Guest blog for the Bboy Spot: THE FORGOTTEN MASTERS – EUROPEAN 90′S BBOY SCENE
Originally written for The Bboy Spot by Focus of Flow Mo Crew. Read the original article HERE.
“AND BY 1986 THEY TRIED TO DEAD IT” – Q-UNIQUE (RSC)
Late 80’s the markets and show business had sucked everything possible out of breaking from movies to tours all the way to commercials and products. Once the market’s interest shifted to the next “hip” thing, breaking scene felt it was left out and started to vanish. A lot of people thought breaking was dead. But there was one continent that stayed very true to the art of breaking and hip hop moving to another decade. A lot of people would say took it to another level. Europe.
Once bboys on music videos, movies and tours reached overseas the Europeans embraced the whole hip hop movement. Once the limelight was gone breaking went back to the underground. Almost after a decade of it’s arrival the level hit it’s peak. The 90’s European bboys experimented with creativity, reached incredible levels on ground power keeping it true to the original style with a hip hop feel eventually inspiring the whole World.
1992 Uppsala jam Sweden with Battle Squad, Throwdown Rockers & Out of Control
Every country had their own bboy icons. German scene was rich with tons of crews. Battle of the year started 1990 changing the way we see bboy battle competitions today. Jams like CH Fresh brought bboys to battle in the circles. Europe history can not be talked about without mentioning Battle Squad’s dynamic duo, the kings Storm and Swift Rock. Storm defined the word complete bboy and Swift Rock shined with his rawness and explosiveness. Italy’s impact was huge being all about the flow. Legendary Maurizio’s unique space flow redefined impossible. Emilio from Battle Squad and Davide aka Kid Headz of Passo Sul Tempo combined all elements with an elegant touch.
West of Europe was very influential. French style became a phenomenon Aktuel Force leading the movement with Karim Barouche, Karima, Gabin and others. UK held it’s own with Second to None’s merciless power and character. Second to None’s Asa’s triple halos can still not be messed with. The new level of complete bboy was embodied in the legendary bboy Demon Smurf aka Evo. Evo’s style of switching directions and levels was unseen. Backspins to 1990s says it all.
Bboy Evo DVD trailer
1995 circle with Aktuel Force, Rock Steady, Evo, Storm etc
Scandinavian style developed to new heights with Throwdown Rockers and later Moves Per Minute. If you ever saw Freeze’s VHS you know. Freeze held it down with footwork. Nico rocked a rooftop with a sheepskin coat smoking a cigarette, straight rawness. Other relevant crews for Scandinavian style were crews like Out of Control from Denmark and Atomic Bboys from Norway.
Bboy Nico – Throwdown Rockers 1993-1994
Eastern Europe had their own 90’s icons. Hungary’s Enemy Squad was fierce with bboys like Thunder making noise. Thunder was another complete bboy spiced with a lot of character and battle skills and he still inspires people today. Suicidal Lifestyle took ground power to new heights with Gumby leading the way bringing tombstone windmills to the game. Before the air flares changed the game power moves still had POWER and Suicidal Lifestyle is a perfect example of that. The breakdown of the Soviet Union revealed a rich bboy culture in the East Europe area. Da Boogie Crew held the flag high for Russia. According to Storm’s contact Hahny once the Berlin wall was torn down in the late 1989 the DDR itself had about 60 bboy crews.
Bboy Thunder – Enemy Squad 1995-1996
The European 90’s generation inspired the world and the next generations continuing to do it to this day. This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you saw new names you should dig deeper. Ask questions and you’ll find tons more. There was something in that era that spawned a lot real skills and innovation. Was it taking the train instead of the flight? Was it finding a VHS tape instead of looking online? Or was it holding on to your memory when getting inspired instead of slow motion? Who knows. But a fact is that while writing the history books for breaking the European 90’s generation should have a whole chapter of their own.