AllHipHop in Japan PT 1: The Red Bull BC ONE Competition

It has been well documented that worldwide hip-hop has made its leaps and bounds to reach all areas of the globe.  Seen not only in emceeing, DJing, graffiti and break-dancing, but, in the cultural habits of clothing and its use in language, Hip-Hop has become a unwavering part of society.  Built on what started in the streets of the Bronx in New York and Watts in Los Angeles, to what has long thrived in the streets Paris, Tokyo and London, Hip-Hop is here to stay.

In the first part of our series to bring you hip-hop coverage from across the globe, AllHipHop traveled to Tokyo, Japan to cover the Red Bull BC One competition, a break-dancing competition, where sixteen B-Boys from around the world rocked Yoyogi Stadium along side Big Daddy Kane and Rahzel.   Set in the heart of Tokyo, the dancers provided a breathtaking show in which the Brazilian power mover Neguin from the Tsunami All Stars crew was ultimately deemed ‘The One’ – Red Bull BC One 2010 Champion.

The B-Boys had to convince five judges– among them two-time champion Lilou, the legendary Ken Swift, and Red Bull BC One veteran Roxrite. The dancers brought their A-game and many battles were very tight making it a tough night on the judges who had the arduous task of deciphering the complexities of each performance. After battles in Biel, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Capetown, Paris and New York, the level of the competition reached an all-time high in this seventh edition in Tokyo. A round stage formed the center of the pulsating grandstand. In the final 1-on-1 battle of the night, it was Brazil’’s Neguin vs. “The Flying Dutchman” Just Do It. Both had wowed the crowd and won over the judges with the intensity and style they displayed throughout the night’s bracketed battles. In that final round, Neguin’’s advanced technicality and awe-inspiring performance

One champion. The stage was filled with talented dancers from around the world and every battle had its own storyline and dramatic peaks. For the Americans, it was a little bittersweet. “I didn’’t expect to go out in the first round,” Thesis said. “1-on-1 battles are a lot harder. It’s a lot more about strategy. You’re not gonna dance how you want to dance all the time.” New York b-boy Gravity of the Dynamic Rockers was overcome by the Venezuelan– Lil G after a fierce battle in the first round. The third American, Luigi, battled his way to the semi-finals where he was matched against Just Do It from The Netherlands. It was arguably one of the tightest battles of the night. In the end Luigi had to give way, without any hard feelings saying “I am super happy to be here. The crowd was great!”

Japan has a lively Hip Hop scene with its epicenter in the 30-million-people-capital of Tokyo. Between temples and gambling halls skyscrapers and karaoke bars, geishas and sumo wrestlers, this year’s Red Bull BC One ranks as an event unmatched. As crew competitions have grown more popular over the last decade, this competition goes back to the roots of 1-on-1 battles showcasing individual performance.Red Bull BC One Tokyo was a historical happening for hip hop culture, as it combined its foundational figures and roots with the some of hottest acts of today.

In 1983, director Charlie Ahearn brought the film and cast of Wild Style to Japan which marked the birth of the Japanese Hip Hop scene. Last night, Ahern returned to Tokyo to attend Red Bull BC One and witness the evolution of the scene. Ken Swift, a teenager back then and a member of the world famous Rock Steady Crew had starred in Wild Style and last night, sat on the Red Bull BC One judging panel.

For Ken Swift, this year’s winner is justified. He said ““Neguin is an amazing entertainer and very consistent.”” Neguin himself thinks that versatility and authenticity have helped him win the competition. The sources of his inspiration he claims to be endless. “Everything I see, I can dance. If I see a bird flying I can dance it too.” Human Beatbox – Rahzel served as emcee for the night, guiding the crowd through an audio/visual showcase. More than 3.000 people got up from their seats when New Yorker Rap-legend Big Daddy Kane started rhyming, performing “”Ain’t No Half Steppin”’” and “”Set it Off”,”  while Japanese DJ Mar cut the beats all night. The vibe reached a climax as all 16 competing B-Boys entered the stage to pay their respects to their audience with a freestyle session.

“The Japanese fans were inspiring,” Neguin emphasized after his victory. Holding his trophy and hugging his final opponent, Neguin shouted ““We are all winners. We dance for life!””

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