its not what you wear, its how–

B-Boys/B-Girls have always led the way in terms of street wear. For these dancers, staying ‘fresh’ is imperative. They were, and always the superstars of the party.

Rap-architect KRS-One once said, “[Being] Hip-Hop is to be updated and relevant.”
In other words, it means to be ‘in,’ and know what’s ‘current’–a mentality that Breakers embody in their apparel.

According to Rob Lammie of mental_floss, sneakers boomed in the late ’70s with the increasingly popular Hip-Hop culture, and the emergence of B-Boys. Sneakers got their first global attention through classic Run DMC music videos, but many of us don’t realize that it was the B-Boy dancers who influenced their infamous no-lace style. These party rockers were obsessed with customizing their shoe lace colour and thickness; if they were into Adidas, the classic stripes would be filled in with markers.

When we rock the floor, our sneakers plays a major role in adding that extra ‘flavour’, and that subtle ‘extra’ makes us unique and stand out. For us, our social norm is all about ‘survival of the freshest’.

Dancers of the Hip-Hop mentality basically have an OCD for/not being copied. Nothing irks them more than being ‘bitten’. It has become our duty to flip what’s been done and over-played, including ourselves, thus always striving to earn that unwritten ‘street credit’.

We are artists, innovators. Our body is our canvas and it’s not just what we put on it, but also in addition to how we move and shape it. Hence the term, “it’s not what you wear, but how you rock it.”

The clear difference to this day, between how Breakers wear their outfits, and those that shop in fast-fashion industries, is the intention and energy behind their threads.

savsupreme - bboy

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⇒ enter the Cipher

a cipher @ cypher adikts
In cryptography, a cipher (or cypher) is an     algorithm for performing encryption or decryption—a series of well-defined steps that can be      followed as a procedure.

A ‘Cipher’ in Hip-Hop culture represents an exchange of artistic ideas in the form of a human circle. These circles are conventional rituals and are primarily performed orally(rap/beatbox) or physically(dance); each artist takes their turn in illustrating their own interpretation.

Furthermore, Ciphers, or “Freestyle Circles“, embody the development of Hip-Hop’s arts; this interchange is the main component for aligning the culture with its roots, which maintains its authenticity.
Here are a couple key reasons why Ciphering is crucial to sustaining Hip-Hop’s true personality:

  • the concept of one-upmanship: to be inspired by the person before you and to flip(re-invent) their idea. Regarded as the informal contest to see who exhibits a stronger sense of originality, creativity, and skill, the “street nature” of these artistic dialogues often lead to head on rivalry…
  • Cipher Battles! 1 VS 1 skirmishes in tight spaces are often the highlight of every circle; they are miracle moments that allow artful warriors to catch spiritual highs, revealing their true character. (Battles are sometimes misinterpreted as hostile combats that could escalate, but, 99% of battles end in peaceful handshakes and camaraderie.)

To sum up: Hip-Hop’s traditions of dispute, using nonviolent forms of creative warfare, constantly challenges its members to elevate their craft.

Additionally, there are unwritten laws about how one approaches and behaves in each circle: all Ciphers have their own secret system of trade, hence each Cipher has its own secret code. Thus, every person who wishes to participate must enter the ring with – in the words of Bruce Lee – the mind of an empty teacup–ready to adapt, be tested, and survive.

B-GIRLS

Breakin', or, 'Breakdance' (in mainstream terms) is historically a male dominated culture.

After 11 years of experience, I have been fortunate enough to witness the multitude of Hip-Hop communities across the globe, and I have become acutely aware of a lack of female Breakers at home in Vancouver, Canada.

Where are the B-Girls at?

Breakdance ‘jams’ or ‘battle’ events in Vancity often suffer from B-Girl scarcity; this unbalance of yin and yang energy results in an overtly aggressive atmosphere, which often creates an unappealing vibe. Without this balance, it is no wonder our community has so much difficulty growing.

Two possibilities why:

a) Male breakers do not address this issue with themselves and each other. There is not enough of a conscious effort to include and help B-Girls thrive. (Not that B-Girls need help with their skills, See ‘CONTINUE READING)

Additionally:
i. there is a shortage of suave, savvy, B-Boys who share the dance circle with unwritten etiquette. Too many ‘shark’ the shared space, hunting for confrontations.
ii. there is an assumption that B-boys neglect personal hygiene. (Dancing for hours and sweating profusely and you don’t use deodorant? Come on, BRO.)

b) Females commonly find the dance style itself to be intimidating.

Admittedly, Breakdance, is seen as an hostile and sometimes painful style of dance, requiring extreme athletic ability and considerable upper body strength.

That is not always true.

I believe this intimidation stems from an outdated, overarching societal notion that girls are raised to be ‘soft’ and ‘delicate’ while boys are meant to be ‘tough’, and ‘aggressive.’

By comparison: what about the physical extremes of Ballet – a dance style more common (and more socially accepted) for females? A closer look reveals an exceptionally demanding practice. Although both Breaking and Ballet have completely different form and focus, they rival each other in discipline, technique, and dedication.

Truthfully, the idea of spinning on your head  might not resonate with aspiring B-Girls, but let’s break it down: the head-spin move is an icon – a Breakdance trademark – but it is only an element of what we do; it does not embody the essence of our dance.

After teaching Breakdance to kids for the last 8 years, I’ve managed to assemble an exclusively B-Girl class. After educating them about the true form – not just acrobatic tricks – they realized that this Boogie style could be satiated simply with Toprock grooves and intricate Footwork emphasized with simple, stylish freezes. In short: it was accessible, enjoyable, and real.

As a teacher, participant, and figure within this community, I strive for a future where B-Girling will always be considered a viable art form. We have come to a place where what was meant as a positive outlet for everyone has been misconstrued. Today’s conventions have created a gender divide within this culture.

It is time to shift our perspective in the way we associate gender roles with Breakin’, and allow a new one to flourish.

~SavSupreme

Continue reading B-GIRLS

LFTF / DFTF


LIVE•FOR•THE•FUNK

DIE•FOR•THE•FUNK


 

HIP-HOP: This is my culture, our culture, and your culture, too, if you want.

Wait – Hip-Hop… MUSIC?

No, Hip-Hop CULTURE. A culture that exists in communities all across the globe, no matter their size or economical status. They also exist in our very own city: Vancouver, Canada. Most people are unaware of this movement because, by its very nature, it is what we would describe as an ‘underground hood.’ In other words, you have to be involved with the culture to know what’s happening, but EVERYONE is welcome here…

“Hip-Hop is peace, love, unity, understanding and having fun.” Afrika Bambaata51970_168312149868951_168312046535628_381147_2732970_o

In brief, Hip-Hop is a lifestyle movement started in the early 70s, in the Boogie Down Bronx, NY; it is first and foremost about community. DJ Afrika Bambaataa, one of the Godfathers of Hip-Hop, states: “Hip-Hop is about peace, love, unity, understanding and having fun. Understanding being Knowledge.” Bambaataa promotes the idea that Hip-Hop exists to bring all nations together, under one house. This Hip-Hop ‘house’ is supported by 4 main pillars of art: (in chronological order) Graffiti Art (visual), DJing (audio turntablism), MCing (oral rapporté), and Breakin’ (physical).

Breaking is not what we do, it is who we are.

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I, myself, primarily represent the dance element. WE are called B-Boys and/or B-Bgirls and breaking is not what we do, it is who we are.

What grinds my gears: two misconceptions

1.) I cannot stress this enough, it is NOT called breakdance or breakdancing. ‘Breakdance’ is a label and term coined by the media in the 80s; unable to fully understand this craft, they needed a name that made sense to the general public. The powers of media continue to use this syllogism today for mass appeal: a generalization of things they know nothing about. If they want ratings and followers, it has to relatable and make sense to the masses. It’s the same system that controls most of us to this very day.

Boom, Bap. Ugh.

Boom! Suicidal flop onto their backs. Bap. Crooked, impossible one arm stalls.
Spinning forever on their heads?! Ugh.

I suppose ‘breakdancing’ is almost like an onomatopoeia of what we do. The bulk of media features images of amateurs who are crashing themselves on the floor. I guess ‘break’, and ‘dance’ together would seem logical to the public eye.
And that leads me to my next grind:

and we call that the Funk.

tumblr_mprkmlwiTD1qac7ryo1_4002.) We are not people who artfully hurt ourselves and are constantly found rolling around, mopping the floor. The B-Boy or B-Girl approach to dance is finesse, originality and something called ‘flavour’. It may be labeled as style – but we call it flavour. We get ‘hype’ when we break and, the philosophy is to express that explosive, creative energy, without once losing composure, all the while remaining in the pocket of the music. The ‘pocket’ refers to the groove – and we call that the Funk.

Again, this is a lifestyle. We breathe this culture.

Although I may focus mainly on the dance element, it takes the pursuit of community and knowledge to fully understand Hip-Hop’s roots. Only by understanding where this has come from and how, can we start to build upon this legacy. In my opinion, Hip-Hop is a nation of people who believe in one thing: we are all under one house. There is no other religion or nation out there that has zero prejudice for different beliefs; EVERYONE is welcome under this umbrella. I truly believe in this movement. Every community needs it. Hip-Hop is an artistic outlet suitable for anyone no matter their age or status. The culture bases itself upon bridging communities through art – imagine a world where rivalry and dispute are settled through creative expressions! 

I’d like to add that Hip-Hop saved my life, too, and I feel indebted to sharing its positive powers… but that is a story for another day.

“I live for the Funk, I’ll die for the Funk.”

Until next time.
Boom. Bap. Ugh!

~ SavSupreme

Continue reading LFTF / DFTF

OF

all things in my
body,
my heart lacks
the most discipline.
 
my mother gave
birth to my
hidden
twin.
but he exists in
​my brain tissue – 
inescapable, he is.
so i peer inside
looking at him,
​and
we both cry.​
~