A lot of people such as onlookers of the ghetto dance form and even breakdancers themselves don’t know the true history of the culture. Cool Herc has been labeled the founder of Hip Hop. He played a big part but he was a block party ghetto promoter who brought some of the livest parties together. Within the unity of these parties the fun and excitement created an aura the attendees embraced.
On the contrary, breakdancing evolved from many different forms of dance. An evolution of different music genres and ethnicities having impact on urban youth. Blacks took tap dancing to a new level by getting down on the floor and doing down rock while performing dance routines influenced by such dancers like the Nicholas Brothers. Tap dancing is originally an Irish cultural dance but tap dancing on a professional level today do not allow tap dancers to evolve and incorporate other cultural dance forms into their dance form anymore. This is where down rock came from. Puerto Ricans on the other hand with their carribbean style of dancing evolved such forms like the Mambo and Rumba and gave them a different style of dancing on top. When you put these forms of dance together you start creating a whole new dance style. Just like ghetto DJing evolved when Herc created the Merry-Go-Round system by using two records simultaneously extending certain beats he played to get the crowds excitement and energy going and keep the party rocking. Dj Flash’s improvement of Hercs Merry-Go Round system by introducing a mixer to the house party allowed him to mix beats much longer and change records quicker. After that, Theodore created scratching which is used in todays top DJ competitions to win battles. Before funk came in 1974, breakers were dancing to Led Zepplin and rock music. The environment of the early 70’s in the Bronx dictated what the attitude of the youth would be. Trac 2 quotes, “Back then it was all about being fly. You had the Levi’s creased, the Terry clothed shirts with bucket hats. We would go to other burroughs to battle crews just to show them up and take their girls. Guys like Spy and Mongo Rock had ghetto celebrity status.” Blacks who lived in the same community as Puerto Ricans usually didn’t socialize. What Cool Herc’s outdoor parties allowed was these two different cultures to come together through different ways of interpreting music through dance which created one specific dance form. All these teens of the 70’s had influence from the acid free style rock from the 60’s. When the soldiers came back from Vietnam, anti-Vietnam music changed the tone of the mid 70’s. What became of all the change throughout the last decade up to early 1975 was some of the best rocking / b-boying / breakdancing crews who claimed the roots of breakdancing. You had the Zulu Kings who were known for floor rocking specialized by Beaver and Robbie Rob. Salsoul was the first Puerto Rican crew. Vinnie and Bobby Lee of Salsoul were known for their freestyle off the top rocking. Batch, Aby, Trace 2, and Weeble were the first to establish the Bronx Boy Rocking Crew. They spread different chapters to other communities throughout the Bronx and were the first to do so. The Crazy Commandos (C.C.) Spy, Shorty Rock, and JoJo revolutionized the styles of rocking and b-boying the way it’s done today. Star Child La Rocks, Bos, Blue, & Trac 2 incorporated gymnastics into the dance form. They were the winners of the first b-boy contest ever held in the Bronx in 1978. They also won the first crew battle ever held. They were later televised on Dance Fever to win the first dance competition won by Eddie Vega a Star Child La Hustle member ever held on television. These days hip-hop is used as a marketing tool and concept to promote part of cultural movement such as mc/rappers to be made profitable by corporate America. Back in the day, the actual cultural movement was founded by youths self expression such as graffiti writing, DJing, rocking, b-boying, breakdancing, and MCing. What this culture lost is the true essence on the way the culture was founded because cultural movement was not meant to be profitable originally, but the glits and glam of the rapping lifestyle that is marketed today is what turned out from this true form of art. People sell their cultural movement for pennies on the dollar and loose the integrity of self expression and self empowerment that this cultural movement gave them the power to have. An old wise man once said, “When you look at an old pile of shit its just an old pile of shit, but take a stick and stir that pile of shit up, and smell the stink come back.” What the youth today need to realize is that’s what hip-hop is now and we need to bring back that essence of what this true art form once was.