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021 B-Boys interview Part 2

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23 April 2003 No Comment

Levitation, in a frantic fit to document SA’s fly-kids on the B-Boy scene caught a couple of moments in time (a day before their appearance at the Oppikoppi Festival) with a slightly sleepy Cape Flats representing, 021 B-Boys! Armed with fistfuls of elegant B-Boy finesse, charm and Kaap smarts, the boys shed some light on their place in the whirlwind of international Hip-Hop and how they are holding it down for the mother continent…making moves for the people by any means necessary!

A lot of people have been complaining about the past Battle of The Year (the South African leg), can you tell us a bit about the controversy? Explain why so many people aren’t happy with the way it went down! 

Woukes: I wasn’t there, I was doing Oppikoppi at the time and he was at home with a back problem so I think he can better explain what went down! 
Speedo: Do you mean this year or last year(2001 or 2002)?
Shortie: It’s probably the same complaints anyway! To me I think the competition is open to anyone, but to do with the judges, I think that they already have their favourites in mind! 

What is the judging criteria though? Are there cats at that level to judge efficiently?

Shortie: I guess it all depends on the judges you choose! Most people choose the old-school judges, guys who use to dance, but B-Boying has changed and evolved so much that even some guys who are still doing it can’t really understand the developments so how can you get people to judge who are… we show respect and love but it has changed so much! Things have become a lot more technical… and they(the old-school dancers) aren’t up to date on what is happening on the international scene, and so some cats might bite move from videos and the judges not know but other B-Boys will know and that may start conflict! It becomes like, “Well this guy is not original and we are trying our best, doing our original moves and you are giving props to the other guys”, so I guess that is where the beef and conflict starts! So I suppose it comes down to the organisers. 
Woukes: Also last year people were like, “Why didn’t you guys enter!” We thought that it was useless entering, knowing the whole set-up of who is gonna go and who is gonna stay! As people say, it is a Black Noise thing and they have the whole power to handle the whole Battle of the Year, so to be honest people musn’t think that we are boasting and that we didn’t enter the competition because we think that we are so good… it’s got nothing to do with that! It’s just about the judges!
Speedo: But next year{laughs}! We are gonna enter Battle of the Year to take it! 
Woukes: We are not going to give it 2 months practice or something like that, we are gonna give it a whole year’s preparation! 
Shortie: That is something that most B-Boys in Cape Town do, a month before Battle of the Year, they decide to start practicing! To them they probably just see it as a free trip overseas and go for the experience! We have already been for the experience and now we want to go over to win it! We don’t want to go over and give respect to the and say that their B-Boys are tight, we want to give respect to Africa, because our B-Boys are tight! It is about time that we as South African B-Boys take our stand and our place as B-Boys in the world to say that we have paid our dues and we deserve that respect and our props! We need to say that we want it and that we want to take it back, because there are people who have been doing this for so long who haven’t been recognised and given that respect! 

Style-wise, could you speak about different places having different styles around the world?

Woukes: It is kind of like the European dancers have their own style and when you go to the States, they have their own style, but every time they surprise you with something new! That is what I was talking about with practice, these guys prepare from the end of on battle to the beginning of the next, that’s how they do it. So it is becoming a lot more technical! 
Speedo: It hectic!
Shortie: If you compare years back to now you find that people are really flying around! You hardly touch the floor anymore… that’s Levitation{laughs}! 
Speedo: In the air{laughs}!
Shortie: Back in the day you would just spin on your head, but now you do that whiles taking everything off or putting it back on! 
Speedo: Or the whole time, go on your hand and go around…
Shortie: Just spin non-stop in all of your moves! Compared to overseas, that is what I have noticed about South African B-Boys, people tend not to develop their own style and even though there is a lot of potential and a lot of tight B-Boys! There are some people who are trying to develop their own style buy most tend to adapt to some States and European styles, but when you go overseas you have to be different and the only way to be different is to be yourself. You have to be yourself, and be original, and know your roots and just get in touch with yourself! 

Because they won’t do that…

Shortie: They won’t be able to, because they won’t feel what you feel it as you do, it is part of you, it is who you are! Big respect to all the B-Boys, though because there are a lot of fresh dancers!

Are styles like popping, locking and Electric Boogaloo still given respect by the new generation of dancers both here and around the world at the moment! 

Woukes: Ja, people still respect but most of the new kids just go in for the breaking without the pop-locking but it is still there!
Shortie: Most new guys go for the big power moves but lack the basics, the foundations of the B-Boying and if you neglect those basics, eventually you are going to crumble and have to start all over again! I would love to see more B-Boys in South Africa doing the popping and locking, because the only person who is really doing it is Ram1(Ramone)…even the Boogaloo and all of that stuff is not really done in South Africa, but there are people still doing it overseas like Mr Wiggles(RSC) and they are still getting their respect!

But if you are in a contest, can you judge comparatively between the different dance styles if one guy is doing the straight up breaking and the other guy is popping and locking? 

Shortie: It is a different dance, so I don’t think you can really judge… if the guy’s popping is tight then he should get his dues and his points, if it’s a battle, because it’s still creative. With power moves, it is more or less just a repetition of doing the same thing unless you get more creative and do your own things within your power moves then you can get the respect and props! 

What I wanted to ask was whether the Hip-Hop elements are still really together in Cape Town, because to a certain level you find a division in Joburg?

Woukes: Ja, it is still quite close in Cape Town, there was a monthly…
Speedo: Boogie Down Knights! 
Woukes: …and Beat Bangaz, with Ready D as the host! There would be DJs, B-Boys, MCs, Graff Artists together…but we find that here in Joburg it is another thing! It’s like most of the DJ, when the B-Boys want to rock the floor, they just go off and do their own things, just scratching and the B-Boys get pissed off. They have to understand the B-Boys…they mustn’t come practice in the club, just scratching, they must rather do that at home, but people have paid to come to the club rock! They must actually think, not just come through and scratch the whole time! People will think that the whole thing (Hip-Hop) is wack because they can’t even get to dance in the club. 
Shortie: The DJs are the foundation of the whole Hip-Hop thing, so if they don’t represent properly, there is no energy source for the whole Hip-Hop party! If they don’t pump that energy people aren’t going to feel it and be able to express themselves properly! 

With the whole skateboarding scene merging with Hip-Hop a bit and at the moment most of the skaters being white middle-class kids, would you say that people are able to get together on the Hip-Hop vibe across the barriers in Cape Town? 

Woukes: In Cape Town… but in Joburg it is quite big and we are doing shows and demos with the skaters and every June or July we do something with the skaters and at the end of the year we have our own competition and there are always skaters and stuff involved! 
Shortie: I guess because skating is an extreme sport and so is B-Boying, it’s on that whole tip so they go hand in hand! Worldwide, skating and Hip-Hop are collaborating and working together!

What are 021 B-Boys’ plans for the future? Where would you like to see the crew in the next 5 years?

Woukes: To be honest with you, we would want to start our own slot…we want to bring the workshop to the people, to have a slot on TV! Probably in the next couple of years we will be all over, we are in Joburg and from here we want to spread it in Durban…we want to move around and make it as big as possible! 
Shortie: Firstly to catch the Battle of The Year in Germany, but just as Woukes said, to take B-Boying and all of the Hip-Hop elements all over the country! I don’t think that it has been properly represented around the country, so we would like to go to places give workshops to show people that this is the real Hip-Hop! We want to show them not the negative side that the media always shows about the Cape Flats and Hip-Hop, but to show that this is a positive thing! Most people just see it as smoking weed and whatever but they don’t see the positive aspect of everything! So we would just push to promote ourselves and Hip-Hop, and take it everywhere, from here we would take the whole African package and represent to the world! 

What would you finally like to say to the B-Boys/B-Girls all over the country and all the other element representers!

Woukes: We come from the Cape Flats and what we have in mind is to be very successful, simply because it is hard to survive on the Cape Flats and that is why we appreciate and fully push what we do! They mustn’t say funny things about us because we are simply trying to do our best and trying to push this thing as far as it can go! So, to the people who want to get involved, get involved but not with the wrong mind-frame and respect!
Shortie: Even though you are from the disadvantaged areas, wherever you are Joburg, Cape Town, Durban, don’t let that keep you back from who or what you want to become one day! Just use your bad situations and turn them good, don’t doubt yourself! Major respect to all the DJs, Graffiti Writers, MCs, and B-Boys! 
Woukes: Static B-Boys and all the other B-Boys out there, we are really proud of them! In all the battling that we are doing we are just pushing each other to be better and to practice harder!
Shortie: Shout out to Static B-Boys, BVK, POC and especially big thanx to DJ Ready D! Peace, much love and respect!
Speedo: Big ups to all the B-Boys up here, keep up the good work{laughs}!
Woukes: Lots of love to DJs like C-Live, Switch and Ready D because they were B-Boys and they are still B-Boys so they know how to rock it and what we like! 

Interview by Nthato of Levitation Magazine

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