Souls of Hip Hop

Jamar Hopkins

February 09, 2021 Jamar Hopkins Season 1 Episode 18
Souls of Hip Hop
Jamar Hopkins
Chapters
1:36
How would your parents describe what you do?
3:09
First encounter with Hip Hop
8:16
Growing up in Oakland
18:00
Hip Hop in the Rave scene
27:33
Black roots of House music
33:13
Parental approval
40:18
Expressing yourself freely in dance
50:44
Maintaining health
54:54
Advice for teenage self
56:44
What is Hip Hop to you?
Souls of Hip Hop
Jamar Hopkins
Feb 09, 2021 Season 1 Episode 18
Jamar Hopkins

In this episode we talk with Jamar Hopkins aka Townshipsol. Jamar is an extraordinary dancer, visual artist, actor, entertainer, educator and mentor from Oakland, California. He represents Beatz N Pieces, as well as the Floor Lords Crew.

We chat about the rave scene in the bay, safe havens to express oneself, the development and black roots of house music, getting the approval of one's parents, how to always remain a student and so much more.

You can find Jamar here:
www.instagram.com/townshipsol/
www.facebook.com/jamar.hopkins
www.facebook.com/watch/liveatthedragon/
www.floorlords.org/
www.facebook.com/Beatznpieces/ 
 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/soulsofhiphop)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode we talk with Jamar Hopkins aka Townshipsol. Jamar is an extraordinary dancer, visual artist, actor, entertainer, educator and mentor from Oakland, California. He represents Beatz N Pieces, as well as the Floor Lords Crew.

We chat about the rave scene in the bay, safe havens to express oneself, the development and black roots of house music, getting the approval of one's parents, how to always remain a student and so much more.

You can find Jamar here:
www.instagram.com/townshipsol/
www.facebook.com/jamar.hopkins
www.facebook.com/watch/liveatthedragon/
www.floorlords.org/
www.facebook.com/Beatznpieces/ 
 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/soulsofhiphop)

Unknown:

You guys are hip hop! And what brings a tear to my eye, every time I think about it, it's you guys. You're like the poster for the end result of what we as hip hop practitioners or what children of the culture - if I had to pick up a dictionary and look up what does a child of the culture look like? It looks like you guys, two people from two different walks of life, from two completely different cultures coming together, out of love, each a different practitioner of a different art in the culture coming together to build something bigger. And then to express it with everybody else. Welcome to Souls of hip hop, a podcast for hip hop heads that aims to bring inspiring people together to share their wisdom, passion and unique stories. My name is Candy, and I'm DJ Razor Cut. And together we are Soulidarity - connecting souls organically. What's up fam, thanks for tuning in. You're rocking with your boy Townshipsol, aka Mr. Earl Jamal Hopkins straight out of Oakland, California, Bay Area by way of Boston Massachusetts. Beatz N Pieces crew aka one of the best Bay Area crews and also Floor Lords Boston's alumni, village of poppers, you know coming out of Connecticut, I roll with a bunch of different squads but my main family is Floor Lords in Boston and Beatz N Pieces of California. How would your parents describe what you do? How would my parents describe what I do? That's a very mixed question. My parents have been divorced since I was three. So my house has been kind of like divided, especially when it comes to my upbringing. But as of lately, I would definitely think that my mom would more or less describe what I do as artistic, amazing and unexpected. I definitely don't think my father will really have too much of an opinion. I think he will pretty much he like w th like my dad has does not have a hip hop bone in his body. So now that I've been at this for almost 30 years, it's been almost a 30 year education process for me to kind of get my dad on page to kind of get it wrap his head around, I will say this new school vibe that we got, my mom has always been hit. So she's always kind of been encouraging for me to be in the arts, but then for me to find an art and a culture that appeals to who I am. So she's always been really supportive. And she's never really surprised at what I do. I mean she is you seen it as I'm getting older that I can actually still do it. But over the years it took her a minute to kind of understand it once my mom came to my first college performance she understood it was she kind of had the lightbulb moment and then she came to my first jam and then when she seen me at my first jam and kind of see me in my element and see me around the people that that you know generally that I vibe with and see me with my crew and and seeing kind of like the respect that I get for what I do it kind of got a more abundantly clear for exactly like okay youngster I see you, I see you doing your thing, like I got it ever since then it's kind of like this big wild moment. What was your first encounter with your pop culture? Wow. The first time when I was aware of hip hop, I'll have to say the fresh first. I was like 910 years old, and I wanted a fresh Fest in 8586 actually, fresh fest was one of the very first hip hop concert strictly hip hop concerts were hip hop pioneers. The concert I went to is Run DMC, Houdini, Beastie Boys. I believe LL Cool J, it's pretty much all the original Def Jam artists that were the pioneering artists that created Def Jam records. Back in the days they they had their original Eau de fresh. They had this tour, which is the fresh Fest, and it started in New York and went cross country. I caught it at Oakland Coliseum in the height of the 80s and I was a little kid went to my first concert with my older cousin who I just saw today was like my older brother, you know guy Russian Marlin fan, aka DJ Malone. That was my first encounter. You know a little a little light skinned kid run around Oh, calcium should I have should not have been there. Oh, Clinton, the age and a crack era. And its first real East Coast hip hop concert. It was like a mixture for disaster. But I left that concert. I knew where I wanted to be. Right. It was the music. It was the base. It was the it was everyone being able to sing in unison. It was the dancers on stage. It was this appeal that came to me even as a little kid I went out I literally I left that spot with a Run DMC poster. And I Run DMC Raising Hell cassette tape. And I swear to God, those two things were to me were like Platinum at the time. I went nowhere without a pair of headphones, and my little Sony Walkman slapping us slapping that tape until my dad found it. And he smashed it. Literally. I bought Run DMC Raising Hell four times. The first cassette which I bought at the concert with my allowance, money. Right, I brought that jawn home. And my dad caught me listening to it. And he took it out of my tape deck, smashed it on the spot, threw it away, said a whole bunch of expletives about it and was like, left it at that and I was like, You know what? I was crying. I told my mom about it. She gave me the money to buy me another one. Or she bought me another. He found it again. smashed it up threw that one away, I got even more mad. So I was like fuck this shit went to the tower at the time we had a spot called Tower Records, went down to Tower Records. I mind you I'm a little like second grade third grade kid walking in a tower record and slapping fucking a Run DMC tape on the counter with you know me with my $10 you know me they looked at me like, go ahead. No, man. Yes, he would just see you go ahead little man. Mind you. I have my Lord ditas my little shell toes and my little league jeans. I'm trying to look the part you know, I'm saying. I mean, I'm trying to fill a hip hop. So you know, they saw this other swag this I mean, getting down. And I literally do that I learned took the rap rock in the store, plopped it in my little Sony Walkman and walk all the way home slapping that tape. It was best $10 I've spent and my mom found out that I bought a new one. And she called my father that day and was like, Listen, if I catch you, or hear that you threw this boy's tape away, one more time. It's gonna be me. And at that time, me and my mom, my mom, my father would not go on good terms. So it was just like a catalyst for disaster. But after that day, I went and I literally was a sponge for any and everything East Coast hip hop. I think my next couple of tapes after that was Slick Rick art of storytelling. MC Shan, I listened to MC Shan before I listened to KRS one. So I went from MC Shan to KRS one to MC like, all within like a summer only obviously, then I had like, you know, my West Coast influences with Too $hort, the DJ Quick's and all the Bay Area joint that was going on here. E40 at the time was really big. So, like a sponge, I was taking everything in, and then Breaking, Beat Street. I was like, Oh, it was literally like a big adrenaline rush to my system for at a young age to know and dig and find. To acclimate myself more with this culture that seemingly, I felt one with at an early age. I lived in California. And then I moved to Texas when I was like four. So from four to six, I was living in Texas, but I was the only kid that had already identified as in California, had a West Coast accent the whole night at a young age. My first time on a ranch was the funniest thing you've ever seen. I had Lee jeans, Adidas shell toes with no laces, a Wrangler flannel, and a Stetson cowboy hat. I imagined a six year old walk around a dude ranch with with his have country have hip hop. That's me. Literally, I see you laughing. But you know, it was the funniest description. So when I came home to California, I kind of brought that sensibility with me where I was kind of like already identifying with something. And I only got bigger. Once I got older. The dude rat sigh got left in California, but the hip hop state at nine is when I had to get went to my first house party. And we're gonna talk a lot about house parties and raised in a moment. Before that, can you paint us a picture of how Oakland was like when you were growing up, I won't just give you how Oakland was. I'll give you an idea, a case an idea of how the Bay Area was growing up during the golden era of hip hop. I was born in the 70s raised in the 80s. So call yourself have a baby means you have to been able to experience and be able to acknowledge what was going on in the 80s correct. So for me, it was literally at the height of you know 80s pop culture when it come to all the best cartoons you could possibly think of on television and the introduction of video gaming when it comes to Nintendo Sega, you know, all the all the classics, the intrical route to the golden era of hip hop when it comes to you know all the influential pioneering artists right now putting on some of their classic material. But at the same time, you had a lot of the funk and Boogie influence in the Bay Area when it comes to you know me having that funk. Having that influence from like Sly Stone, Tower of Power. Just say just to name a couple of groups that came out of barrier, the Doobie Brothers Santana, this is a lot of the stuff that molded the air that obviously go on to like the two shorts and the ant banks and the four E's and two clicks to spice ones to pop, digital underground poo man, just to say nice just to name a couple. We're starting to set the stage musically and culturally but at the same time on the flip politically, you had the height of the cracker, reaganomics the neighborhoods in which I lived in weren't the fucking best. I grew up with knowing about the AC mob. ac mob at the time it is and this is gonna show my age, especially for the people who listen in from the Bay Area. Who knows Talking about the AC model was a gang. They used to ride on AC Transit AC Transit was the bus line that literally ran throughout the Bay Area and it went from one pole in the Bay Area all the way through to another side of the barrier, right? They were ride the bus all fucking day and robbed people. That's what they did. They would get on and off the bus robbing people. They caught himself to AC mob, seeing somebody getting robbed for a Jordan's regular thing, seeing somebody get robbed, but at this tracksuit, regular thing. Somebody's just getting a pocket run regular thing has actually happened to me. once before. Yes, I had an ad to post a MacGyver shit and dip out the back window of a moving bus just starting gear up? Well, yeah, that kind of gives you an idea of the options that kids have back in the days on what to do with their time. Me On the other hand, I found hip hop. So these are my three options. I could play sports. I could be under the neighborhood and give me gang related or drug related. Or I could do some nerdy obscure shit. I chose the latter of the three. Just because one, my mama wasn't playing that shit. And I probably would get fucked up. I came home with like some colors on or she found a dope sack in my room. I'd probably die. She probably fucked me up. But too. I've always been an artistic kid. So I was looking for something that you mean, artistically it was going to always be stimulating. I liked sports. Don't get me wrong. I played football when I was a kid. I played basketball. I was a kid I ran track from junior high school all through high school. But they were never artistically stimulated. It never gave me an a creative outlet. It was very binary. Right? And for me, it just wasn't fulfilling. So when I found hip hop, and I seen movies like beach Street, I seen movies like crush groove I seen movies like break and break into as corny as they may have been now. At the time. They were the blueprints to the cornerstones of my life. I grew up thinking like fucking everybody. And so Carl was like Electric Boogaloo. I thought everybody was a popper. I thought everybody was a Boogaloo with everybody was a breaker when I went to LA, what I really didn't realize is that that was right around the corner from so it wasn't till like 10 years later, that I realized, like, yo, that's not in LA. That's here. I got the pioneers and Boogaloo right around the corner from so when I started going to community centers ymcas and seeing it smack dab in my face, it brought everything again full circle to where it was like, Okay, these are bigger science. For me, this is what I'm about. I'm not necessarily writing on walls, but I could definitely do that shit in the black book. I'm not old enough to go to the club to go battle like I see Rock Steady crew do New York breakers, I can do that. But I definitely go to my local YMCA and go hang out with some of the quote unquote dancers. And you know, learn a step or two shouts out to OGs, like, you know, OG crews like Housing Authority coming out of Richmond and Oakland. Shouts out to media circus, demons of the mind, cats that I used to see down at Fisherman's Wharf, shout out to Harry berry (rest in peace). We lost him this year, one of the original demons of the mind, called aka Silverman, you'll you'll catch him doing his Boogaloo and popping and roboting down at Fisherman's Wharf. These are the things that helped mold me as a kid, outside of just general pop and hip hop culture, riding bikes and skateboards and you know, busting out the cardboard and doing back spins in the driveway, to you know, making sure you're last in the house when the streetlights Come on, because that's when a gunshot starts. I hope I'm not painting a picture of everything all bad in the bay at the time, don't get me wrong, like the Bay Area at that time was probably one of the best places to be just because of his influence, what it set itself up to be now. You know, I mean, like there's things in the bay area that I don't think you'll be able to at that time you don't think you'd be able to find anywhere else except for you know, major cities. Like I grew up at a place called Malibu castle. Malibu was like the biggest fucking arcade in the West Coast. Like we only had a couple of Malibu like we had, you know, Malibu castle, the Malibu Grand Prix Malibu Grand Prix is where you can, you know, drive the little cars and whatever no bad occasion Alessia. But the castle was different. The castle was literally a manmade castle, filled with every arcade game you could possibly think of mini golf, batting cage, laser tag, the whole shit all in one fucking building. And as a kid, it was like a safe haven. Anything else around that and in my view wasn't set in the best neighborhood in Oakland, or anything else around that area was a red fucking flag. People will come from miles around cities around come to the castle. They wouldn't go into Oakland, but they will go to the castle. Right mind you the castle is a block away from Oakland Coliseum. So it was like you're coming for concerts and all that stuff as well. You knew that anything else going on around you in that neighborhood and our surrounding neighborhoods was all bad. Once you got to that spot. It was like you found Shangri La. It was literally as if you were in a safe haven and you were surrounded in this protective creative, fun zone. And even still you have high rival crews. rival gangs whatever coming to Malibu flagging having a colors out, you know what a cause what up blood what I've just done a third but inside, none of that shit went down. They knew it was like okay, it resonates now to this day when it comes to Oakland that once we have something when Oakland has something of pride, I eat a warriors I eat the Raiders, the As, Too $hort, E40 obviously give me to say the least Mr. fab, shouts out the dope era clothing, Mr. fab, I hear doing big things. But we have something upsetting something of worth, we hold on to it, it's sacred to us. You know, and at the same time we contribute to that, you know, we want to show that whatever that entity is how much we actually love what they're doing for us. Case in point, Steph Curry and the Warriors like to me to us, the Warriors will forever be open. Even though they moved to San Francisco in a play in San Francisco, the Warriors will forever be things of that nature will forever be coded sacred. So Malibu castle at one point in time was our sacred place. But it got torn down. The location that the castle was, there was the quote unquote, international rape center was a place called home base was built on that ground. Imagine how funny where one thing is removed and one thing was put in its place. And the kids that we used to go to that castle, then returned to this new safe haven, we had that run in for kids all over the Bay Area all over California will come to congregate in this one little spot, every fucking weekend for almost 15 to 20 years. It's that heritage, it's that sense of substances of worth, that when it comes to Oakland that once we have something, we hold on to it tight, we cherish it, we respect it. I grew up with that era where everything that was given to me has always been ever been taken for granted, especially with the culture, the culture to me is just there, I've always been able to see the most respectable parts for it, I will always say that I'll never be able to give our culture the credit it deserves, I'll never be able to pay back the culture in full the way it has actually fulfilled me over the years. as it grows, you can never fill it up, the cup is always going to continue to empty itself. So that can always be refilled. So they can always be replenished, to be replenished to replenish. So you can never really forsake it. For me, it's one of those things like I said, Oakland, Burton Bay Area Burton, that's why I'm back here, because it's given me so much. It's opened up so much for me, you know, be able to grow up in this era of hip hop and pop culture, and reaganomics and the aftermath of the crack era. And all this shit that has given me substance and given me character to take around the world knew me and it's actually made who I am as a person. It's kind of it created my viewpoint, it's made, it's helped me to seek out like minded individuals that connect with me on that level, right, that connect with all of these different facets of positivity. I think something that's interesting in conversations we've had before is how in the Bay Area, but also in Florida, where a lot of the hip hop, I found were actually at raves, a little bit about these parties. And you also found hip hop, so did take this right, I was watching a documentary on house music last night called Pump up the volume, you can find it on Netflix, it's two or three hours long of game. And now this is like the fourth time I've watched it. And every time I watch it, I pick up on that little caveat and a little tidbit a game that I really probably passed over the first time. But every time I watch it, it gives me more validation on a key point that I'm actually telling you about in a minute. But as far as to your question, the bay area has been a melting pot for years, years. And even before the rave culture before the hip hop culture, the bay area has been, you know, a melting pot of diversity, whether it be you know, in the civil rights movement to the hippie movement, the Bay Area itself has had his fingers in diversity, I can even say that it has been a symbol of diversity for a lot of other cultures, you know, me around the country, and especially in the state where you come to the bay specifically for that, but not so much when it comes to the music with the media interpretation of what hip hop is and a rap. A lot of the places weren't genuinely catering to that. So, you know, you really didn't have too many places, allowing people who are the hip hop generation to be hip hop, they put specific mandates on like where you'd want to if you're gonna play hip hop, okay, what do you got to have a dress code, and your dress code has to be such, where, if you're the boy, there's no fucking way you got to go get down and your Sunday's best. It's not gonna happen. You know, me those type of restrictions, and the type of biases that they will put on hip hop has literally to increase the piece of cut down on the violence that they saw coming with rap culture, not knowing that rap culture and hip hop culture aren't the same fucking thing, right? We know this, they don't. So they would do certain things like that. And especially for us 1718 1920 year old kid that looking for a safe haven to go get down, there are few and far between, right? There were certain clubs that we had that had 18. And under nights, they were cool. But at the same time, we all had curfew. So you had to get your ass on. And they were expensive. So we SB boys in the Bay Area. Also, this is pre social media, pre cell phone, free Google Maps, say hear about a jam. To hear about a party or any type of function of that nature, you have to do your research. And on top of that, you had to have a way to get there, whether a friend with a licensed car, something like that bus pass a mom or dad who was willing to drop your ass off and pick you back up. So those little places were also few and far between. Yeah, we had jams on a regular weekend basis throughout the summer. But if a jam starts at 2:30, and it's over by eight, your day or your nights over, there's no more dancing for you unless you go home and do the OGs you'll be gonna go practice in the living room because my mom my dad off when they tried to watch me on the cube. So actually being here in California, we all consider ourselves a counterculture. Whereas we had, you know, the abundance of not just hip hop culture coming out of Bay Area, but we had a really good house culture. Really good house music has come out of the Bay Area over the last 30, 40 years. Very, very substantial house artists house labels producing dope tracks out of the Bay Area, ie own. You know, you have artists like Mark Farina. Miguel MiGs, simply Jeff DJ, I see DJ Daniels come here all the time. But I say that to say this while that culture was thriving, you also had the counterculture of the B boy hip hop scene. And at the same time, you have kids from both countercultures looking for places to hang out and looking for ways to express yourself and party. Boom comes the rave scene. Well, we found when dancers found the rave scene here, it was obscure for big boys to go dance to house breaks, and drum and bass. But it was as if it was our calling to do so. Number one, because it gave us a place to go be free. I'll tell you my first experience my first race I was 13. And my boy took me in my race for the first time I ever did acid and do told me because I was intimidated. I'm at a party. I'm a B boy. I'm a hip hop head. I'm coming off of the column A Big Daddy Kane kid and Play House Party days and I'm saying everything up the everything hip hop, r&b ish fueled, dancing like mob tops, you know, elite force that early that early era, but to have that transition and go to this electric synth music or what I thought at the time, which is why boy shit, it flipped me over because I'm seeing these people dance for the first time. And it blew my mind like I was thinking and looking at scrapping scooping all these hip hop do these hip hop dance. Rocksteady shabba doo Boogaloo shrimp fable Wiggles, I'm looking at all these dudes. I'm like, yo, those are the dudes. But then it didn't dawn on me that Yo, these underground cats are killing it. And there's no way I could fuck with them. And I was like, and I literally clammed up and I was like, I'm not dancing. My boy was like, bro, what are you talking about? You're like the best one of the best answers. I know. And I'm like, dude, these dudes are on a whole nother level. Like, I can't I'm I'm wallflower. And he was like, bro, I'm gonna tell you one thing. No one here cares what you look like, well, no one cares what color you are, what sex you are, what you look like as a dancer, whether you're good or bad. As long as you're filling the music, you're filling the energy, they are going to give you love. And that statement has resonated with me like Dude, it's about the love. So I went home, high off acid had a bad trip. But the thing I sat with me like is all that the scene was all about love. So when I went to my second grade, I was prepared and I was like, Okay, I get it, I get it. I kid the dancers are all about the love and all of the love. That's when I met my first group. And we're the same thing. We're a bunch of dancers, bunch of b-boys coming into this new realm and trying to find our spot trying to find our place and how we fit in and it wasn't through nothing but kind of like divine intervention is that we found each other. We battled each other in turn figured that we liked each other style. Our style is similar. And then we in turn when ballad everybody else, but it was a matter of Okay, this feels right. They have hip hop playing in the other room. They're booking acts like Method Man Redman, Grandmaster Flash and the furious five, the roots. We're getting hip hop, but it's a feuse, right? So you got house dancers and underground dancers dancing to hip hop at rapes. But in the next room, you have the same dancers dance in a house. So it wasn't something that was like, Okay, this is foreign. It was more or less like, Alright, we can dig it, we can get it. Okay, this is a judgmental safe spot. So you're not gonna judge me on me doing You're not going to I'm not gonna judge you on popping, and I'm not gonna judge you on house and then I go judge you on, you know, whacking, and pumpkin vogon we all going to coexist together in exchange in the same circles and build this energy, build this community build this familiarity with each other, so that we see each other every weekend, we become community. So if we didn't have, I mean, we did in a certain aspect have a separation. But when we came together to these parties, we were one community, we didn't give a shit. I mean, no one cared that, you know, you're a backpack boy, or no one cared that you were an underground house head, or no one cared that you were homosexual, and you were you were doing volgen. And you're wack and you're a punk and you were dressing in very avant garde outfits. Now, when we came together, we were all family. I think that's one of the main things that taught a lot of us coming out of the rave scene is that not only did we ever find family with each other, but we were also able to now tune our minds and our ears to a whole different set of music that sets us apart from anybody else. Now, I was telling some of our crew members and floor Lords a couple of years ago, and I was like, Listen, bro, I've been dancing since 89. I started raving in 93. And I was like this mind you this is Conan and Lily, I'm talking to you. Like when you're born. You're like, Bro, I was born in 96. I'm like, Doug, I've mastered listening to mixes that were produced when you were born. He's like, I don't I don't get it. I mean, listen, at this point, you need to go back and listen to what we were dancing to at that era. So you can understand not only where you came from, but where the game has come from since then. Because there's gaps in the game. But we can listen to auto breaks from the 50s 60s 70s and 80s. All he wants to write all the hip hop through the 90s. But we're at our culture go from the 90s. Till now it went underground, we'll be listening to what we perfecting what we'll be dancing to, what was our culture being exposed to, in that period of time? I don't want to break beat mix from 96. And they were like, bro, what is this? I'm like, you know what, don't worry about it. You'll catch up to this in about another 15 years, you can be thinking of some new shit. But realistically, some of us Oh heads, we can like bro, we was listening to that 20 years 20, 30 years ago. This is why my style is so diverse. Now, I've been dancing to shit, that it's almost a forgotten culture. Whereas now it's looking as retro. But for us, it's like Dude, that was on the forefront of what was to be knew back then, this documentary that I watched, really put a lot in perspective. Number one, the influence in a pioneering of House Music by African Americans in this country. Number one off top, that here in California, we don't understand as African Americans and people of color, we don't understand our influence and our pioneering in that culture in that art there realistically that that art came from what we already previously created, which is hip hop, r&b, disco. It wasn't till later that when it came over here, before he came over here and went to Europe and went to the UK, and got popular in the UK. Then it came back here. By the time it came back here. We was done with black folks here. We'd never got an opportunity to understand that Yo, that's our fucking music too long with the jazz to hip hop, r&b, the rock and roll house music is our music to that she came from black DJs from black disco gay clubs is growing around New York, Chicago and Detroit. Went down south, went down to Miami, went down to Florida, got some bass to it, got some freestyle to it. Came back to California got a little more groovy, little soulful. But same time, it's always been that same route. We got to hear who's listening to raves. We were listening to what they was playing in the UK. We were listening on that vibe. When they already took it in and spent it and created grunge. They created Gries they created two step. They create a broken beat. They created dark core, they created all these other obscure versions of house. But the real core house came from our community, my community, they look at me Listen, and I'm audible. I'm squared. I've listened to that white boys shit. But I literally had to break the faces of some of my brothers and sisters in the game, especially when my pops my pops is Oh gee musician. So he's really a stickler on instrumentation and arrangement. And it was the same shit. Oh, you listen to that white boy. Should you listen to that white people shit. But it's like, dude, let me help you to cast like Todd Terry, the mayor of you cast a dish forever. Let me hit you to catch the Frankie knuckles. Masters that work these his brothers. Okay. Look, when they were producing this music. They wasn't just producing this shit in 2000 they weren't producing the ship in the 90s they was pushing this ship back in 88, 85, 84. The whistle song that's just been out since the 80s So let's like bro, when everything else in black culture was still going on with the r&b and hip hop and all that shit, we were still contributing to this in full fledge. Because these DJs that came up with this hip hop shit weren't being able to play what they wanted to in the clubs, the clubs was changing. So it was like, you got to get it with the club, like two times. So they took exactly what they knew. Okay, fine, we'll get with the time we'll make some new shit that the time has to catch up to us now. So when we put out these simplified tracks, that everybody's like, Oh, shit was just rough. Like bro, we've been did that. We were doing that with Grandmaster Caz was a great scratching. Like that was us. They just took those same tools that they learned in the parks dropping breakbeats and brought that into the clubs and dropped house, we're bringing these, but it was like when it came to here, those were the roots that we connected to. Those are the things that kept us as dancers going the house. Those are things that we keyed in on like, yo, that's a James Brown break, yo, that's a hip hop track. That's a Wu Tang track to a house. Yo, we gotta get down, we can't like, we can't let this go by. And like I said, All everything comes full circle, whereas like the same B boys are in the 50s and 60s and 80s. In the 90s. We listen to these James Brown tracks, these James Brown breaks. These Donald Byrd, these Chuck brown breaks, there'll be dropped in these tracks they were looking for, we did the same thing when it came to house in Canada and going to these places, with the Oh gee homie to shore, so we had to get in where we fit in. So when we heard it, let's go, let's let's hit the circle, let's let's, let's go bomb the circle real quick. We may not hear this track again all night, nine times out of 10, you're probably gonna hear it three or four times because the party's gonna go to eight o'clock in the fucking morning. We didn't know that shit. We're we're jumping at the first opportunity to dance and express ourselves to beats and tracks that we readily identify with, even though they're coming in this different setting. So it was one of those things where we had to not only adapt, but at the same time. Once we did adapt, we showed ownership. You gotta live your truth. I can never take away and say that I'm not a kid of the of the rave era. I'm very much a kid at a rave, or I'm very much a dancer that perfected my style in the rave era. Because why that was my safe haven. That was where I found my family after I found my crew. And I hate to say it, but this is gonna sound weird. That's where I found my girl My son's mother. We met 20 years ago in the rave scene. Right? I had a crush on her back then. Wasn't two, three years ago, though, we decided that we found when we picked it back up. We decide like oh, yeah, I remember you. And you remember, I remember you and Oh, she I thought you're cute back then I thought well did in the middle of it. Next thing you know, I'm here. And we want to have a seminar in April. So there's nothing that I can say, as a dancer negative about the scene. That didn't help me. I mean, sure, there was some caution signs that comes with every scene, you mean obviously there was a drug use, but that comes with everything. Now the other scene like disco, or like the jazz scene or anything at the time, but it was for every one bad thing. There were 10 or 20 years 10 to 20 good things about it. For me. This is the one thing I think to me stands out and as literally like a fuck you to the man is that my father used to do private security all through the 90s my father didn't know what I you should really mean my father have never really had that type of a relationship. So he never really knew what I did on the weekends. Like he knew I wanted to hang out with my boys. I had this dance crew, and we would go do shows and you know, maybe we'll get a little pocket change here and there and go, dude, we'll get hired to do like a little bar mitzvah or some yellow pocket change whatever. We never really knew what I did on the weekend. Go live with my mom at the time. But he did security for a second time. So one night, me and my boys were at the pumpkin party. We're tearing it up we Balinese we're battling this crew and we're going at it and when the security guard was watching our circle, turns out it was a couple of Easter so dude was watching our circle watching us do flares and you know me do cake cakes and the whole nine and top rock and host shit and he was like in it like yo yo, go go go go go you guys you do so he went and got my pops. Yo Henry, come here. Yo, yo, yo, Hopkins, come here. Come here you go watch these kids. The kids are dope. He brought my father to watch me and my crew badland some other kids that night my father saw me and his jaw hit the fucking ground. Not only that his because I was at a rave. And it was like three four in the morning at the time. But it obviously I knew where his mind went obviously he's at a rave there's drug use this artist other shit. Like, I mean, my son's off fucking whatever the fuck am I just a time when I was looking for the straight edge. I didn't do shit. I was there for the love. I was there for the dancing. I was there for the music. I didn't do drugs. But he sat there for what was probably 20, 30 minutes circle. And he sat there for like 15 minutes and he left came back kinda his little view from afar and every time he came back, my boys would point out their day Yo, bro. And every time he would come over, I will go out in a circle now kill it, go do some ill shit, hit a butterfly twist, hit a cake kick and hold it for a few seconds, hit the inverted hold it for a few seconds and every time I'll do it, I'll look at it. So one point he just came over to me, he grabbed me by my arm, there's a you need to go home. I was like, do you see what I'm doing? These people fucking love me, man. Like, we ain't doing shit out here. But having fun and expressing ourselves. You can get down with that. I don't know what's wrong with you. I snatched my arm away. I was like, Look, you can come over here. And if you really want to, if you really down with this shit, you'd come over here and watch. And his partner looked at him and looked at me and was like, go ahead on little Hopkins, you got you kind of wrong. You got one little Hopkins go head on. And I went back to the circle. And as soon as I went back to the circle, I went back to the circle. There was some dude those in the circle. He left, I went back and I crushed the circle. And everybody went crazy. And my dad was sitting there with this like, rooting look on his face. But then when he went home, he came back and was like, Yeah, all of my co workers couldn't didn't know had no idea that you could do what you do. And I was like I told you, like I literally took him aside and I was like, Listen, this is what I do, man. This is what I'm good at. You want me to be good at music. You want me to be good at sports. I'm not good at none of that shit. That she goes during that show. Like, this is what I'm good at. This is what I spend my time doing. And mind you I sold him this shit, crying. Like it's even kind of making me wired up a little bit right now. Because of the resentment that my father half of what I did for what I love, right? And he was like, I'm never gonna be supportive of that hip hop, shit. I'm never gonna do this. I'm never I'm like, Listen, this is what I'm good at. There's not many things out there as at that time as a 16, 17 year old kid that I put pride on. It was my art. And my dancing. Maybe my fucking shoe collection. These are the only things that I took pride and these are only things that made me happy. I told her that Listen, I don't fucking do drugs. me. I might smoke a little weed, but I don't fucking do drugs. When I come here. I'm completely fucking sober. And when I leave here, I'm completely fucking so I come here to express myself. I come here to get all the stresses and strains that you people as my family having all this toxic domestic fucking yelling and all this extra fucking shit. That as a kid, this is my only outlet. I could be doing 1001 different fucking things. I could be out here selling dope. I could be out here having sex having 1001 kids, but I'm not. What am I here with a bunch of positive people with my closest friends expressing ourselves dancing. We're literally mom saying be street when I got arrested for dancing the subway. Yeah, I arrested the kids for dancing. There's 1001 thing these kids couldn't be doing out here that I know. But you're gonna arrest him for dancing. That's what I told my pops. I'm out here doing the most positive thing I could possibly do. And if you want to support me cool, and that's gonna end that day. I drew a line in the sand. And I was like, This is my life. And my life came from that. So now that I'm a 42 I've traveled the world. It all comes back in retrospect, when I look at my pops my Listen, when I remember when I was you see me at raves and I was doing this and I was doing that. Good. Tell me this now saying that. Okay, listen, the opportunities that I've had. Up until now, we've never came about it. I was never put in a situation. I would never be in a situation I am now. When he came to my first college performance, and I got my first solo performance in college. It was a big deal. Because I invited my whole family. My mom showed up, both of my grandmother's showed up, my mom showed up and my dad showed up and my dad showed up he showed up late and he didn't sit next to nobody. He was in the back of the house the whole time. What was funny is that my mom came up to me my mom kind of gave me this look like it clicked for her. How all these nights of me coming home at like eight 9, 10 o'clock in the morning when she hadn't seen me since like eight, 9, 10 o'clock the night before. I'm coming home. I'm drenched in sweat. I got a backpack full of sweaty shirts. I smell like cigarettes and smoke, artificial smoke from the fucking smoke machines and smell like just a dirty little teenager. She didn't realize that all of those nights of doing out and dancing and perfecting what I did, led me up to this solo performance in my college. So when I see me on stage for the first time, she came up to me and the only thing she said was, you know what, I get it now. And it was that was it. And she know what she did. She was the most odd shit she just gave me to get it now. And she gave me the path. And I was done. And it was literally signed, sealed. Check is written. I'm certified mom's mom's approved. I was on Easy Street. So literally after that. I talked to my pops. And as to me it was it was like his opinion didn't even matter. He just gave me to I was cool. And I was like you know what? That's enough. Mom just gave me a pound. I'm in the right spot. And to think that if it wasn't for me being you know, an obscure raver or raver at the time, a lot of the things that I hold sacred wouldn't be in my life today. I'm very fortunate, and I'm, I'm very blessed. You're an amazing dancer, every time you go out. It's like you're taking people to school. It's just beautiful to watch and like you. And it's also me as a spectator can watch and feel it, but also as a dancer wants to vibe along with you, which is something that is part of the culture is that feeling. So I would really like to know what advice you would give artists that are trying to find that feeling or trying to learn how to use improvisation within their art form. That's a good question. I'll start with for me, and then I'll give my advice for other dancers if that's okay. Dance has always been my outlet, right? It's been my therapy. I won't sugarcoat it any more than that, that has literally been therapy for me throughout the years, whether it be from high school till now, it has been my therapy and my comfort blanket. Meaning that it's a space that not only that I created, but a space that was created for kids and other people like minded like myself, to have some type of security and security and being yourself. That's it, no cap, not being able to put on a mask and kind of hide behind it. But it's an opportunity for me to take that mask off. We all put on masks, when we are plagued or we're affected with adversity or something in our life, that mean that we want to hide from you. Right, we all do. If you don't, there's some fucking room. But we all do, we all put up these masks, or put up these binders or these barriers that will shield us from the outside world. Or it's hiding or shielding something that we don't want affected by the outside world. For me, it was me, I didn't want to be hurt by the outside world. I as a kid was raised, you know, like, especially with my father, you know, with this hyper sensitive, hyper protected environment, that, you know, I grew up with that seed in the back of my head. And once I'm out outside in the world, I gotta be hyper vigilant, I gotta be hyper paranoid. So for me to find something that where I can take my cool off, and I can don't have to worry about being hyper paranoid, this was my end, this was me, I can create things that I can't create on paper, I am just as versed in painting and drawing as I am in density. But the difference between drawing something two dimensional on a piece of paper, versus what I can draw up here, in my mind and articulate through my physical form, is something completely different. Not to mention, this is the closest way for me and my dad to actually tap in together. I came up with this theory. And the theory is we have different jobs. A musician, his job is to create an image for your ears. A vocalist, their job is to articulate what that musician is trying to convey verbally. As a dancer, it's your job to articulate not only where the music is going, the message that that vocalist is trying to convey in the emotions of the vocalist is trying to convey. But also the imagery that comes along with that. It's up to you to convey that into display and to somehow creatively show that in physical form. That's how I interpreted. So whenever I hear music, I'm weird because I see music and color, I see music and a feeling, I can feel it resonate differently than I can then just regular on paper. So when that gets internalized, is regurgitated in a different form. If I bug out, it's because I'm like, I'm seeing fireworks. But at the same time, if something touches in here, and I can't articulate or find the actual verbal words, to express how I feel, or express how that makes me feel or the emotions that I'm developing. The only other way for me to do is to move. And when I move, I'm a vessel. I'm living I take it in, I take whatever that is, and I kick it out. However, it wants to come back out. There are certain songs that I love dancing. I love dancing, I love dancing. But if I listen to him, and I sit still, they make me cry because of the message, because of what I see that normal people won't necessarily actually recognize. it's up to me to show them what's my vision, what's making you move that way. Why are you so passionate behind that? Where's the passion coming from? Not even just what's the music doing to you, but what do you have going on? That's making it turn about that way For me, yeah, it's just a matter of being open being expressive, and never really selling yourself short. Your way of moving is your way of moving your way of expression, your way expression, no one can put blinders on that, especially for a dancer that is looking for safe haven. Right? I've always told people, especially when it comes to top rap, and my main thing was that you know what, number one, learn your foundation and learn how to dance. Go back, do your history, learn your foundation, but at the same time, it's once you do learn it, move without thought. Don't think about it. Do what the music tells you to do. If the music tells you that you want to go hard, go hard. Do music coffee to be soft Bissau. Don't let anybody else stifle you? Like do you move the way you want to move, don't move the way someone tells you to move. I mean, don't go to a class, searching for knowledge for material. And number one, expect yourself to move like that person. That's never gonna happen. But take what you learn and internalize it. Make it your own. regurgitate it the way that your body wants you to not the way that this person does. Because then you're not gonna look authentic. You're never gonna look like yourself. You can look like somebody else. For me. I've always taken classes, or I've seen some of my favorite mentors, or favorite dancers. minds. You like Michael Jackson. That's a it's a sale to give you a reference point. But I've never wanted to be Michael. I love the way Michael moves. I love the way Michael expresses himself. I love the way he's taken what he's learned and created his own style book for me. I want to do that Michael, my way. I can see where you go with it. I see where you're going with it. I see what you're doing. But I want to do you my way. So my Michael impression I got a clean I got a cold Michael Jackson impression. But my Michael Jackson impression is me doing Michael Jackson. I'm not trying to be Michael Jackson. I'm township so doing Michael Jackson moves. So that it comes out looking like me every time it doesn't come out looking like Michael comes out looking at me. Right? I've taken wiggles classes. But I've never wanted to look like Windows, I just want to take the material and internalize it so that I can use it as a different way. Or a more efficient way of me expressing myself is literally taking dance for expression and using them as words. Or, in my case, I'm using as paint different colors to add to a different Canvas every time I see the dance floor to me as a cam. I'm using steps as colors. I'm using steps as brushstrokes. This is me creating a picture for you to interpret. Once you see it, you're gonna be like, that's fresh. Or you be like, you know, let me fucking delve into that. Let me pay attention. Because there's something there that I'm missing. So let me pay attention so I can catch it. Maybe not catch it this round. But maybe the next time I see him, I'll catch it then. But I always like to leave breadcrumbs for people. I always sometimes I leave conversation, especially when it comes to dance or leave conversations unfinished, just because I want to kind of challenge you to see exactly Okay, well, where was he? Where was he gonna go next? Now what was he trying to say to? Or Damn, I'd never thought that I could look at the music that way before. I never thought that I listened to this song 1000 times before I've never seen it. articulate it that way. is always love challenge. Don't be me. Don't beat him. Don't be the next person. Be yourself. Study train. Yes. You know, think outside the box. Yes. But at the end of the day, make sure that you're only speaking your own truth. You only being you. We don't have time for two b-boy Ivan's. But at the same time, B-boy Ivan won't always be B-boy Ivan. That's why he is teaching people to be the next version, the next version of himself. That's me, Ivan is one of my greatest mentors. And one of my greatest inspirations. And if I can take anything away from Ivan, is that this dance is 90% mental 10% physical, which meaning is that your brain 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of creativity, it only takes this much physical effort. So with that being said, it's you can create whatever you want to it's only gonna take this much effort for you to actually physically do it. That's why when you see me dance, I'm really doing the same shit twice. See I have my certain patterns but I try to stay completely free flowing. I never want to be able to have how they say 10 toes down. I want to be able to be ready for whatever the music wants me to convey. You know that's where that's that 90% mental comes in where it's just like I'm always thinking of you know, being outside of the box. Obviously I have my foundation but I always want to be like water it that Bruce Lee saying flow like water my friends. I always want to be able to flow I never want to be able to be strapped down and be categorized or be able to be centralized in a one go box. Bruce Lee created g condo right to to be an answer for all fixed for martial arts. me as a kid growing up watching Bruce Lee and watching martial arts like that shit stuck with me like flies on shit. Oh, okay. So in order to beat this guy Didn't know, not only what he knows, but anything and everything else. Got it. But it's not necessarily about beating somebody, it's about how can I have all the tools to express myself? Correct. And in order to do that, you have to be, you know, here's another quote from another paper pioneer, you have to always be a student, shout out to my homeboy Paulskee, Rock Force crew, you know, I'm always student, I'm always learning, I'm always trying to flow and tap into the flow, because the flow is always moving, the flow is never stagnant, the flow is always going to be moving. So if you open yourself up to always constantly being a part of the flow, you're always going to be great at we aren't gonna have that outlet and ability to create a fly. How do you sustain your health, both physically, mentally, you know, I've been getting that. And again, it kind of goes back to that caveat of being able to kill the racing, right? I mean, my girl was sitting back one day, we're thinking about COVID. And we're thinking about, you know, how serious it is health wise how detrimental it is for everybody to for me to properly protect themselves and take care of themselves. But we're kids of the rave era, dirty warehouses, fucking 1000s of sweaty kids, smoking weed, smoking cigarettes, fucking hellish temperatures of like, 100 degrees and sort of stifling air, like, we've put our bodies through hell, for this dance, you know, breaking on concrete, there's so much health conditions that we put ourselves through for this culture and for this dance, that is almost health condition, you no longer now say that to say this, I'm 42. And I look at some of my friends that are in my same age bracket, that are also 42 that are in far worse shape than I am. They never did anything active, let alone be able to go to a rave and dance for fucking 12 hours straight. You know, I think being able to start dancing and never really stopped, also helped me with my conditioning. Now, there's been one and a half opportunities where I've actually had to stop dancing. The first was I lived in Boston, and I have foot surgery. And everybody in Boston saw Jamar walk around with the Buddha shame on. But at the same time, I never stopped moving. I had to walk everywhere I had to go, I didn't have a car, I didn't want a car, I walked everywhere. And I had a fucking walking cast on it. I never stopped, we went to a jam, I might have slowed down. But I really really didn't actually stop moving. It was to the point where people would have to grab this edge mark, you need to stop you don't fuck your foot through. If I stopped moving, I die. COVID is the only other time where I've literally had an extended period of time where I'm not out training four days a week because training isn't just training. Training is practice Tuesday, Thursday for a couple of hours. And then Friday, Saturday, Sunday is I What the fuck we get into now because we're about to go cipher and go down or hit a jam. I don't have that I have cipher into my living room. And I'm chasing around two cats and a dog. And then I'm doing whatever the boss wants me to do around him around the house. And then I have my once a month, you know, variety shows, I do a little setting. So I'm dancing like once a month. But that's my dance. And that's it. Everything else beforehand has led up so now kind of like I've cashed in of physical ability bank, I just been cashing in over the years of cashing in cash and cash. I mean, the guy should be in the costume. So now I was like maybe we can go ahead and deduct some of that cash in and because very nothing to do. I used to smoke cigarettes wishes people on heard of I do how do you smoke cigarettes and dance like the way you do? And it's like, bro, it's it's all in moderation. I've always tried to stay physically, like as far as like, you know, my health wise, take as much as I can in my my health and my consideration. Try to eat as healthy as I can when I can. That hasn't always been the case, but I try flexibility. I have always had a profound even though I'm fucking a fat dude. I've always tried to be profoundly and be able to stretch as much as I can just know my limits, man. It's just knowing my limits. You know, never really never really overindulging. I'm lactose intolerant. Cheese and ice cream. all bad. But I'm a big cheese burger. As much as I want my beer cheese sauce burger right now. God dammit, I can't have it. But it's about moderation. It's about knowing your limits and thinking along when I see some of these dancers nowadays, and somebody showed that they're doing and I'm like, dude, you get my age. yo ass is going to hurt. Kid Columbia. And one of his moves is doing a front flip that you don't land. you land on your chest. I'm like, Okay, in my day we weren't doing shit like that. We did we did move that didn't consist of that much agony. What is a piece of advice you would give your 16 year old self Wow, you know what? That's a question that I've always said, If I always wish that I had the game that I have now, then, because if I had the game that I have now then it would be a whole different fucking story. What would I tell myself my 16 year old. So, number one, always be a student. Number two, never deny love. That's another story that I have, I got some profound wisdom from a psychic do told me that I'm going to meet somebody that's going to love me, but I'm going to deny them. And I believe that I'm in a situation now, where in the beginning of our relationship, I was kind of denying the affection and love of my girlfriend was trying to give me the beginning. But now that I look at it, and now that I've kind of settled in to my place in our relationship, I will never do that again. Because you know, it was unconditional, it was free. Even though I didn't want it, it was still something that's really available to me. Now that it's here is one of the best things that I have in my life. never deny love. always speak your truth and always live your truth. and study the course never deviate. If I could throw on the air mags, and jump in a DeLorean. And, you know, go back some years like Marty McFly and like do look at him, then I might look at me bro. Like, look at where we live. Look at what you have. Let me tell you some of the shit that you're gonna do over the next 30 years. This is just going to be your life. Prepare for it. When it comes about, be thankful. Let's face it for now. You know, we all need to be thankful for life. All thankful for health, health, wealth and life we all need to be thankful for right about now. But at the same time thankful that for the people that have come along the way you know that have come to inspire your life, teach you new things about yourself, but also give you new experiences. Yeah, man, you know to quote my mom do what it do and keep it moving. What is hip hop to you? What did Snoop Dogg say "he is I and I am him". I am hip hop, hip hop is me. Hip Hop is home. Hip Hop his family. Hip Hop is love. Hip Hop is my Cruz. You know, shout out to you guys. Hip Hop is my family. Shout out to you guys shout out the floor, shout out the Beatz N Pieces, chocolate to all aspects. Hip Hop is home. Shout out to Boston shout out to you know the Bay Area. Hip Hop is my life. Hip Hop is my teachers hip hop is salvation. Hip Hop as God is unconditional love. You know, I'm saying it's something that we all we all search to find. We all search to look for it, but readily understand that it's right there in front of us. You know, hip hop is our safe haven. You know, and I'm not talking about rap, or what people who are listening to this podcast Can you know what they have been forced fed to believe what hip hop is, hip hop is being able to look when each other in the eye, not knowing each other's backstory, but look each other in the eye and find a similarity or some type of common ground that bridges us together. That's hip hop, to me, this is gonna be a tear jerker, hip hop to me is Pascal's and my relationship, being able to be there for your crew mate, in his time of need, and allowing him to live really, and then build a brothership that's hip hop, you know, longevity, I can give you 1001 different adjectives of what hip hop means to me. But I think the only one I think that really stands out to me is family. I've been able to, to say that if it wasn't for hip hop, I wouldn't have such a fucking dope, extended family. If it wasn't for hip hop, the opportunities that I've been able to be blessed with, I wouldn't have. I wouldn't have the game that I have now. Something just like they say house is a spiritual thing. Hip Hop as a spiritual thing for me. To me, it's all about that fifth element. The combination of all four elements of hip hop creates that fifth element for me And to me, that's where I live in that fifth element, it is where you know, it's about love and oneness. Thank you so much to our guests, Jamar Hopkins for taking the time and being so open and sharing your perspective with us. Some of the gems we took away from this interview were: for many hip hop practitioners, the culture is a shelter for the soul, and a safe haven for creative expression. Self Confidence turns a spark into flames of achievement. Many times you have to believe in yourself when no one else does. Unconditional Love is never wasted and time never waits. Our theme music was beatbox by Denis the Menace and produced by Zede. The big shout out to the brothers from Switzerland. The background music was produced by Taki Brano. A big thank you to our broski from Providence. Much love to K-Won for your support and dedication to the culture. Our podcast basically runs on coffee to keep our show running you can support by buying us a coffee through the link in our show notes. A huge thank you to BoxWon, Ivory, Lady champ and rock lobzter for buying us coffee. We really appreciate your support. We would love to get your feedback questions and any suggestions you might have. You can reach out to us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @soulidarityLLC for via email [email protected] If you like today's show, please tell a friend about our podcast or as Phife Dawg would say: tell your mother, tell your father, sent a telegram. In our next episode, we have Kevin Gopie aka DJ Renegade. Kev is a so called first generation street dancer and co founder of the first European hip hop formations. Since the early 80s, he has been a renowned turntablist, break DJ, break judge, mentor, and was part of the team to develop a brand new judging system for breaking in the 2018 Youth Olympics. He represents Soul Mavericks, Monsterz Popping Crew, Scratch Perverts and Sons of Noise. He currently lives in London, UK. Don't forget to subscribe to the show and leave a rating and review. We'll see you on our next episode. Thank you for listening to our podcast. No, seriously though, thank you. I am Candy. I'm DJ Razor Cut. And this is Souls of Hip Hop.

How would your parents describe what you do?
First encounter with Hip Hop
Growing up in Oakland
Hip Hop in the Rave scene
Black roots of House music
Parental approval
Expressing yourself freely in dance
Maintaining health
Advice for teenage self
What is Hip Hop to you?