBOY named FROSTY FREEZE. FROSTY FREEZE introduced LEGS to allot of young BBOYS in the area of 98th street in Amsterdam in Manhattan. Legs immidiattly started to battle and dance with these young cats and eventaully recieved the blessings from the one of the leaders of ROCK STEADY CREW in the Bronx to start a chapter in Manhattan. So CRAZY LEGS began recruiting members from both Bronx and Manhattan like:
LIL CRAZY LEGS
BUCK 4 (R.I.P.)
KIPPY DEE /RASHAWN (R.I.P.)
and boogie boys (New York's incorrect term for poppers)
ELECTRIC COMANY CREW (from the bronx)
Rock steady crew began traveling and battling crews all over the 5 Boroughs. Other young BBOY crews emerged and started competeing. Crews like:
DYNAMIC ROCKERS (Queens)
INCREDIBLE BREAKERS (lower east side Manhattan)
and many others
RcokSteady crew went on to battle Dynamic Rockers at Lincoln Center in the early 80's which was filmed and made part of the famous HIP HOP documentary STYLE WARS.
In tne 80's old moves were taken to new levels and made more complicated and added to the dance.:
one shot drill HEAD SPINS became CONTINOUS TAP HEAD SPINS by KID FREEZE
the BACK SPINS became CONTINOUS (windmills) by CRAZY LEGS
TRAC 2's HAND STAND PIROETTE became 1990's by CRAZY LEGS
SWIPES became NINJA FREEZE or AIR SWIPE by ICEY ICE
The next generation of BBOYS took from different influences and started creating new styles.
ROCK STEADY CREW, DYNAMIC ROCKERS, NEW YORK CITY BREAKERS, MAGNIFICENT FORCE, INCREDIBLE BREAKERS, were all on top of the game. some crews were featured in major movies and tours that helped proppel the dance all over the world
WILD STYLE: featured ROCK STEADY
FLASHDANCE: featured ROCK STEADY CREW
BEAT STREET: featured ROCK STEADY CREW, NYC BREAKERS and MAGNIFICENT FORCE
DELIVERY BOYS: featured INCREDIBLE BREAKERS, AND DYNAMIC ROCKERS
Newcomers started comin up and bringing amazing moves to the table. Moves like
AIR TRACKS, HEAD GLIDES, 2000's, FLARES,
KNOWLEDGE ENDS HERE, HEHE, RAN OUT OF TIME.
BE RIGHT BACK WITH MORE INFO SOON.
BBOY SPY HISTORY
B-boy Spy, from the Crazy Commandos Crew, dominated in the art breaking in
the mid to late 1970’s. His understanding of the foundation allowed him to
evolve and take moves from other b-boys and redesigned them to make them his
own. At the same time was creating moves that would later be taken by others.
But, many could never do it like Spy. Spy recognized as the creator of moves
that serve as major components to what is the foundation of breaking, such as
the Six-Step Footwork, the CC Rock, Swipes, the Baby Freeze, and his Latino
flavor of top rocking. His arsenal of moves made it easy for his peers to
refer to him as “The Man With A Thousand Moves”. According to Spy’s personal
friend and peer, Trac 2 from Star Child La Rock. “Spy was a master
illusionist”. With that being said, it is no wonder how Spy could do just
about any move in both directions and make it seem as if each time he did
them, they appeared to be different moves.
Spy’s partnership with the music showed that in order to rock the floor, you
first had to let the music rock your soul. He was the absolute epitome of
what a b-boy should be. His influence is such that it served as the blue
print for what has become what a b-boy or b-girl must learn in order to become
one. Spy’s influence was the very reason why b-boys such Crazy Legs and many
others wanted to strive and become the best b-boy that they could be. Spy was
an idol and a super hero to many b-boys and b-girls in this Hip Hop game
before it ever became commercial. He was the first larger than life b-boy and
is a true legend among his peers.
THIS IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO GIVE INPUT OR INFORMATION ON HIP HOP HISTORY