Lotus Tribe's b-boy battle brings the North Side to the West Side
Hip-hop's genesis began with the writers and the DJs, but if it weren't for the b-boys and b-girls, the culture wouldn't be here today. Back in the '70s, Kool Herc coined the term "break boys" after the black and brown kids who danced to his breaks, and whose physical movements embodied the aesthetics of graffiti.
Spy, Jimmy Dee, Jimmy Lee, Mongo Rock, and Jo-Jo Torres formed hip-hop's most influential crew, the Rock Steady Crew, in 1977. RSC is credited for bringing gymnastics to b-boying and was composed primarily of Latinos who represented the best of the second-wave dancers. In 1983, the crew garnered national attention courtesy of Jennifer Beals and an oversized sweater.
Rock Steady Crew member Alien Ness, aka Kis Ness, has recalled the era this way: "When Flashdance came out, it was just like the next level. It was like, 'OK, I see this being done everyday on the block, but now I'm seeing it on a big screen.' It was like everybody in the neighborhood, you had 50, 60, 75 kids at a time going to the movies and paying $2.50, which was expensive at the time for us, to watch 30 seconds of film - that one little scene with the Rock Steady Crew. That's really what set it off."
Author Nelson George has always referred to b-boys and b-girls as "hip-hop's truest believers and its bitterest commentators." This is true primarily because the element that they most cherish is usually the one that is sold or forsaken in the guise of a trend. To get to the heart of the element one must turn underground.
Lotus Tribe is one of the recent additions to the Alamo City's hip-hop community, replete with a mission. Although some of their rhymes come across as labored, props are due for their commitment to traditional b-boy culture, fervent promotions, and zeal for taking hip-hop to new places. Their latest
Mark of Lotus Tribe explains the intent: "The idea of this show is to integrate the North Side of town with the West side. I want to bring this type of hip-hop culture to every side of town in order to form some type of community within the entire city, amongst the youth."
Despite the dubious title, "The Art of War" should be a solid showcase for some of the best b-boys in Texas including the Masters of Mayhem, United b-boys, Flow and Worm of Jive Turkeys, Tito of Mega Monkeys, Dave, and Attraction.
"These are the best breakers in San Antonio and are some of the best in the state of Texas," Mark says. "Most of them are known nationally and I just want them to receive some love from their home community. They all have stories to tell." •