This week for Hip Hop History Month we will discuss breakin. Not the movie although the film is a classic b-boy and b-girl Hip Hop film. I’m speaking about the movement of the culture. Breakin is why the dee jay was so important. Breakin is why the break beat was essential to any party in the seventies. We touched a little in last week’s piece what a break beat is and the reason the dee jay had to have the most rare or the most influential records is because of the dancers. B-Boy and B-Girls all over New York dominated the party when those breakbeats dropped. The “B” in the title stands for break so break-boys and break-girls linked up with a crew and went to different parties battling. Battling for respect, battling for accolades, and whatever else they wanted to bet because to be a breaker required confidence, courage, and skill. To be a respected breaker you had to battle the best of the best. You had to be ready to represent for your crew and if you weren’t nice you couldn’t merely challenge the top rocker based off of your ego.
A lot of crews were formed to protect each other from gangs and other ills that were creeping through the underbelly of the boroughs in those days. There was no technology per se and with buildings burning throughout the city what else could young people do besides listen to music. Disco was falling off and the breakbeats were getting looped into whole songs for almost two to three minutes. The Rock Steady Crew, the New York City Breakers, and the Zulu Kings were all breakdancing crews that made history in establishing the second element of Hip Hop Culture, breakin. Today breakdancing is encompassed in most dances including the newest Hip Hop moves. The Quan, juju on the beat, hit the folks, and all the dances that the young Hip Hop heads are doing. Breakdancing requires a level of gymnastics that is obvious in the performances of artists that aren’t even Rappers. Chris Brown is definitely someone who utilizes breakdancing at its core for his performances. Future has dancers when he performs which still blows my mind because we haven’t seen any dancers next to Rappers in ages.
Today the Red Bull BC One World Championship brings B-Boys and B-Girls from across the globe in a break battle for worldwide bragging rights. Keeping it simple and staying true to the culture the dancers must battle their way to the championship and prove themselves worthy of the respect from those within the breakdancing culture. The JabbaWockeeZ are probably the most mainstream breakdance crew that the youth even know about. Who will be the next individual or crew to bring the dance element of the culture back? Make sure you study the greats and learn your terminology because breakin isn’t for the weak at heart.
“We gonna talk about the muscles of the dance
The ones that put you in a trance.” Grandmaster Flash (Tribute To The Breaker)