Every Hip Hop movie has a classic scene. Even a turkey like BODY ROCK has its classic scene (which was when the credits were going up over the NEW YORK CITY BREAKERS doing their thing in a park).
STYLE WARS had the uprock battle between the DYNAMIC ROCKERS and the ROCKSTEADY CREW
WILDSTYLE had the scene at the Amphitheatre with Rammellzee rapping, holding a shotgun while CRAZY LEGS was doing swipes into that insane turtle with his head sliding along the floor.
BEAT STREET had the battle between ROCKSTEADY CREW and the NEW YORK CITY BREAKERS at the Roxy.
BREAKDANCE had BOOGALOO SHRIMP dancing with the broom.
Then you have ELECTRO ROCK with that battle between London and the rest of England. The standout point of that battle was a little London kid battling a guy from Nottingham’s ROCK CITY CREW. The guy from ROCK CITY was getting humiliated and he knew it, there was nothing left for him to do but push the London kid, who just continued to humiliate the ROCK CITY guy until he just had to leave the cipher.
A classic scene. One I will never forget. I was 14 years old when I filmed that scene.
That one battle was the springboard for me to move into the echelons of British Hip Hop. I got to meet, and hang out, with people who were regarded as icons to me. Battles became few and far between, shows became constant and weekly and I got invited to do videos. I even got the opportunity to film the MANTRONIX video for their tune BASSLINE.
My popping was evolving into my very own style. My love had grown for this style of dance and my ear for music became more astute. I became more aware of the necessity to bite, not to take from others and pass off as my own, but to change what I had bitten and tailor make it to my style so that the origins were not that easily recognisable.
You see, before NORMSKI (ROCKSTEADY CREW), JEFFREY DANIELS (SHALAMAR) and even MICHAEL JACKSON, for me, there was JOHN LIVERPOOL. My very own brother. When it came to coolness, style, charisma and funk in dancing, he had it in truck loads. The 70’s was his era and my prep point. I chose to use his style within my popping because, at the time in London, that was something I felt was lacking, funky clublike dancing / popping.
I began to feel so in tune with my body and musical notes (My Father taught me how to read music at a young age), that at one point I was practicing to a metronome. This was Hip Hop from a root level, everything being stripped right down to its rawest form. Hip Hop music has been described as a scavenger music, borrowing from the likes of jazz, rock, soul, classical, etc, but dance is also from this genre (Hip Hop) and, for me, whatever music that can hold a boogaloo form of expression, is Hip Hop enough for me to express myself in a B-Boy fashion. I was in my element. This genre of music and style brought all types of flavours and opportunities to me and I am grateful.
It still goes on today, with people taking it to the next level. The one that stands out the most is a group called B.S.V (Bed Stuy Veterans) whose members include GHOST and BETTY SPAGHETTI. They do a dance called BRUK UP, which is just popping to bashment tunes, but brilliant all the same.
How things have changed….or not.
Wassup! My name is Basil Pepperpot