Dołączył: 04 Lis 2009
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|Wysłany: Pią 12:24, 06 Lis 2009 Temat postu: Wywiad : Break Easy #2 (Dynasty Rockers)
NORIN RAD: Could you just shortly introduce yourself: your person, which crews you are down with and which elements of Hip-Hop are you involved in?
BREAK EASY: Ok. First I wanna start off by saying my name is Richard Santiago, I was born here, in Brooklyn, New York, in 66. I started B-Boying in 1979, but originally before I started b-boying I was doing more of Electric Boogie, the New York Boogaloo. The family that I originally started with as a Boogaloo was Popping Unlimited in Williamsburgh, New York, Brooklyn section. After that we met up with a crew called North Side Breakers; they were just strictly B-Boys so we decided to join forces and then create a crew called Breaking in Style representing the Williamsbourgh Brooklyn location. There is where I really picked up a lot of my b-boy skills. And that's where I originated to become a very popular B-Boy in this section of Brooklyn.
They know me as Break Easy because when I was younger I used to make the footwork just look so smooth and that's basically called 'suave' and I was like 'ok, cool, Easy'. Then they used to call me 'hey, there's Break Easy'.
The family that I roll with right now is my mediate B-Boy family which is Breaking in Style. Unfortunately, it's not the original members, it's the new generation of Breaking in Style, and those I consider my students. The family that I do strongly belong to in this day is Dynasty Rockers led by King Uprock and Danny Boy. Danny Boy is still the original leader, but the more active one is Ralph Casanova known as King Uprock in the Hip-Hop world.
The elements that I respect the most is the DJing aspect because I'm a DJ myself. So, I represent two of the elements which is the dance and the DJ.
NORIN RAD: Alright, now we gonna get a little bit deeper into the whole rocking thing cause unfortunately in Europe a lot of people they have nothing but really crazy misconcepions of this dance: there are such terms out like 'battle uprock' and this and that and they use it just like a bad copy and they just use it to start their dancing off. It's hard to give a brief overview of it, but could you tell us a little bit about the history of Brooklyn rocking and could you confirm whether it's an own dance form, or not?!
BREAK EASY: First of all to start off with, there is no such thing as Brooklyn rocking, there is no such thing as b-boy top-rocking or (?); it's a mixture. It's called 'the rock' or 'rocking'. That's the original name of the dance. It was later changed because of the fact that when they would have a rock competition people thought that it was rock bands at that time frame. This is going back into the late sixties. So people would come down and they would expect a funk band or a rock band to come in and play that rock sound. Unfortunately it had to change the name and it was called 'uprock'.
Now, the history of it starts from the early gang members out in New York city, here in Brooklyn specifically, in the Bushwick section. The original gangs that started would have to start up with Apache, Devil Rebels, which is still a gang that's still alive and kicking it. Apache was more of a jerker: he knew how to jerk, he knew how to make fun of people when it came to his dance. And, again, rocking was a full contact dance. It didn't have it's dancing aspect, yet, at that early years. These were gang members that were doing it. Along comes another guy whose name is Apache, whose very flexible. He knew how to split, he know how to kick.
NORIN RAD: Rubberband?
BREAK EASY: Right. So then this individual used to come down and he would just hit the floor, boom. So, Apache had one guy that knew how to jerk and fuck around with people. Pardon my language, but that's the way they used to just do it: strictly raw shit. It was full contact, your hand would hit your opponent's chest, but they started changing it: they started manipulating the sounds and choreographing their body to it. This is again in the late sixties that the rock dance started, but they didn't come with the dancing aspect until the seventies when the disco sound was coming in. And that's when the dances started to change a little bit. Now you saw more footwork patterns, it involved the Lyndi Hop. If you don't know anything about the Lyndi Hop, that's a late sixties dance. These rockers started changing their form: instead of touching they started touching 'but let's see what we can do to each other to the rhythms'. It became more a dance aspect. The early years of rocking was vey raw, very ruff. So if you notice in Brooklyn you see the older bikers or older rockers you'll see a different style than the rockers of the seventies generation which is like the early King Uprocks or Little Dave and Clarkie which go another ten years before even I came about. For us in Brooklyn, the rock was just another dance, it was not a part of the Hip-Hop culture, it had nothing to do with b-boying, it was a totally different dance where you listen to the song from beginning to end and when the break of the song would come off, that's when you actually execute your jerks. A lotta people got this conception that the jerk and the burn is the same thing: you could burn anytime in your freestyle and then when the jerk comes in you can still burn there. But b-boys they had this constant shuffle-shuffle-down where they think that 'ok, only that shuffle-shuffle-down' is where you have to battle somebody'. It doesn't work like that. You step up to Brooklyn with the b-boy toprock ad you try to dance the whole song - they can't do it. And you know why? - They're b-boys, they only break on the break, a small part of the record. They go in, quickly do their thing, step out. A rocker will stay there from the beginning the record plays to where the brother or the sister that's singing in that song is saying something to you and then actually acting out the dance; and when the break comes in they come up with the jerks, and they're still dancing until the end of the song. And if you're a DJ you know that a lot of records in the early years where anywhere from three minutes long to 24 minutes long for a song. And these rockers would keep on dancing record after record after record. If you look at your vinyl collection, for you DJs, and you listen to that old school rock sound or old school soul sound then you'll know that the records were not three minutes long or five minutes like they are now. Those record go for a long time. 'Hum along and Dance' itself is a fifteen minute record. Rare Earth 'Get Ready' is a twenty-four minute record. 'Keep on Tryin' is an eight and a half minute record. So if you gonna tell me that if a b-boy decides to compete in rocking or says that he's a rocker with his shuffle-shuffle-down to step up to the place and dance a record I don't think that they'll last.
NORIN RAD: Could you name several of the greatest dancers in this dance form called rocking, and some of the best crew that were ever out there!?
BREAK EASY: Definitely it was the ones who started it off. I gotta give it to Apache, I gotta give it to Rubberband. I never got to meet those guys. Actually I never got to meet Rubberband; I have met Apache and the guy can still do it. But if I would have to dance against Apache I will have to watch my back cause that brother still got the kicks and the jerks! But again, his mind is set in the old school rock. So if he does rock against me I know I would expect to get kicked, I would expect to get hit cause his hands will be flying all up in my face. For that I respect it cause it's the early rocking, but then for the classic rockers, such as Little Dave, that's my nigga: he and I, we still dance together whenever I meet up to him. I look up to him as if he were my father. I'm only 37 years old, these rockers are about 48 years old, they have another ten years over me. Clarkie was my mentor, my teacher and I definitely respect him. He's one of the classic rockers - for freestyle. I love his freestyle! His freestyle combinations with jerks, his rhythms; he represents Dynamic Spinners and that's right here from this section of Brooklyn, which is Williamsburgh. Little Dave represents the Bushwick side of Brooklyn and Little Dave has some good jerks and he does a lot of these old burns as well, and he's very rhythmic. You have Danny Boy from Dynasty. You have Noel from Touch of Rock. You have Manny from Romantic Rockers. You have so many other pioneers here who are strong in different qualities of rocking. When you see a rocker you just don't look at him because he can do the freestyle and the burns, but how well he/ she knows the music cause you got girls, like Diana from Dynasty Juniors. She was fucking fierce and she can still dance. There's a lot of guys that I definitely wanna give a shoutout: there's Freddy Roll, there's Born to Rock, Mr. Loose, who still does his shit. If you go into the clubs in the city right now, you play one of the tunes for him, that brother's still gonna go off. I don't think he gives a fuck if you're a b-boy or not. He says 'if you can't dance on this dancefloor, there's no need for you to be here!'.
NORIN RAD: Could you explain why rocking is considered to be the father of b-boying!?
BREAK EASY: There is no doubt that rocking is a father to the b-boying. Rocking has evolved in the seventies, but it originated in the sixities. So up in the Bronx I can expect that when they started seeing the dance they started understanding some of the sideviews of it to do the shuffle-shuffle-down, but they didn't grasp it. A lot of dancing that the b-boys do starts off with the toprocking which is really nothing but a mimic of what rocking is. All what the Bronx did is add some more footwork to it what we consider downrocking. What happened was the Bronx just developed it by adding more spins, adding some freezes, adding some more rhythm to the downrocking part of it. So later, you have the b-boy evolution that started in 1975/ '76, some people question it whether it was '75/ '76, for the origination of the b-boying. And the b-boying started happening because of the KungFu movies. So, there's almost a twelve year difference between rocking first and then b-boying later. B-boys are now trying to combine b-boying ad rocking to become one, and it's not; they're two different dances. A lot of people get this confusion that 'if I'm a b-boy I'm gonna rock you first and then hit the floor!'. I'm sorry, but it doesn't go like that. The game back then was 'if you rock you rock; if you b-boy you b-boy!'. You had to have flavor in your rocking skills on top of your freestyle, your burns, your jerks. If you're a b-boy you had to have your flavor in your footwork, your freezes and how you came out with your attitude, especially when you was hitting your freezes to the rhythm. B-Boys in our [=Break Easy's] generation were hitting rhythms, b-boys in this generation are looking for the spins.
NORIN RAD: You draw a nice connection to the next part of my questions cause a lot of people might not know that you are also an extremely fresh b-boy. As you just mentionened, back in the days, people were hitting rhythms and nowadays they have lost this. So, how important is it, in terms of b-boying to have the foundation down: footwork, freezes, toprocking, etc. ? Would you say that this is vanishing and if so why is it vanishing? Is it because of the proliferation of all of these videos from the west coast?
BREAK EASY: Right now for the b-boy community, I don't wanna knock all the b-boys; there's a lot of B-boys that follow the roots, which is your fundamentals, which is your foundations - what the oldschool guys will say. When we were younger, we grew up listening to the music first; we liked the rhythm and moved to it. So as B-boys for our generation we made sure that our moves were clean rhythmicaly to the beats that we were listening to. We never sped up the record to us, no, we had to adjust to the music that was playing! That's the way we had to flow: we had to flow with the rhythm that's being played.
In this day and age it seems that the Y2K B-boys come in now. I love that they master a lot of body mechnics, but their soul is gone! I don't wanna see robots out there doing moves, I wanna see people that have rhythm, people that have soul, people that, when I look at and I cut their music down, I can see their body still giving me a rhythm with their Footwork. I wanna see somebody hit a Freeze on the Break of the record or when the record's climaxing - I wanna be taken on a journey that if you're a B-boy you gotta be able to capture my eye with the poses that you come down with, especially in your Freezes. A lot of these B-boys coming in doing a Ninety or a Flare and that's it and call themselves a B-boy. I'm like 'no, my man!' You wanna step up to the place, you gotta come down with your Toprock, which is introducing to your opponent who you are! Show me your falvor with your Toprock! Next thing, you're gonna show me your fierce wickedness in Footwork! I wanna see you do Footwork, not just throw your body on the floor and expect that to be a Footwork. No! Footwork means your hands and feet on the floor doing some rhythmic patterns, some Shuffles, some Sixsteps. Then, your freeze is just like a story: you got your intro, which is your Toprock, you got your story, which is your Footwork, then your conclusion is your Freeze. Come down and slap me down with a Freeze! I don't care what the Freeze is gonna be; it doesn't always have to be a Baby. Remember of Freezes that any part in your dance you can just stop in a character pose. Strike a pose, put some flavor, put some feeling into it!
At the same time, when we were younger, we used to dress wonderfully. The clothes that we wore had to be perfect for what we wanted to do as B-boys. We just didn't go there with three-piece-suit and expect to be B-boys and comfortable like that, no! You gotta be dressed comfortable and your gear is gotta be fresh, is gotta be dope, is gotta be clean! If you're a B-boy and you do Headspins you come in with your head and that's it! You don't come in with a freaking pilot's hat on top of your head or with a white glove that's all shiny and stuff to do Handglides! No, you came down with your body, your body is the weapon! And as a B-boy that's what you're coming down [with]. You come down with your own flavor.
So it's very important for B-boys now to listen to music, introduce themselves by doing the Toprock, the Footwork, the Freeze. If you got spins use them, but don't let that be your only move!
NORIN RAD: How you feel about the proliferation of the B-boy videos: what are the good sides and what are the bad sides; is it rather a good phenomenon or a bad phenomenon for Hip-Hop?
BREAK EASY: When it comes to B-Boys coming out in videos, it's cool if you wanna make a living doing that, but again, if you wanna make a living temporarely, it's not gonna pay bills as long term. I'm a true B-boy in a sense that when I listen to a song or a rhythm I'm gonna get open cause the rhythm is calling me out and I gotta respect that rhythm and I gotta answer that call. Cause as B-boys you know that if you hear a dope track you gotta get open, it's calling you. It's calling your name to get on the floor. And it's the same thing with Hip-Hop culture: it's calling you out. When it's coming to the videoing the good part is that it's giving our B-boys a chance to come out and expose themselves. The bad side is that the B-boys still are not aware of how hey can be abused by the media. The media is, again, taking advantage of theses young kids, and even some old kids, which are the new Oldschool B-boys that are coming out, they being abused, they being pimped. The media is not giving you the full story of what it is to be in the life of a B-boy. They just show you some guy spinning on his head or Flares in the city and say 'Breakdancing' again. No, we're B-boys, we're Rockers, we're Boogaloos, we're Poppers, we're MCs, we're Turntablist, we're DJs. We're just not Hip-Hop, one piece. The advantage, like I said, is the fact that people becoming aware about what B-boys are really about and what lifestyle we as B-boys have. It's not an easy lifestyle.
NORIN RAD: The next section of questions relates to the element which, in my opinion, is the most important in Hip-Hop: it's about DJing because you're also a very good DJ. I wanna draw the connection line from the B-boying to the DJing and talk a little bit about the institution called the 'Jam'. In Europe we have this miserable phenomenon that a lot of these young B-boys who come out, just as you described earlier, they don't dance anymore. Those young B-boys, they don't party anymore: it's all about competition nowadays. How you feel about this phenomenon?
BREAK EASY: I'm gonna answer that question in two parts. The first part, 'Jams'. I love going to Jams, but where Jams is defined the way that I'm gonna define it to you right now: a Jam is where people are coming together to listen to the DJ throwing some beats. It does not necessarily have to be pure Breakbeats like it is today. It's about coming together as a community, as a family, or as all the Hip-Hop elements coming together ad show unity. And it's about the DJ cutting up records, mixing it, and like I said, it doesn't always have to be Breaks. Play some slow jams, we're having a party, we're jamming here! The B-boys, the Lockers wanna come down and party with us, beautiful! MCs wanna get up at the mic if the DJs are willing to open up the mic, let's rock the party! You'll have your DJ, you'll have your MC together. A graff writer wants to draw some images of B-boys and MCs on there, that's where all this comes in. Look at all these different faces, look at all these different people, they share and express this whole harmony that we have when we're at a Jam.
The Jams that are happening nowadays, they have one mission. And their mission rigt now is to make money off the B-boys, and that's it. B-boys are going to advance because they wanna make 100/ 200/ 500 $ for a competition. It's right now about the money for the B-boys. They wanna go out there and prove that they're best, but they gonna be dancing like monkees with little tin cups saying that 'if you wanna see me dance, here, pay me!'. I'm sorry, I don't like that! That's the way the events are happening in other cultures, in other parts of the world. Come back down to the way we do it out here! Here in New York [...] are Jams out here that do everything: we have the DJ, we have the MCs, we have 'em all there.
NORIN RAD: Would you say that a true B-boy shouldn't just go with the competition, that he should mingle with the crowd, too, and just have fun?
BREAK EASY: Yeah! Before you're a B-Boy, you're a person and what does a person do? - Hang out, chill, parlay; meet up with a lady friend of his. Or vice versa: a girl that's down with the Hip-Hop culture might wanna meet a guy because maybe the guy looks suave or he's a good player or a good MC, or he just looks good. That's what we used to go to Jams for: so we could look good to girls. Girls say 'I wanna see how that brother dances. That brother's sweet. Yo, papi (?), come over here'. That's what it came down to for us having a Jam. Norin, I'm glad that you bring that point across! I heard you were listening to some of my tapes where I was spinning and I had my boys up MCing on it and we're just having a good trip mission (?). I wish I would go to more events were they would do it. Instead of having a DJ come in and he's playing CD after CD track I wanna see the DJ put on some vinyl and say 'listen to this record, people! This is a new record that maybe you guys have never seen the way I'm gonna bring this record to life'. And then the B-Boys feel that vibe.
NORIN RAD: The next question consits of three parts. First part: How important is the role of he DJ in Hip-Hop culture to you? How would you define a real Hip-Hop DJ for you cause there's another bad phenomenon in Europe that it's all about Scratching now. People scratch their brains out but they cannot rock a party anymore: How do you feel about this phenomenon? How important is it for a DJ to do Crate Digging?
BREAK EASY: To be a DJ is being able to be diverse in your music selection. So you have to go out there and look out for any sound that you feel you can work with to bring a party to happen. As a DJ you have to open up your mind, open up your ears for sounds. When you DJ it's not about you, it's about the people, the crowd that you're gonna play for. As a DJ, myself personally speaking, I love to play for a group of people that will dance to what I play. But not because of the records that I love, but because of the records that I know the people like and there is a reciprocal effect happening: as a DJ I will play a record. If the people are feeling it they will dance and that energy transfers to me. The thing about being powerful as a DJ is the fact that you're controlling people's emotions. You can start up with a rhythm that's very slow and sexy and get couple (?) involved; then you can bring it up to a crazy Funk feeling that everyone gets all spiritual and all crazy, the B-Boys get open. Then, after that, you wanna slow it down and bring it back down so people will be able to calm down. As a DJ you have to be able to control the party, you have to rock a party. Know that your music selection is gotta to be so big, from slow to fast, from jazzy to lounge, from something that you wana be able to have (?).
The second aspect about being able to have all these different techniques: it's fine if you can cut and scratch, but that party is not all about Cutting and Scratching. The way that we rock a party is that we play a record from beginning to end. If there's a Break there is one extent, we'll cut it, we're giving some more life to it to make the record longer; but a party is not about just Scratching the whole night long. The early DJs were not about Scratching; the early DJs were all about blending records, making two records that have nothing to do with each other mixing together and let them ride together. It's like taking a man and woman together in a wedding: you're marrying these two record and giving it a new sound, creating another baby. I don't see enough DJs doing that. I wish there would be more DJs that focus on learning how to rock the party and what the people want, as opposed to doing all the Cuts and Scratching. I do cut and Scratching, but only to a minimal extent, cause a lot of people still don't understand or haven't caught on to the Turntablism.
The third part 'bout digging for your sounds: if you wana be a Dj there's gotta be a certain vibe that you throw off to people. So by going out there and looking for those certain records that you like and you think you can do work with to make the people like and enjoy you're doing two things: one is the music that your playing creates. There's this image of the sound that when somebody hears your name as a DJ, 'yeah, that DJ Suave is gonna play here or Easy, or Dan Duce (?) is gonna be representing here or King Uprock then come up with his funky raw sound'. If people know because of the record election that you play they gonna come back to you. So you have to go out there and dig for those sounds. As a DJ I'm always digging, even up to this day I'm digging, cause a lotta people don't realize just how many records are out there. Every time I go to a record shop and I look from records piled from the floor to the ceiling I look at all those artists that are there saying that 'somebody's gonna play my shit. I want my record to be the number one record'. How many people thought about that and look at all those records that are just thrown out there in the streets? Our responsibility as DJs is to pick up tht vinyl; take a look at it, listen to that sound that might be in it and if you can incorporate it and bring it to the party and make these people appreciate it. So it's very important that DJs go out there and dig for that (?) sound that is missing in their set or maybe they can add to their set; and that's what you want.
NORIN RAD: That would mean that Crate Diggin is a vey important part of DJing. We could conclude that the Final Scratch technology isn't that good for original DJing cause everybody can just download shit and it's not about being original anymore!? What would you say?
BREAK EASY: When you're talking about Final Scratch then you're talking about software. Technology helps us to become a little bit more flexible without technique, but technology also has a downside to it: it helps us not to become as mentally and physically technical about our skills any more. It's taking away out capability to scratch, it's taking away our capability to touch the vinyl and manipulate it in so many different ways. It's easier to press the button and have, maybe, a simple double time scratch coming, but it's a beautiful thing when you can see it live, a Dj who is a composer, in a way, actually making a beat do that. Technology makes the output easy, but it makes men lazy and I'm not about being lazy.
If you're gonna be in this Hip-Hop culture (?) it's about a challenge, and Hip-Hop is always challenging you; it's asking you 'what can you bring to the table?'. Hip-Hop is challenging you and it happens in all the elements. An MC, your being challenged. Hip-Hop is telling you as an MC 'yo, I got another rapper in here that's gonna come up against you. What you gonna do now? Hey, DJ, you're the one that rocking the party? I think I can rock a better party than you! What you do now?'. When it comes to the Hip-Hop culture Hip-Hop is always asking you something; it's challenging you. Here in the Americas, not just New York cause it's not all about New York now, when it comes to Hip-Hop culture it may have started here in New York City, Uptown Bronx, but the bottom line is Hip-Hop is asking you something right now, it's giving you challenges and you're being challenged at. As a DJ you're challenging another DJ: who can rock the party, who got the most diverse records, who can do the most technique of music blending, of Juggling, of Scratching. As an MC you're testing your skills, not because you can just throw linguistics, but how you gonna harmonize to the rhythm. As a Beatboxer, I love listening to Beatboxers that open their mind to create their own rhythmic patterns cause they get overlooked and I gotta give Beatboxers much props! They're MCs, too. They know how to take the mic and do some damage and people overlook them. The dancer is another one that gets overlooked sometimes because they may go to an event, DJs may rocking some beats, but the beat is not what the people are feeling, so dancers may not get that much appreciated by the DJ. Your graff writers project theit images from their heart or what they see in the Hip-Hop culture. When it comes to Hip-Hop, the culture itself, you gotta put all the puzzles together. A DJ can not live by itself, the MC cannot live by itself. Hip-Hop needs all those elements together to be Hip-Hop. If those elements were solo we still be doing DJing in that corner, MCing in that corner, B-Boys in the other corner and Graffiti writers in the other corner. A lot of people don't understand that the way that I define Hip-Hop culture is a culture that embraces all cultures: it doesn't matter about your color, it doesn't matter about you language, doesn't matter about the religion that you believe in; it's about all the people on this planet, on the next planet, on the following planet, next galaxy coming together under one move. To me, that's what Hip-Hop is: the gathering of people coming together. I think P-Funk said it: 'one nation under a groove'. This is our groove, people, this is Hip-Hop! Hip-Hop is one groove, one piece. When you look at Hip-Hop think of Hip-Hop as your temple, as your body: the head needs the hands, needs the arms, needs the body, but guess what people: Hip-Hop is the entire entitiy. The MC is the right hand; the left had is the DJ. Your B-Boys are your feet. Then you got your Graffiti writers which is like your spirit cause that's the creative imagination that comes out. You all need each other cause if not you're incomplete.
NORIN RAD: That's beautiful cause now I'm coming to the last questions that are directed towards your opinion of Hip-Hop culture in general. Since you're from Brooklyn, what would you say concerning the importance of this borough of New York City in the creation process of this Hip-Hop culture and its various elements; would you say it's overlooked?
BREAK EASY: What I'm gonna say about Brooklyn is what I tell everybody: wherever I walk, wherever I step that's Brooklyn. I can be right now in Japan, in the moment I step on that ground that's Brooklyn. When they say that Brooklyn keeps on taking it, yeah, we take it! But you know what, we take it cause people let us take it. But I don't wanna come down hard like that either; I just wanna say that when it comes to the whole Hip-Hop culture, the origins of the idea of Hip-Hop started up in the Bronx. I give Bam much respect for that, but you also have to realize that the Jams that were up there in the Bronx, if you ever took a head count and went back to those parties happening uptown and if you took an attendance of who was from what boroughs, you're gonna find all five boroughs were in there. It's not about Brooklyn, it's not about Queens, it's not about the Bronx, it's not about Manhattan or Staten Island; it's about us coming together. That's something that I stress and I teach my kids, peoples, my family to believe that Hip-Hop is not about Brooklyn, it's not about the Bronx, it's not about Queens. Bronx was just lucky and fortunate that the idea started there, but the unification of all these boroughs is what keeps it alive. New York City is one state that cannot be New York City if it didn't have Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens...
NORIN RAD: Could you share some light on some early DJs in Brooklyn that are generally overlooked by the so-called Hip-Hop history books!?
BREAK EASY: When it comes to Dj, let me see: I'll give it to a lotta DJs that are from my area, Williamsburgh. One of the popular DJs out here in Brooklyn was Flowers. He was a blender, an amazing DJ.
NORIN RAD: And he was cutting, too, right?
BREAK EASY: Yeah, Grandmaster Flowers was cutting. DJs here in Brooklyn were mixing DJs or what people call Disco DJs; but a lotta people get it confused thinking that it's Disco DJ as in just the music Disco, no! 'Disco' means record. That's why they were calling em Disco DJs cause if you guys are DJs out there you know that the earlier records were called 'Discus' or 'Discos'. So that's why they call em Discos DJs. Flowers was one of those DJs and the techniques that you had to use were Blending: fading one record in, fading one record out to the same rhythm, but if you know that there was a Break you extended it so, of course, you had to cut from one record to the next, so Flowers was doing it. One of the best DJs out here that had power was DJ Amp. That brother's from East New York, Bushwick. Forget about it, that nigga way pure power. King Uprock can tell you more information on DJ Amp cause I believe King Uprock still has some of DJ Amp's amps. Around here we had some other Djs like Johnny Toto (?). He was good with Breaks, nothing but Disko Breaks, for that time in the seventies when Paul Winley (?) was throwing out all the Super Disko Breaks.
NORIN RAD: Which time frame are we talking when we mention guys like Grandmaster Flowers and Johnny Toto?
BREAK EASY: Grandmaster Flowers is a late sixties/ early seventies DJ. So when everyone's looking for Kool Herc, yeah, he was a DJ. Was he a good DJ? - On the books (?), no. Was he a very good promoter? - Hell yeah! If you do your research very well in this aspect of it then you know about Grandwizard Theodore; he did create the Needle Drop. It's not to be confused with the Scratching element. Remember, Needle Drop is just taking one turntable and, picking up the record and dropping it back on cue. I seen Theodore do it and he still does it and he does it the way it is supposed to be done. (?), one turntable and that's it; no two turntables. I seen him do one turntable, that nigga can do it. It's the Needle Drop, not a Scratch. His Backcuing which is the Scratch, he did perfect it, but he was not the first one. I'm sorry to say that, it's not right. People out there gotta do some research. You just can't volleyball one book reference to another book. You've gotta go out there and find the first book that was written about the Hip-Hop culture and ask those people behind them! You can't always play ping-pong or volleyball between two books!
NORIN RAD: You just mentioned Afrika Bambaataa earlier. My crew, the Intruders, are all somhow attached to the Zulu Nation. What is your relationship to the Universal Zulu Nation, now and back then?
BREAK EASY: To the Universal Zul Nation known today, I feel sorry for them in a way because they're not reinforcing the mathematics that I grew up learning when I was a young buck, a young shorty. Bam is the main one; he takes in all the people. He takes all the lost children and takes them into the Zulu family to give them a family, a home. I bless Bam for that, beautiful! But what I wish the Zulu Nation would do is teach more, go back to the original frame of mind when they would actually studying the knowledge, the scriptures of Bible, the Koran. It was a time when I was growing up that the Universal Zulu Nation, back then it was just called Zulu Nation, with a small family wasn't worldwide like it is now. Back then I used to walk down with Gods, Allah (?), they knew the Bible forwards, backwards, they knew the mathematics, they knew the scriptures for the date. Right now I don't see a kid that can give me a quote from the Bible. I don't see anybody that knows the whole history of phenomenon of what it is to be in this solid earth; doen't know about how we need each other. A person by himself cannot survive; a person needs another to be accepted and to be rejected. The reason that I say accepted and rejected is that you cannot appreciate the good without the bad. It's a blance in everything you do; it's a challenge for everybody.
For Zulu Nation then, they were on top of their peoples. They had chapters and each chapter was meeting with their headleaders and they did their stuff properly when it came to supporting each other.
Now with the new Zulu Nation, they're still a family, a pretty big family. I know it's hard for them, but I wish they would go back to the old teachings.
Lack of Knowledge
NORIN RAD: The next question, which is one of my last, is a very, very complex question. It's a question that really occupies my mind and pretty much all the minds of all the guys who are down with my crew and most guys in Germany who take Hip-Hop serious: Hip-Hop nowadays is not only New York City anymore and it's not only in the United States anymore, it's a global thing; the way it looks now to me is that it's getting bigger, but the quality is not necessarily rising with this process of enlarging. Do you see a danger that Hip-Hop will fall apart one day because the people lack the essential kinda knowledge? You said, and I totally agree on that, that the DJ can DJ just for himself, he can go to scratching competitions; a rapper can rap all the time and publish his records, but Hip-Hop as a culture can only function if we as a culture stay together as one unity. Where are the problems nowadays and do you see any kinda ways that we should have; is there any proposal you could make; what needs Hip-Hop nowadays?
BREAK EASY: You just brought something that I been aware of about Hip-Hop's quality. The Hip-Hop culture is suffering right now because instead of coming together we're drifting apart. MCs are out there dropping vinyl. I agree they're dropping vinyl without the aid of a DJ. When they do start of looking for a record label they do have a DJ there just fo the DJ to pick the beat. But once the beat is found they sample it, they loop it, they digitalize it and they go to an event with a DAT or a CD. That's the way they come; they no longer need the DJ for that. Guess what, the MC's now by himself with a band of other MCs, with no DJ. That's cool for the MC, but that's bad for the Hip-Hop culture cause we need each other. Because of that you have the DJs that are coming out with their own albums, without no rappers, which is another sad part. DJs are good because they can supply the music; believe me or not, this is something that I believe very strong, the big complement (?) to the Hip-Hop culture is the DJ. DJs out there, if you're spinning your beats, keep it up cause you are really the blood of the whole Hip-Hop culture. Without the DJ you don't have the MC there to get on the mic. Without the DJ you're not gonna have the Graff Writer to be able to express 'emselves (?) sound the DJ's playing. The music can be slow, guess what, the Graff Writer is gonna write something mellow. Whereas the rhythm is hot and heavy and raw and dirty he's gonna do something more to that liking. For the dancers, too: if we didn't have the DJs we wouldn't have the dances. If those DJs were not there looking for those classic records that we get funky with then we wouldn't have ll these different dances as well. It is sad to see that if the elements don't come together Hip-Hop will just disappear and all the elements will go back to the original states. There's two ways of looking at it: before Hip-Hop all the elements were by themselves and they were individual. You never saw Graffiti Writers right to MCs. You never saw DJs right to MCs, you never saw DJs right to the dancers. You never saw that. Hip-Hop was able to bring all that stuff together. Unless we don't get our act together and have Jams for the sake of partying and coming together, it's a sad story, but Hip-Hop is going down the shit hole. Another thing that we have to be honest for ourselves is that we, the participants of this Hip-Hop culture in any of the elements, we have to take control of our shit! MCs is got to be aware that when you go out there and do business you hav to be disciplined in heart and of quite a knowledge that will prepare you for that business so you won't be pimped by the industry cause this industry is not there to pimp any of the elements.
NORIN RAD: That's another question that I would like to ask: To me it seems that we, the guys who are Hip-Hop, who are deeply rooted in the underground and keep the culture alive, would you agree that one could almost claim that we're not even controlling our culture anymore because the corporations of any kind, people who publish videos on Graff, people who publish this and that, they make a lot of money out of us and they also put a lot of misconceptions out; would you say that that's true?
BREAK EASY: I would say for the big corporations, yes, that is very true because they will actually advertise and pimp out any of the elements. For example, MTV: MTV pimps dancers. They pimp dancers cause (?) their asses on stage, especially the ladies, which are my queens, my Latin princesses, my Aphrodite white alabaster goddesses, my Asian princesses; we gotta look out or them! A lot of people don't realize that. When I was growing up, the guys, we were always worried about getting the girl's number, digits. The more numbers you had the more of a smooth operator you were. Now you got music such as the Rap that's coming out with vulgar language disrespecting our ladies. It's not like that. If we don't control ourselves to control what crafts or knowledge that we have, or a skill, whether it's MCing or DJing, yeah, the business is gonna pimp you! That's why when you deal with corporations you have to be very well prepared on learning how to deal with the business.
When people see me in the Hip-Hop community they look at me not only as a B-Boy or a Rocker, they look at me as a mentor or teacher because I don't only come into this Hip-Hop as a B-Boy or Rocker; I'm an accountant. We need (?) business minded people to contribute in the Hip-Hop community. Don't let the business take it all.
NORIN RAD: I mentioned the Zulu Nation before and they had phraes like 'each one teach one' and these kinda things. Do you think there would be one way of improving the situation if you would just focus a little bit more on those old phrase, which many people claim to be played out?
BREAK EASY: That's the fifth element in Hip-Hop culture that no one speaks about, which is the creative unity. It's out responsibility to pass on the information that we have on to other peoples. Other people not only mean the people that are participants in the Hip-Hop culture, but those that are ignorant to the Hip-Hp culture. Creative unity means taking what you've acquired, passing on the information to someone else. At the same time leaving enough of that other person that you're teaching to add input to theit own experience cause Hip-Hop is still growing. Remember, Hip-Hop culture is not even thirty years old, it's practically hitting twenty-five years old right now and it's still young, still a young puppy. All these cultures have thousand and thousand of years as an established culture, but the beautiful part about this Hip-Hop culture is that we are the youngest ones, but we take in everybody. If you think about it, no culture can do that and no culture can say that. It's up to us, it's our, the older, especially people from my generation, the older B-Boys, the older DJs, the older MCs, responsibility to pass on that knowledge to our young teachers and leaders.
Advice to the Youth
NORIN RAD: Which advice would you give to the new generation coming up now, the fourteen/ fifteen year-olds, and maybe even younger, if, not a career, but they want to make Hip-Hop a part of their life? That's the first part of the question and the second part is, how important is it for people, this goes out to all the guys who diss the Intruders for trying to pass on knowledge, how important is it to acquire knowledeg about Hip-Hop and the history?
BREAK EASY: If you're coming into this Hip-Hop world, into this Hip-Hop game and you say you're down with Hip-Hop how are you gonna know what direction you gonna walk into, what your feature is if you don't know whre you came from. You have to know your history before you can go out and create another part of history because you don't wanna make the same mistakes we had in the early yeas of Hip-Hop. You guys actually have a lot of the Oldschool cats right now that can tell you what happened back in the days, so when you guys face that challenge you won't even come across that same boundary or that same challenge or obstacle that's gonna get in your way. It's important for brothers to come back to understand what the true Hip-Hop family is all about, as opposed to say 'I'm a Hip-Hop, I don't care what happened back in the days'. You have to care what happened because if that didn't happen back in the days you wouldn't be here. You guys would not be here if it wasn't for guys first hitting the floor. You guys would not be here if it wasn't for the first MCs recording their battles live on tape. All this stuf that you are appreciating now is the result of the blood, sweat, tears of brothers from the past. Everytime I go out to any event I always bow my head down to all my brothers from the O.G. school, from the Old School, cause I'm respecting the westcoast, too. In the westcoast they consider their old family O.G. and here in the eastcoast we just call em Old School. I always nod my head down and give a moment of blessings to my brothers that are fallen. For you guys that don't care about the Old School, alright, cool; I give you your respect for that, but one day you're gonna realize that was not the way to go. It comes down to, you have to appreciate what you have because of those people that made it happen for you guys. We opened up the doors for you guys to do this and now the door's open you gotta be able to watch who's comig through that door cause Big Brother is gonna come in, the business guys is gonna come in there and scoop your MC lyrics and pimp you. It's gonna take your clothing style and pimp you. The big corporations is gonna come in there and make a hat called 'Kangol Two' and say that it's part of the Hip-Hop culture and you guys are gonna go to store and buy it because the business tells you to. So for you brothers who say that you don't need the knowledge from the Old School, I feel sorry for you. If it's your mind, go ahead, more power to you, but wouldn't it be a blessing if you had that knowledge that we had to add more flavor to your game? That'sall I have to say and once agin, thank you very much, Noin, for this interview!
NORIN RAD: You got any closing words?
BREAK EASY: Yeah, for the Intruders fam, Norin's come out here, he's been hanging out learning some Rocking, acquiring some information on music, he's appreciating a lot of music that we have out here; he's been here like practically twice a week in my crib just checking out my vinyl, watching some old (?) live shit, watching some old video from Biz Markie and Isaac Hayes (?); he's come out here and got some good shit for you guys. So Intruders you got a blessing with Norin coming back with this informtion. He's come out here to learn some Rocking techniques, he's dropped some knowledge about his experiences out there in Germany and it opened up my eyes to how people are seeing Rocking.
For thos brothers who wanna come down to New York City and learn Rocking come down to Brooklyn, look out for a lot of Rockers that are out here; not neccessarily myself, you got a few Old School out here that can teach you. You got Lil' Dave (?), Manny (?), Edwin (?); specially King Uprock, he always has his doors open for people that wanna come and learn how to Rock. When you come down here come with at least some knowledge of what Rocking is, what Toprocking is so that you don't get those two mixed up! Listen to as many musics as you want.
For DJs, remember, the best Breakbeats are out right behind your doors, in your own cities, look for those Breakbeats! Norin's learned that, 'yeah, I come down here and I got my own Breakbeats', which is cool, but I will slap (?) you some Breakbeats from other parts of the world that people are still surprised, they're like 'what record is that; where originated from?'. Tell you this much 'it's not New York'. There are a lot of Breakbeats out there; DJs gotta look for that sound!
Intruders, keep it up, hopefully one day I get a video recording of a real Jam, with your MCs, with your DJs, your Graff writers, your B-Boys and Rockers! Keep up the good job out there! Germany, much love! It's nice to have a representative from Germany to come down and do this interview.
To the future B-Boys and the future Rappers and the future DJs, much love to you! Graff writers, come down to New York, we need some more artistic knowledge out here! Peace!
NORIN RAD: Thanks a lot!
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Ostatnio zmieniony przez Wawix dnia Pią 13:10, 06 Lis 2009, w całości zmieniany 3 razy