The inspiration for the 20th, was exactly that, acknowledging and paying tribute to the legacy of the Summit’s 20 years in Hip-Hop. In essence it was many of our 20th tribute, as Summit has documented our experience in the game over these last 20 years, all elements. Since Summit has always been a Hip-Hop event, in homage to the Bboys and Bgirls, it’s important to look at where we have been (what conditions birthed Bboy Summit), and where we are going (what current conditions do we face, where are we headed?). The Summit was my idea and brought to light with the help of Easy Roc, JLove, and SD Zulu One (San Diego Zulu Nation Chapter). I was truly inspired by the plight of the Bboys and Bgirls in Hip-Hop, as they were not being respected by those in their own culture. So the Summit was born to pay tribute to the art form of Bboying, and to protect its legitimacy and legacy in Hip-Hop. Now 20 years later the Summit continues to bring forth bold new concepts while keeping true to the aesthetics of traditional Hip-Hop culture. The name significance of Bboy Summit, means the highest point, the top, and I strive to keep the integrity of a quality production that is based around a creative inspiration and theme, keeping the continuity of that concept as the platform for Summit. So that is why it is never the same, but the cultural connection to knowledge and skills interwoven into the platform stays intact yearly.
Lets dive right into the sunburst that was Bboy Summit Soulstice 2014! The universe truly reigned its blessing on our beloved Summit 20th. The ambition: to produce a stellar event without a budget, with no sponsor support or real financial contributions or restrictions, to not make money a factor, and to make the event FREE. Could it be done? Si, se puede! When the mission is pure, success cannot be denied.
Running strictly off heavy fumes of LOVE, we power styled our way in to the historic East LA hood of Boyle Heights, with the Bonnie and Clyde Throwdown, 3 Challenges of Graffiti Battle, Summit OSA Collabo, Hip-Hop Leaders Where Are They?, and Bboy/Bgirl LifeStyle Panels, DJ/MC Talent Showcase and Hip-Hop Festival Marketplace.
I always like to kick things off with a smaller, intimate event just for the Bboys and Bgirls. This year we held a special collabo party with Stuntman’s Originality Stands Alone brand. Together we came up with a concept battle that goes with his OSA brand vision: keep your style unique, original. This was a solo battle, for those Bboys and Bgirls with a unique style to themselves, not traditional. These cats usually get overlooked so we wanted to have something for them. Dig it? Stunts added a crazy catch to the battle, in the final round you can pick a judge to battle instead of your opponent. Big ups to the judges who epitomized the battle concept: Kujo, Flexum, Rawbzilla. They all ended up battling, nuff said. The vibe for the evening was 90’s Hip-Hop, that birthed freestyle dance, which influenced Bboying during that period. Mark Luv was taking out some Zulu aggression on the tables, cutting, scratching, and mixing in his patent style. Luman and Ervin added some 90’s flava, going from the faster Kane, Rakim, Organized Konfusion tracks to the loopy style of Freestyle Fellowship and Pharcyde. Notables of the night were Heat Roc out of NYC, Crissy B, Lil Rock, Aaron Assasin, VoVera, and Tapachi. Everbody was munching on tamales in the Breed St. Shul, the first Jewish synagogue in Boyle Heights established in 1923. The temple blessed us, and we ended the night with a special teaser by Ruthless Ramsey on the art of cassette tape scratching.
Saturday was epic. The solstice beamed down an energy that projected pure positivity. You had hard core writers squashing age old beef while checking out the 3 Challenges of Graffiti Battle featuring 20+ yr legacy crews: UTI, WCA, UCA, RTN, K2S, RF, TDK, LOD, LTS. Each crew sent a member to battle for $1,000 donated by Ill Skillz Clothing. Cre8/RTN, JoeX2/RF, Bazar/WCA, Basher/LOD, Versus/LTS, Prime/K2S, Fear/UTI, Spie/TDK, Damet/UCA all displayed handstyles via crew rollcall, throwup, and pieced up the word FLY. Judges Hex/TGO, West/TC5/FC, Steve Gordy (LA Graffiti Book) took all 3 challenges into consideration and awarded Versus the win. The win was controversial, but judged fairly. So be it. At the end of the day, even with a point system and criteria art is subjective. Seeing Slick and Hex shaking hands made me realize how iconic graffiti battle history has become, and how legends are made. Miles from Breakestra & Funky Sole was spinning heavy vinyl funk outdoors for the crowd hangin out checkin out the battle. Raw Data added the trippy beatset, and Ruthless Ramsey gave us a full set of cassette scratching. DJ Bonds worked the 90’s angles in elementally while MC Scatterbrain flowed freestyle in between sets by Grand Official, Rough City, The Branch, Name Science, Ellaykule, CR, Jizzm and Dr Oop.
Inside Ken Swift was finishing up his Vintage Flavor Workshop for a packed house, giving back story to build the picture of how these classics were used in battles. We moved directly into the panels, the first being Hip-Hop Leaders (Where are They?) This panel, moderated by Mark Luv, featured both activist organizations in Hip-Hop like Juice, Gr818ers, Zulu Nation, as well as individuals Olmeca, and Bambu Pistola representing more of a socio-political angle on society as a whole. The combination produced a significant conversation of why leadership is not present in Hip-Hop and how we can stimulate it, and mentor leaders in Hip-Hop to help fight for human rights and social justice. Changing direction, the Bboy/Bgirl panel, moderated by me, featuring Beta, Jeskilz, Cros, Team Monster (Crumbs, Machine), and Fienz, the topic was purely about the social/economic business of Bboying as a Lifestyle.
We touched on sponsorship, new organizations like UDEF, and budding association UBA, events, and how to stimulate financial growth in this community in a fair, and empowering way. We didn’t waste anyone’s time, gave valuable information, and empowered Bboys/Bgirls in attendance to stay unified when it comes to setting and supporting ethical business standards for our artform. After knowledge was laid, it was time to start the Bonnie and Clyde battle warmups with the 206 Zulu’s Cues and Tecumseh maning the wheels. Ready for whatever, we jump started the eliminations and the judges: Beta, Gremz, and Ken Swift cut it down to the real competitors and established the top 16.
We ran thru it, testing the endurance of the duos, who were warm and showed up for the battle. Noteables were Lil Rock & Eri, Fidget & Nasty Ray, Supernaturals, Concrete Allstars, Wired Monkeys, with the win going to BGSK: Mimi & Jules. Energy, and heat jumped off the exposed brick, while the windowless air conditioning allowed the pigeons box seats. But we are in LA, and LA is Popping history, so without further ado, it was time to let the Funk Freaks take over Leanrocks spot, who spun for the B/C battles and let the funk fly. After a sexy judges showcase by Scorpio, No Bone Tyrone, and OG Ace Rock, we let the duos get loose over nasty grooves. JT the hypest MC keep it moving along w DJ Haze. Noteables were Furious Styles Crew, Cali Creatures. At the end of the day, it went to Baby Wockee and Popping John, proving that male and females still hit harder. We closed it out as the sunset, milking the last drop of daylight that the solstice gave us. Pigeons flew the coup.
Finishing things off at Beat Swap Meet was ideal. Bridging 2 of the most loved LA events brought the crowd to Chinatown, to mix an mingle with vinyl heads moving weight outta crates. As Bruce Lee’s bronze statue watched over us, we made sure to honor his legacy of raw physicality. The floor was set ablaze once the MZK Crew Callout began, the circle tightened up like spandex on a fat girl. Cues and Tecumseh, official Summit mixtape DJ’s, keep the floor hot, while Concrete Allstars took the battles over to the concrete. Shoutouts to BGSK, Squishy Docious, Urban Influences, Furious Styles, and all the other crews battling. I keep one of the circles live with challenges: sixstep variations, spins, and toprocks, handing out Supreme product to dope cats. Luman, and Kid Riz jumped on the vinyl only decks, and we ended the day with a special 90’s Bboy and Bgirl only cipher, just for kicks. Everyone in the area got a parting gift: Bboy Summit Mixtape and Bruce didn’t have to move a muscle. Honor, good will were felt. It sealed the deal to me, after 20 years on the West Coast, Summit will stay put, where it was born in the 90’s, reflecting the Hip-Hop foundation and culture out of New Year, and the Golden Era, West Coast contribution infused with the funk movement of LA, Locking and Popping History. This is the Summit.
Thank you to all the talent that donated their time for the love of it, and for everybody who came and took part. See you again in the future! Bboy Summit is produced by No Easy Props, a 501c3 nonprofit company. If you want to support by grabbing up a Summit shirt, this will help us. We have Large and XL only. Go to www.gofundme.com/bboysummit and donate $15, include the size (l,xl,xxl) and your address and you will receive by mail. Peace!