The Original Voice of the Ghetto

B-boys, Tricksy, Nigger Twins, Wallace Dee, Sau Sau, Norm Rockwell, the Amazing Bobo, Charlie Rock and Elorado Mike would dress in Turban-like pompom top hats as they would wiggle and stretch out, shaking back and fourth giving off the “boyoing” effect, bouncing all over the place. This was called, “Boyoing” or some called it the “Cork and Screw”. A style of dance with more points for creation and individualism than acrobatic routine, bopping down to the floor and back up again with maybe a James Brown split. This was developed into bottom-rock freezes and spinning on their butts. As the element of competition or 'battles' took over, development of different styles brought on moves such as Footwork’ or ‘downrock’ which was for any dance movements that take place on the ground, as opposed to ‘uprock’ or ‘toprock’. 'Later routines would start with 'toprocking’ and continue the move with a ‘6-step’ down on the floor ending in a signature 'freeze'. Herc's break was building up the complete atmosphere as the main event to any park jam or house party. The excitement, flair and creativity of the b-boys brought on new enthusiasm and dynamo of another aspect to the evening. Soon the gang-life was dispersing and remoulding into bands of DJs, b-boys and MCs. Herc assembled his own DJs, b-boys and MCs he called the 'Herculords'. Coke La Rock, DJ Timmy Tim with Little Tiny Feet, LeBrew, Pebblee Poo, DJ Clark Kent the Rock Machine, the Imperial JC, Blackjack, Sweet and Sour, Whiz Kid and Prince. Flyers splashed with the two magic words: Herculoids with the Herculords was a recipe for the hottest throw-down event throughout the seven-mile of the Bronx.

Teenagers too young for the clubs would form their own gatherings, parties where various crews would rock up and battle other crews with their new moves. A beatbox blaring, a cleared living room, dropped cardboard and a circle of enthusiastic athletes would provide the venue. DJ Jazzy Jay recalled one time crashing a small do with his cousin Theodore and a few cats, “Some guys was playing some music there. We went in there and took out the whole crew. At first they were jumping and everyone wanted to get in the circle. After we got done with our thing nobody wanted to get back in the circle. We went and scooped up all the girlies and we was out, you know?”

Later the b-boy craze would take on a more serious approach as a sport thanks to crews like the Dynamic Breakers, NYC Breakers and Rock Steady Crew with founder, Robert 'Crazy Legs' Colon from Manhattan who developed techniques and contorting repertoires still prevalent in today's basement-culture of break-dancing, to use the media-terminology. This element was always a part of hip-hop but never quite gathered the same acclaim as the DJ or MC would. Through the early periods of the 1980's several groups, Rock Steady Crew and Dynamic Breakers would battle their show across the globe to world stages including the Royal Variety Show performing to Queen Elizabeth in 1983 as well as appearing in various mainstream films including 'Flashdance'. Today it stands as a sport alone from the element of today's hip-hop although not exclusively. Today's brand of rap music does not cater for the b-boy. Of old, B-Boys always added the visual element to park jams and are forever etched integrally into makes hip-hop.

Herc's celebrity was growing so rapidly he attracted some real numbers in crowds. Notable fans were Aaron ‘DJ AJ’ O’Bryant and Joseph Saddler, better known today as the legendary Grandmaster Flash who followed him on every show he put out emulating his style and techniques with aspirations of taking this phenomenon to another level. Like a magnet, his sets were attracting the whole of Bronx including inspired up-n-comer, Afrika Bambaataa and his Zulu Nation crew. Bam had flipped his gang-infested Fort Apache community of Black Spades, P.O.W.E.R. and Javelin gang members into the Bronx River Organization modelled off the Ghetto Brothers holding to the motto: “This is an organization. We are not a gang. We are family. Do not start trouble. let trouble come to you, then fight like hell!” But the gang climate was at a closing chapter and he formed an alliance with Bronxdale's Chuck Chuck City Crew ran by Disco King Mario and soon they became the Organization transforming into Bam's travelling entertainment venture for parties. He was taken in by Herc's style of break-centred format and he crossed this with his ethos for peace and opened set-lists at his own events to break down his philosophy. He mixed records from Sly Stone and James Brown with Grand Funk Railroad and The Monkees under Malcolm X speeches for unity. He adopted a range from rock, soca and salsa music and soon became the most renowned programmer in Bronx, known as ‘Master of Records,’ boasting a collection of over 20,000 Vinyl’s. Every weekend he hosted his Organization-backed rituals of celebration and preach block parties.

During the summer of '75 after a tumultuous period in the Bronx's history with crumbling relations between local police and the people after two brutal murders almost set the borough ablaze in anger. Bambaataa collected the community's focus and started recruiting talent into what he called the Zulu Nation. Inside were the Zulu Kings, a five-man dance outfit with Zambu Lanier, Shaka Reed, Aziz Jackson, Kusa Stokes and Ahmad Henderson. They were soon accompanied by the Zulu Queens and rapping MCs, Queen Lisa Lee, Sha-Rock then Pebblee-Poo from Herc's crowd. They scrapped their leather-down gang look, jackets were replaced by satin gowns with aerosol back murals added by new recruits, the graffiti artists. A new credo was adopted by all within embracing knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Later it would be elaborated into fifteen tenets. The Zulu Nation controlled the South Bronx, visiting DJs for battles and integrating crowds knew they were either down with the Zulus or face their might. Legends like Grandmaster Flash would not set foot down south without the expressed permission from Bambaataa himself. By 1977 Herc's most fierce competitors were Bam's Zulu Nation under-graduates and the Casanova Crew-backed Grandmaster Flash trying ferociously to step out of Herc's mammoth shadow and sustain their own spotlight. Bam and the Nation held down the Southeast, in the North stood DJ Breakout and DJ Baron and the West was still won by Herc as well the East Bronx clubs, and he was still the un-disputed king of the Seven-Mile. This did not, however stop attempts at dethroning him.

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