Whats cracking peoples? Today’s post as you can blatantly see is on the legendery Rock Steady Crew. In my post last week on Futura 2000 I made light of the fact that here at DOAC music is key but as part of the historical journey, but Hip Hop isn’t just music it has other facets which make up the core of Hip Hop as a cultural movement, MCing, DJing, B Boying and Graffiti. So from now there will also be a DOAC post once a week showcasing other figures in the respective niches. Which I think should help to enrich everyones appreciation for hip hop and knowledge. I’m sure you get the picture so lets get down the business with Rock Steady.
Undoubtedly the most highly recognized name in the b-boy world, the Rock Steady Crew was first formed in 1977 in the Bronx, New York. The two man team of Jo Jo and Jimmy D were the original founders. It was an important time for the dance movement. Disco was killing the artform and many b-boys had given up and gone on to other things. Jo Jo was a one time hustler that learned he could gain more notoriety on the dance floor. He is also often credited with inventing the back spin.
In 1979, Jimmy D realized the need for new blood and added in a member that would eventually be scene as a spokesman for the entire organization. That member was Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón. Legs and cousin Lenny len then went on to breath new life into RSC.
RSC used battles as a way of initiation in their crew. A feat hard to accomplish, but this made their crew one of the fiercest in all of New York in the future. Frosty Freeze was an elder b-boy and member of the Rock City Crew but could not settle with a steady crew. He pledged his allegiance to the younger members of RSC to back up any battles they got into.
1981 gave Rock Steady their biggest break, in August photographer Henry Chalfant offered the crew a chance to perform at the Lincoln Center Outdoors Program, covered by local NYC TV stations as well as the New York Times, The Village Voice, The Daily News and National Geographic. They were pitted against rival crew, The Dynamic Rockers, which would later give them worldwide exposure. Founder Jimmy D was so impressed with the hype Crazy Legs had generated for the crew he made him the president of the entire Rock Steady Crew. Legs then inducted two members of the Manhattan chapter, Frosty Freeze and Ken Swift,(from The Young City Boys crew, initiated after battling against Crazy Legs) as Co-Presidents.
In the winter season on ’82 the RSC was invited to perform at the Ritz nightclub that included a list of notable performers such as punk group, Bow Wow Wow, Afrika Bambaataa and the Jazzy 5. After the event Crazy Legs and Frosty Freeze asked Bam if they could join the Zulu Kings, considered to be the most highly respected b-boy crew. Afrika accepted and inducted the entire RSC as members of the Zulu Nation. Soon after this RSC were given the opportunity to expand their organization into a large family like group consisting of women, children, roller skaters, graffiti artists and DJs. Caught up in the diversity of the New York club scene, this move made the group and the breakdance culture bigger than New York City.
By 1983 as the RSC had expanded their entertainment showcase they were managed by Kool Lady Blue, who booked onto the Roxy Tour sponsored by Europe Radio One. This tour carried the RSC, Afrika Bambaataa, Fab Five Freddy, the McDonalds Double Dutch girls, numerous DJs and graffiti artists from the urban jungles of New York to London and Paris and became the very first hip hop music tour. The Crew also appeared on the Jerry Lewis Telethon for the second time that year. In November of that same year Queen Elizabeth asked then to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in aid of the Artists Benevolent Fund. 83 and 84 also found them being featured heavily in the public eye with appearances in now iconic hip hop films such as Wildstyle, Beat Streat and original hip hop documentary Style Wars.
Rock Steady’s finest hour of fame came when members Crazy Legs, Ken Swift, Frosty Freeze and Mr. Freeze were asked to guest appear on the box office smash film “Flashdance”. This lead to a nation wide craze into what was now being called “breakdancing.” It also played heavily into the development of the West Coast b-boy scene. This paved the way for variation of b-boying, namely the “Boogaloo” and “popping”.
They recorded a record for Charisma called “Hey You Rock Steady Crew”. The record is hardly a b-boy anthem, but it did reach the top of the British charts. They also released a single called “Uprock”. Both songs appeared on their album “Ready For Battle”.
Click Song Titles Below To Watch Videos. Go On It’s Hilarious…
When Charisma Records went out of business and was sold to Virgin Records, the group was put on hold indefinitely. During this time, the crew’s management told them not to dance in clubs. They tried to convince them that it was in their best interest not to dance they way they love to. Just for fun. Suddenly the Crew was on the outside looking in. By this time they had lost much of their fame and notoriety. They found themselves at a dead end with no plans for the future. Regardless, the Crew never split up, but they took some time to regroup and they went their separate ways. Some members took an optimistic attitude and went back to school or pursued other interests. Others did not fare so well. However, the Crew kept looking forward and took their anger and disappointment and made something positive.
In 1991 Mr. Wiggles approached Crazy Legs about an idea he and Fable (Magnificent Force) had for a Hip-Hop musical. Crazy Legs (with the help of Mr. Wiggles) then needed to persuade Ken Swift to start dancing again in order to have Ken involved as well. The musical was called “So, What Happens Now?”. Rock Steady member Buck 4 (R.I.P) provided the perfect scenario to base the musical on. He said, “You don’t know what it feels like to go fill out a job application …where it says, ‘what do you do?’ what do I write? I spin on my head?” “So, What Happens Now?” was the critics choice in the New York Times and received rave reviews in The Village Voice, The Daily News and El Diario. In 1992, they received a standing ovation lead by Gregory Hines at the Kennedy Center Honors where President George Bush, Gregory Peck and the Nicholas Brothers were all in attendance.
A Rock Steady Crew Anniversary is held annually to symbolize the preservation of the history and evolution of Hip-Hop Culture. This monumental community event brings out DJ’s, b-boys/b-girls, graffiti artists, emcees and thousands of other positive Hip-Hop heads from all around the globe. It also honors members of Rock Steady Crew and members of the Hip-Hop community that have passed away. Since their beginning the Rock Steady Crew has come full circle. Crazy Legs is still president of the crew with Fabel being vice-president. They have added new faces like Teknyc, Venom, Servin’ Ervin, Denote, Heps Fury, Fever One, Jeromeskee, Floor Rock as well as members in Japan, United Kingdom and Italy. The difference this time is that they have total control over their company and their destiny. “This time we have control over what’s going on”, says Crazy Legs. “We are running it with no one to answer to and that makes everything we do more satisfying”. The Rock Steady Crew has bounced back and performs throughout the world. They remain very active in the community and are involved in several different outreach programs as well as holding food drives and donating time and money to non-profit organizations. They hope to set up a Rock Steady foundation for children. This program will provide dance classes and other activities that will help to influence the youth to stay on the right path throughout life. It will also involve maintaining and preserving Hip-Hop culture. So Big to The Rock Steady Crew. Thsts All For this Post Click the image below to view an updated version of the Flashdance scene done for the final credits to documentary “The Freshest Kids” Its a dope documentary I urge you all to check it out.