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Crazy Legs: Rock On

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Rock & Roll

fans dream to be in Led Zeppelin. Baseball proteges fantasize of wearing Yankee

pin stripes. But in hip-hop, no allegiance and commradry could possibly mean

more than being down with the Legendary Rocksteady Crew.

Crazy Legs has

been down for over twenty-five live. He is the authority on hip-hop footwork

and the strongest namesake in the b-boy story. Legs is older and wiser than

the dimple faced kid we saw in flims like "Style Wars" and "Flashdance."

But like his agile

footwork, Crazy Legs can still amaze you with his take on hip-hop, his specific

element, and his place amidst it all.

Allhiphop sits

down with a living legend, with nothing more to promote than the culture and

a way of life.

AllHipHop.com:

As one of the few active hip-hop heads who’s been known since before 1980, do

you find there to be an unwritten age cap in hip-hop?

Crazy Legs: Nah.

I mean commercially, there is. But I think when it comes to your skills, the

only element with an age cap is breaking. You can’t confront your body all your

life. You get injuries. You gotta pay dues. At the same time, the dues that

you pay with dancing, don’t necessarily manifest into money. But they definitely

can turn into injuries. It’s kind of like boxing. After you finish brawling,

you learn to become a boxer. And after you box so long, and you get to that

age, you learn to finesse it in your golden years. You don’t fight as much.

You’re probably not even as hungry to fight, but the fire’s burning you know.

AllHipHop: So

as the dancer, how do you stay hungry?

CL: I think I’m

probably a lot more hungry to dance than my body is willing to. In terms of

being involved in the game for this long, it’s just about b-boying to me, but

hip-hop as a whole. I still support the dance. When I throw Rocksteady Anniversaries,

I involve all elements. Throughout the years, I [have been] supportive of all

types of events. When I do things, I like to incorporate them.

AllHipHop: In

terms of injuries, what was the most balled-up you ever got?

CL: I don’t know.

You have different injuries. Like right now, I have two herniated discs in my

neck. I got surgery on my left knee. Surgery on my left thumb, my left toe,

my left elbow. I pulled my groin muscles, my back muscles, my rib cage. I’ve

pulled muscles in my arm pits. I’ve done a lot of damage to my body. Shit, maybe

I should’ve been a football player.

AllHipHop: Is

there a particular record in all of hip-hop and outside that absolutely makes

you go bananas on the floor?

CL: I would say"

Give It Up Or Turn It Loose" by James Brown.

AllHipHop: Was

that a record that you had growing up too?

CL: I mean, I

grew up on a lot of James Brown music. I grew up on a lot of music done by other

cats. For instance Babe Ruth, Sly, there’s just so many artists out there. James

Brown’s music has had the biggest influence on my life.

AllHipHop: The

Anniversary puts Rocksteady’s name up on a lot. But how does the weekend benefit

the whole crew?

CL: Rocksteady’s

still out there! It means that hip-hop still has legs. The legs of hip-hop are

very strong if you choose to keep working at it. In terms of the essence and

maintaining the foundation of [hip-hop] and not losing sight of what hip-hop

can represent in terms of being a political movement, a self-sufficient financial

[institution], a way to get in touch with your culture as well as be introduced

to other cultures. You have everyone at these functions bridging gaps and creating

opportunities for each other.

AllHipHop: Breaking

seems like it’s growing popularity in the suburbs and at parties as almost a

novelty. Regardless of location of what have you, how does it sit with you that

a lot of heads are taking this culture lightly?

CL: I tell you

right now, for all those people that are faking it. You should just admire it

and not even try to understand it. Some people just won’t get it. There are

people to that love hip-hop. They don’t have to have to fake the funk as a thug,

there are just certain things that are obvious that they don’t come from that

sort of upbringing or cultural background. It just comes across as trying real

hard. Just chill, have fun. If you don’t know

the words, hum along.

AllHipHop: Even

today, you got a flare, but you keep your ego in check. What’s held you back

from ego trippin’?

CL: I think the

most important thing to a leader of any crew is to be open to criticism even

if you don’t like it. Just take it and just continue to work on the attitude.

It’s a crew thing. There’s times where I say bugged things and do stupid shit

that’s just pisses off the crew. We may argue. But the thing I appreciate the

most is when somebody takes me aside and says,"Yo, we gotta point this

out to you." The day that I opened the door to that, things got a lot better

for Rocksteady as a family.

AllHipHop: Is

it rare in hip-hop for modern MC’s and producers to make break-friendly music

these days?

CL: Hmmm. There

are bands like Breakestra and Butter and other bands coming out. I think we

need to depend on them more than Rap artists. The days of MC’s dropping those

joints in the late eighties like Eric B & Rakim, those days are pretty much

gone, man. There are few records you can catch wreck too. Oner or two pop up

every now and then.

AllHipHop: Historically,

the New York city administrators, particularly the mayors weren’t always supportive

of hip-hop. With events like the Anniversary, has that changed?

CL: We’ve only

had trouble with the police one time. That was an isolated incident [too.] The

precinct over here, the sixth precinct, they are very helpful to us. They take

care of us. At the same time, it has to do with how we run our events. Everything

is run as a concert should be run.

AllHipHop: At

what point in your long career did you see the impact of what you made and created?

CL: It was 1983.

I was in Hawaii. It was shortly after we had did "Flashdance." I was

on the beach, just chillin’. And this white man sitting close by me goes, "Hey,

I saw you on the David Letterman Show!" It was the first time I realized

we had fame outside of the Bronx.

Crazy Legs is

currently pursuing his production company: Backspin Productions, and doing media

consultation work.

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