Read In Your Language

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Who is the real B-boy?

now a days, hip hop is startin to look like it used to look to me. i mean there used to be a time when the dude who got the girls were those dudes who had an almost esoteric understanding of hip hop. the more obscure and unknown dopeness you knew about and had at your disposal made you that dude. i remember playing original records for A Tribe Called Quest samples before it was all popular, to chicks who used to just melt for that kind of shit. i can even remember a love affair that i had with a beautiful woman from D.C. who i met at the Rock Steady Reunion, all based on this mutual love and deeper exploration of the culture. in layman's terms, we was on some fly shit. some bboy shit.

back those times, the breakers called themselves just that. cause before then, bboys were the name that was given to the normal everyday dude, and not just the dancers in particular. bboys were those hood dudes that wore Kangols and had fat laces in their sneakers. these were the adherents and the supporters and creators of the original form of hip hop. and a some of them were drug dealers, convicts, stick up kids and the like. my cousin,  used to always call himself a bboy. he was that dude who was always on the edge of whatever it was that was the fresh shit. he wore the construction Timbs with the slacks with the full length leather. he rocked the Stetson with the Neo Styles (some Philly shit) and was the dude in the all black neighborhood who had the only Puerto Rican girl dudes had seen on that side. and she was BAD. he was a stone cold bboy. and u couldnt tell him any different. and he was no dancer.

In NY, my fams was Devil jeans, Sheepskin coats wit the Wallabee Clarks (way before Tony Starks, this is 80s action) and Cazal frames. they was Blythe International sweaters, mock necks, Bally boots and British Walkers. they was stone cold bboys. they didnt didnt have any plans on backspins and windmills.

now i dont say this in a way to dis the breakers, not one bit. but it is interesting to  me how this idea got lost. i was reminded of it one day when i posted what i called a BBoy Battle, and one of my twitter friends picked it up as a dancing competition. thats when i was like this has to be sorted out. because i love breaking and the art of it. i love those who do it. but im a graffiti writer, producer and a rapper. and i am a stone cold bboy. and i do NOT dance.

in the documentary, "The Freshest Kids", DJ Kool Herc himself gives the definition of a bboy. he says it was derived from a Bronx slang word 'break' that meant to come at somethin hard, like, ' he broke on you' or 'he gone break on that dude". his other meaning was for Bronx Boy, which would've been appropriate for the climate of where the music part of the culture originated (because by the time Herc started throwing parties, the art portion, graffiti, was almost 10 years old. more on that later...) now that was Herc talking and not me. 

i don't think they're thinking about dancing...
the classic, and one of the original gangster rap albums, "Criminal Minded" by Boogie Down Productions, was released on a label called BBoy Records. of the artist on the roster of this small label from the Bronx, NY, ( JVC Force, Cold Crush Brothers, Jewel T(from Philly)) not one was dedicated to the art of dance. 

classic bboy stance
without question the most famous bboys were RunDMC. their whole presentation was to reflect the the look of the kids on the street at the time, because if you remember, other rappers were dressing like either punk rockers (The Furious 5) or like r&b groups (Whodini). RunDMC bacame the truest representation of the hip hop kids from the street when they struck a bboy stance. from the time they did that, complete with the Stetson and the leather blazers, the imprint was set in the mind of people around the world for generations to come what a real bboy looks like. altho they gave many references to the breakers ('let the poppers pop and the breakers break'- RunDMC, King Of Rock), this is not a crew dedicated to dance. but this is the crew that made the bboy stance a must-do for everyone wishing to outwardly invoke the spirit and to communicate the notion that they were unquestionably an adherent to this culture. worldwide. Run even said, famously, "In a bboy stance, is how i stand"(Krush Groove).

i have a friend named Candy, who is a well known dancer named B-Girl Candy and has performed with all of the heavyweights of the dance world, like Ken Swift and Crazy Legs, to be brief. and she got wild moves. she got shit on You Tube, go google her. but i dont consider her a b-girl because she dances. i consider her that cause she is also an all city graff writer, who tags DULCE. but she is easily a person who is an adherent to the principles and pillars of the culture. same with my man KAS, also a known dancer, but also a well known graff writer, all city, in Philly, PA. i think its the adherence to the CULTURE that makes them a bboy/bgirl. not the fact that they can dance. and they CAN boogie.

for the rest of us, i think as the culture makes its reemergence, in order to correct the insane amount of fuckery that exists in the mainstream, that we understand and uphold these terms in the way that were meant. its important to me because these self definitions were formed organically. no amount of marketing made us this. it seems that these days, adherents to the culture are grouped into a category called backpackers. now, as a Lo-Life, thats fine with me, our nappy's used to stay full of goodies. as a graff writer, thats cool with me too... i used to dip in the clubs back in the day, backpack full of Krylon and Rustoleum, to smoke a blunt, bag a shorty, and go back on route while the club hoppers was goin home. but as an adherent to the truest core of this culture, i find exception to the term that gives the connotation that the actual pioneers of the culture have somehow turned into a niche group that has minimal value and no market share. i take exception because WE are the builders of the construct that has produced wealth and opportunity for the rest of these people that somehow want to make us a sideline constituency. so don't call me no backpacker. im a stone cold bboy.

always have been. always will be.

now air it out...


I was breakin and Poppin in '85, '86 to start and considered myself a bboy ...and these days, since I still pop (just pop), I consider myself a bboy. Actually, now I consider myself an OBB (Original BBoy), ie - someone who was doing it back then and still doing it now.

What's dissapointing is seeing in the forums that if you pop, you're not a bboy. Yeah, I get that poppin isn't necessarily bboying since bboying is really breaking...but tellin me that I'm not a bboy cause I only pop?! Seriously?

Back in '86, they really wanted both in a crew. I remember being asked what I can do and it was a good thing I could do both. When a battle started, it was poppin first, then breakin' and a lot of people did both back then.

So, what now? I can't call myself a bboy? No way. What am I supposed to call myself a popper? No thanks. I'm a BBoy! An OBB!

It's a shame that people are trying to take that away from those who pop..they got it all wrong.


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