In this episode, we talk to Kevin Gopie aka DJ Renegade. Kevin 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, breaking 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 Crew, Scratch Perverts and Sons of Noise, from London, UK.
We chat about his upbringing in Guyana and the UK, his contributions to turntablism and the brit-core scene, creating a judging system for breaking in the Olympics, the work that goes into commentating live events, and ways for the hip hop community to grow.
You can find him at:
Yeah, I'm still learning. I'm 51. And I'm still learning every day. Like, I didn't stop growing at 12 years old or 15 years old. You're constantly gonna be learning. 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. Hi. I'm Kev from London, aka DJ Renegade. Welcome to our podcast. How would your parents describe what you do? Oh, damn. That's a hard question. You had to go straight in, didn't you? Thanks for the invite. And I'll be seeing ya. I don't know my parents have always been supportive. If I'm completely honest, like whichever road I decided to take, they've always been supportive of me. They did want me to be an academic when I was younger. But I think as I grew up, they could see that I was focused on the things that did choose to do. And as long as I had focused on wasn't all over the place. They were happy with that. So they're quite supportive of what I was doing. How would they describe it, though? I don't know. I mean, they're not from this generation. How would they describe something they don't understand? I don't know. You'd have to ask. Well, my dad's dead now. But my mom, you could ask. Yeah. But like, Mom, how would you describe what I do? Do you know why I do? Because I think sometimes I have friends ask her what I do. And she's like, I'm not sure. I think he judges but he's a DJ. And he's something to do with the Olympics now. And there's stuff on television, and he's done. She's not she's not sure. So I'm not sure. What were you like, as a kid? Interested. I had lots of different hobbies when I was a kid. So I did BMX in, I got into the roller skating thing. I was into early computer games, because that's my era, I had a personal computer at home. So I was into programming on that. I was into maths and science, and I was into anything that came along music I was into, I was interested in dance very early on, and because of my sister, so I would say as a kid interested. If you can get in a time capsule, go back in time and meet your younger self, what piece of advice would you give your younger self? Hip Hop is gonna ruin your life? I don't know, that's a hard one. Because there's a alternate universe where I did go the academic route. And I don't know how that ended up. I'd like to like take a peek one day and see how it turned out. But for the most part, I'm happy with the decisions I made. Yeah, there were a few times I could have been more focused on a few things. Because the problem would have been an interested child is that you do try to do lots of things at the same time. So I actually used to drum. I used to play chess, and all this other stuff on top of the other stuff that I was doing, right. So because now you're bringing back memories, and it's like, yeah, I play chess for a bit. Oh, and he used to drum in a steel band group. Yeah, didn't I? Oh, and I used to play the trumpet. Yeah, did do that stuff that you blocked out? Because it's like 40 years ago. I'll probably start dreaming about that stuff again. Oh, my God. But yeah, I mean, what would I say to me just be more focused on time? I guess. That's it. It's a completely different interview, which is good because I hate answering the same questions all the time, because it's very boring. Yeah, we want to get to know you. And and to get to know you, we need to know about your younger self, what kind of music was played in your home when you were a child? A mixture, because I was born in the UK, but my family's actually from the West Indies, South America, right country called Guyana. It's just above Brazil. And I spent the first eight years there. So the environment I grew up in was like Soca and reggae, and funk and soul, and jazz and that kind of music that was from probably more from my mom's side. And then my dad's side, because I'm also a mixed heritage. So I'm half Indian and half black. So from my dad's side, I've got Indian music. And he was really into musicals as well, for some strange reason. Right? So I grew up on like Howard keel, and Rodgers and Hammerstein and rice and Weber and this kind of stuff. So musical theater, stroke, classical music, stroke, whatever that musical stuff is right. So I had like a nice mixture of music growing up. That was quite rich. And you got into dance through your system. Yeah. When we were living in Guyana. She was into ballet. I think I'm just the right age underneath her to be interested in what your sister's interested in, do you not I mean, like we weren't close enough in age to be argumentative, or rivals or anything like that. So I was just under that age. So just like anything my sister did, I was just like, I want to try. I didn't try ballet. But when we came back to the UK, she kind of immediately got involved in like the jazz funk scene, the boogie scene, and this kind of like, underground dance scene that was happening in the UK. So anytime she brought someone round, I would see that so have friends or dance their boyfriend's danced. So I was around that kind of environment really, really early before I was even that good at dancing myself, I guess. So I saw like stuff like the robot and the dances from songs like mashed potato and all this very, very early. Because again, as her younger brother, any possible suitors would try to impress me, right, so they could get closer to her. So if they had like a dance that they could show me and just say, go and practice that in the corner while I check your sister. I mean, it was that kind of thing. So yeah, she's the reason I got into dance. I reckon, apart from my own interest, or the reason I had a connection to what was happening in the dance world. Did she continue dancing? Nah, she, I mean, we're talking about the times when I was between eight and 13. So she would have been 13 to 17. So just as I was becoming good, and the scene was growing, she was becoming a young adult. And dance was like behind ginetta mean, she had to find a job and become a grown up, there was definitely stop going to clubs, and all that kind of stuff. Whereas I was starting to go to clubs more and more and more. So yeah, she she dropped out a bit long time ago. But you stuck with it for the next 40 years, I guess. It was my decision. And it wasn't my decision. At the same time. I think I stayed around more because I was valued. As opposed to anything else. My value here is worth more than my value somewhere else. And more useful in the dance scene than I am in the tech scene, for example. I do see a lot of especially you know, our students from our dance school, once they get into that age between like 18 and 22, he kind of weeds out to folks that did it as a hobby or for fun during you know, their childhood or growing up. And those that really want to turn it into something more. You've found it so Mavericks crew, and you've brought multiple generations through this crew, what do you think the key to success is to meet the demands of different generations within a crew? I think just to stay up to date, man, like to keep an eye on what's happening and make sure that you're at the forefront of what's happening. It doesn't happen by itself, it takes real effort to stay connected to the scene that's constantly growing and changing and moving around, you know, I mean, so I'm very lucky, because of my DJ side of what I do. I'm constantly at events, and part of the discussions, you know the mean, so I have a lot of access to a lot of information. And a lot of people a lot of times in a lot of places, it's always exciting to bring back new information or new ideas to my own crew, you know, whether it's so Mavericks or monsters or I teach house and now to people in my kitchen, it's fun to help people go through that stage that you're talking about genetic mean, because as a kid, I always wanted someone to like take me under their wing and train me, but it just never happened. You know what I mean? So if I can give that to someone, even until they're just bored of the new hobby that they found, it's still fun, you know, like, they're still gonna remember these days when they're old or whatever. And they'll probably turn up at my funeral. Like you said, You're, you're constantly learning. So your students are constantly learning, whatever your constant learning, because you're open to sharing that in real time. I think that's what's great about this ability to have, you know, mentor, the thing about that is that I actually started to screw with that idea. So it's not like it formed organically, like flow was formed organically at a time in the 80s. And then it's grown through the generations, I formed this group with that idea in mind, you know, like to teach. I'd never knew there'd be another generation after, but I was prepared for one. So that transition was very easy to know, because it wasn't organic. It was like, Okay, this kids interested in joining the crew. Let's see what you got. All right, you're on probation for a year. If you make it then you can join the crew. So in that year, they've proven themselves to myself to the rest of the crew, and to themselves as well. The non organic side of things actually has a function, they get to make that leap. instead of always feeling like an outsider. I think that's deteriorated over the years, maybe because I'm not as involved as I was at the very beginning. Because I've also got other projects going on, but there was definitely that feeling as new people came in, they were welcomed into a family. I think that was definitely a big part of it. One of the things I really appreciate you is the way that you support the females within the culture. Can you talk a little bit more about I've been doing that since I was young. Obviously, it was my sister that got me into this. Right. So where I'm from Guyana, right? There were a lot of intellectuals from that country, right in the 70s. And 80s. And my family are quite integrated into that culture. in Guyana itself. Education was always a big deal in my family. And we understood that you have to educate the women, for the nation to grow kind of thing, right? So from very early, I understood the importance of women in culture, I give them a hard time, because that's just how I am. But I understand that their importance and their role in a culture, right. So when I came back to the UK again, growing up, and my sister introduces me to dance, I understand her position for integrating me into a new culture gently, without the roughness of maybe an older brother would have done it, you know, to me, it would have been a completely different experience. I've been teaching women since I was 14 years old. So one of the first groups I was in, it was myself, a guy named Lonestar, who you might know the photographer guy. And the rest were women. It was for women, right? And we used to like, mentor and coach them, even though they were older than me, I was already doing that. I think it's an integral part of what we do. So yeah, teach the young boys in a certain way, which is the rough way. And then to teach the young girls in a different way, which is more, a little bit rough, of course, because they have to prove themselves, but more nurturing? Yeah, naturally, yes, this is it, get them involved straight away with the rough side. But from a more nurturing point of view, what is one of the key things that it's important for your students to know, to be authentic, I think, to understand the culture, and to be authentic to yourself inside the culture, you know, there's loads of different aspects of what we do. And you have to choose your character. Because it's a wide spectrum of characters. Don't try to be someone else, be yourself through the lens of the culture. I think that's super important for any dancer, be yourself. If you're not a battle adult, don't battle, right. Maybe you want to do theater, maybe you want to do art, or whatever, like do that. I think I came to that realization for myself. You know, I grew up in Switzerland, in a very privileged place. For me, it was like I always admired that will be boy essence, the aggressiveness, the battle mentality. But it wasn't necessarily what I could relate to when I was dancing. So that's why I never really got into the competitive battling side and found my role more in the DJing aspect of it. I have a kind of similar thing, because I was never a big battler even when I was growing up, right? For two reasons. One, I was too young. What does that mean when you're 13, 14 years old? And secondly, my ego is not attached to this stance or this art form. It doesn't interest me. If I battle, and I win, I don't care. And if I lose, I don't care. I think it can only really affect you, if you actually care. For me. It's just like, okay, you won. I don't care. My egos more attached to other things than dancing. Like, it doesn't make sense to me. It really doesn't make sense to me, because there's no real gain in the real world from winning a battle, especially as a kid, I did do it because you end up doing it. You could be at an event, and someone wants to give you a couple of rounds. And you have to do it. But I wasn't there for that. And I actually like to call people out for a couple of rounds and go a couple of rounds. I've done it to a few people. But it's just because I'm just like, yeah, going in just like having a debate with somebody, or a discussion about something that you you want to find out what they think or whatever, but it's not what drives me in the culture at all. What drove you to become a DJ? Breaking died, as simple as that. around 1986 and going into 87 it was dead. It was finished man. globally. The last big event in the UK at that time was in 1986. I didn't even go to that because braking was dying. I started to go to college. So of course you're the people that you hang out with changes. And you have different interests. You know, I was studying maths, physics, statistics and computing. Like that's the kind of last thing on my mind. But I was still dancing because I probably kept breaking through Ada properly. But I was in two different worlds. I started DJing when I was in college, so I was still connected to the scene, but in a slightly different way. And then I was still breaking with some guys. We just wouldn't give up the ghost yet because the scene was dead. But you know, there's always a few weirdos that try and stay around a bit longer. The party's over Guys, can you go home now and miss a few of us left. There was maybe five or six of us in this group and no one To people we're still carrying on but it was there. So yeah, I started DJing. And then I started traveling with the DJ. And then the story unfolds in a interesting ways. You're probably best known as you know, a break-DJ, you spin all the major competitions. But a lot of people don't really understand the depth to which you have actually mastered turntablism, that you were part of like the legendary scratch perverts. I don't think many people pay attention to stuff. I got my name, mainly because I was inspired by Prime cut. Can you tell us a bit about how you got to know Tony and prime and how you started that collective? Well, let's go back to the early 90s, or the late 80s. So I was in a rap group with this guy named Blade, he was my rapper. And we were touring in the early 90s. Right, we went to Switzerland a couple of times, la Coupole. And that's where I met like Crazy. And all these guys Spartanic and all those guys. So I already had a celebrity status in that world a little bit, you know, we were bringing out records, we were kind of like famous on the underground circuit or whatever. So prime cuts, and all those guys, they knew of me before I knew of them. So they already knew who I was because of the scratching on records or whatever. So in 96, Tony was thinking of starting a crew of DJs. And these were the guys milling around at the time, like prime cuts and first rate, and Harry was building a name for himself at the time. And Mr. thing had a little bit of a name at the time. So he wanted to put together collective. So he asked me if I was down, you know, so I was just like, Yeah, why not? He was drunk when he did it. And I was just like, Yeah, why not? You're not gonna do anything. And then we built the crew, basically. So I already knew those guys, they already kind of looked up to me a little bit. So it was easy to get them on board with the project. And I like to call these things projects, because they're not organic. And it's like, you have an idea of a thing that you want to do. And that's how projects work. janetta mean, and then they, they turn into an organic thing later. But initially, it's like, I want to do this. Who's down? And that's the project. Tony was like, do you want to form a group? Yeah, cool. Let's go. Who can we get these guys? They're down. Okay.And then we became scratch perverts. Have you became super successful with that, but I do need to nerd out a little more on that topic. Yeah. When I started breaking my mentor at the time introduced me to what here was called brit-core. I was, you know, put on to hijack and silver bullet and gunshot and Killa Instinct, and you name it. Yeah, I feel like Germany, and Switzerland was very into that, especially if you were part of the breaking scene, like we admired the hell out of it. Actually Storm said to me once that one of the reasons they kept breaking was the music that we did, because obviously New York hip hop went really slow. So it wasn't breaking music anymore. And us in the brick core scene, we kept the music at 120 beats per minute, you know, the mean, right? We break beats underneath. So that still encourages people to break. Without the music, you've got nothing. And nobody was playing breaks. At that time. That music kind of influenced the scene again, this happens, you don't even know why you're out. But yeah, I was part of that brit-core explosion in the late 80s, early 90s. And that is probably why you heard of us. I believe I saw recent posts of yours that you're going to put out some new music with signs of noise. Is that right? Yeah, we've been doing stuff for a bit, the rapper wanted to do some more stuff. So we've been doing stuff. We've been releasing stuff for the last three, four years or something. And I'm still involved. I still do cuts in that. But I'm in a slightly different world as well, you know, and this world is more my focus than that world. I'm not interested in being like a in a rap group like that anymore. Oh, assist. That's not where my focus is right now. At the time, were you able to connect with a lot of the other DJs of that scene? Like, Dj Geta, Dj Undercover? Yeah, yeah, we came up the same time with these guys, you know, which we do jams and we'd all be there together. You know, wherever it was grass up from Belgium or the guys from Two Tone committee in, in Scotland, or def Tex. Like we always met up with people. Star era, Style Wars from Germany. You know, like all of these groups had DJs one or two DJs you know, so we would just meet up and we'd have like cat sessions or whatever and we will be weird. With scratches, you know, to me. Like that was the era man. It was it was good times good times. So I want to switch it up a little bit. You said you were focused on some other things. What do you focus on? The things I'm focused on is bloody getting judging. So it out in a stupid scene. This is super important for me, you know, I've been dragging on about it for years now. And that's really where my focus is. It's somehow tied into the whole Olympic thing that's going on right now. But really, for me, it's about fair judging. You know, I've been judging competitions for 20 years now over 20 years. And it's been a terrible journey, watching the corruption, whether it's intentional or not, yeah, just has to change. We need to change. We need to mature I've seen it needs to grow up. And I think that that's part of the process. I read the rules of regulations for the Youth Olympics that we used. And it was very impressive, and very mindful for the amount of time that you had to get that together. I mean, I gave you a bunch of props. Yeah, it was it was hard work, man. I mean, to be fair, we had a head start. Because as you know, we've been working together for a long time, we started this undisputed group in 2007, which was like the big events getting together and working together. And around 2012, I think we started to talk about a unified judging system across our events. And then it was just like, you talk on the phone, or a flight to Germany or stonewood flight to mine, and we talk about it, bla bla, bla, bla bla, so we're already building something. When the Olympics Games think comes around, it's just like, okay, we have to move from small scale testing to this is going to be looked at with proper scrutiny now. janetta mean, like writing a rule book, and all this kind of stuff. It's different from posting Facebook statuses, there's so many things involves when there's a sport added to the Olympics, can you give us just a little bit of what you've learned, and being a part of the process of preparing, breaking to be on this platform? It's long, man, it's not easy. No judging system, no Olympics. Again, it's that important, it's that much of a serious part of what you're doing. Because the IOC, the International Olympic Committee, they have to make sure that they're covered from any types of litigation, or claims of cheating, or non transparency or anything, right. So they have to make sure that the system that they use, has no housing, so they're going to really look at it, because they're for the chopping board, not us. I mean, we provide the system. And then if it's wrong, they're the ones that are going to get attacked by whoever, like watching that unfold, and meetings and back and forwards and discussions. And it's long, man, it's long, people don't really understand which bits are important. People are interested in who's judging, it's got to be this person that but this is not important, man. Really, no one cares about that stuff in the real world. Does the system work is what they care about. You can worry about who's judging some of time and this system work in these conditions? does it provide this information? We have these requirements? Does the system fulfill those requirements? Done, everything else, the music and all this stuff? It's not important, these considerations will be taken care of the judging system is like probably the most important part of getting into something like the Olympics. Really? What was your initial reaction, when you heard the news that breaking was going to be added to the 2024 Paris Olympics. I know, I knew already. I knew in 2018, I was there in Argentina. And I looked around and I was just like, this is done. This is done do the amount of people that were there. The amount of excitement on site, the amount of media, we got all of this stuff. I was just like, if they don't do this is stupid. It was that simple to me. In fact, I was a little bit disappointed, because anybody with a brain would have seen it's going to happen and would have spent the last two years preparing for that eventuality like the producers and all this, their music should be ready now to be tested for the next two years. So we have something to work with, you know, instead of people sitting on their hands, this is like that two years is the last time you're gonna get a break. And what about the individual countries? Is there anything you can share about helping, uniting breaking within your country? How can people do that form Federation, membership has to be open to everybody. There needs to be regulations and terms and conditions. All the stuff that's serious grownup stuff, we have to start learning because there are people in our scene that have these skills that are not being used. So we do have even in my crew, we have a physiotherapist and you know, like there's lawyers out there. There's people that know about producing music. There's people that know about fitness. Nutrition, all of this stuff, your skills, and now they now need it we're forming, I'll use the analogy of a nation, right? We're forming it now, it wasn't there before. Before, it was just a bunch of tribes in the wilderness, right. And now we're forming a nation. And these are the requirements of a nation, we need soldiers, we need warriors, we need philosophers, we need poets, we need artisans, we need this stuff. Now, musicians, all of this stuff is the forming of the nation, right. And that's when things get serious with this move from a pre culture to a real culture, when the tribes form into a nation. And that's kind of the analogy we have to look at. And these skills need to start being implemented, and used and advised on people brought through to do these jobs that they're good for. And in the forming of a nation, there's no pay at the beginning, when we were doing the judge's system, pretty undisputed, we weren't getting paid, there's no pay. Obviously, when we started working with the WDSF, you start getting paid. But we'd already done six years of work or something like you're, you're doing this stuff, because you, you know, it needs to be done. And eventually, maybe you'll get something for it. So if you produce music, for example, don't produce music with the intention of making money from it, we're not there yet. build your reputation and your name as a producer. So that when it comes time, those people will contact you, and then they'll have to pay. But you can't go in there thinking, I'm gonna do this. For the money of this, this doesn't work like this. You know, I made a joke the other day, like I was judging, before judging was paid. Now, people want to have a go, but it's just like, yo, where were you when I was judging for 20 pounds, he wasn't interested. I paid for myself to go to an event. And the organizer asked me if I can judge because he knows who I am or whatever. And I'm sorry, yeah, whatever. You don't go there to get paid at the in the first five years or something like that. It's just doesn't work like that. You go there, just because it needs to be done. You need to judge Okay, I'm down, whatever. Yeah, of course, I get the best seat in the house, which is great, right? But you don't go there for that reason. And then you start off, and it's just like, oh, I'll give you 50 pounds or 50 euros to judge and get some food with that, whatever. And then people will start offering to fly you into jet. And then people start offering to fly you in, pay us some money, etc, etc, to judge and then it becomes a job. And then other people profit off of that infrastructure that you've been part of making. It doesn't start off with money. It never does. I totally agree with that. I think most don't understand the complexity that goes into actually establishing a structure, building something, as you say, that is soundproof thinking of all the complexities that come along with it, the Paralympics, or the gender categorization. The thing is that those things are gonna break before they get fixed. ginetta mean, so the gender thing, the Paralympics thing, they're always going to go wrong? Because there's no simple answer to these questions, right? Even without breaking thing, we get into 2024. And people think, Oh, we've made it. No, no, that's step one. If it works, then we can talk about 2028, then you can say you made 2024 is just the touch. Are you ready for this? Are you ready for the big time? If we turn up and we look like idiots? It's a wrap. People are already planning their future careers. It's just like, stop. Stop it. That the judging thing again, with the bloody judge, if you want to be known as a judge in the Olympics, nobody cares. These people think they're going to be famous. Nobody cares. You can't name me one judge from the Olympics, man. No one in any sport. I hope they do that with us, I hope that judging becomes an anonymous job. because too many people that want it for the celebrity status, instead of for doing the actual job properly. And this is holding us back. We want people who want to engage their intellect to do the job properly. Not to do adult judges Solo is irrelevant, man, it's completely irrelevant. How many airplanes you can do in your judges solo? What are you talking about man? Like, we need to change that whole concept. The other way around. We want competent people to sit in those seats, not people that you think are dope, not people who are famous when I don't care about this stuff, you know, so hopefully, the Olympics will wake people up. And you'll only get people who really want to judge judging, not people who think, Oh, I want to be there because I'm gonna be sitting in the seat and the media's gonna come and see me. No, get out of here. We need to get rid of this straight. All those things come with a fee. There's regulations and rules and exams and protocols. And most of those include fees that if you want to be given this job, you actually have to pay for the training for it. You have to pay to play anything but if you break the rules, you'll be fined I hope you're ready. I started judging, you know, I judged the very first outbreak. And it was for free. And I was the only female and it was crazy event. And it was his first event. And suddenly I found myself, you know, adding judge to list of things that I can do to help the community. But I do feel it is important to have some kind of standard, because what happens is that, then there becomes more standards within the actual because now you've taken a competition, and now it's an organized competition. So there's all these things for it to grow and to have more opportunities. Absolutely. And you said something super important. They're like another thing that you did to help the community, nobody starts judging for these other reasons that people try to imply the job needs to be done. And the person that asks you usually the organizer, they believe that you're capable, the dancers believe you're capable. It's only the later generations that make a noise, because they don't know how we even got where we are right? And you believe you're capable. So then you do the job. And if you suck, no one's gonna bring you back ever. You're gonna get a bad reputation, you'll never work again. Right? A lot of people that don't get judged in jobs, they think that is a conspiracy. There's no conspiracy, you probably suck at judging. I'm being serious, man. Like, it's true. I know, a lot of people don't know the discussions that the dancers have. The only criticism I ever get is that I wasn't a high level B boy, I can live with that. No one's ever said I suck at judging. When they say that, then I'll step off. Yeah, okay, I'm good. It's because I wasn't a high level B boy, you've never said I suck at judging. Like, really think about that. And if you're not being cold, it's not because people don't like you. Nobody cares. And that kind of level. It's either you misbehaved or you suck at judging, have a word with yourself, as we say, in English, like, sit down and be like, Okay, what is it? In fact, call somebody and say, Okay, what is it, stop trying to blame them for not getting you when really the problem is closer to home than you think. And that's just from speaking to organizers, and dances and knowing the scene. I know why some of these things happen, that people think are conspiracies, and they're not. What do you think are the some top criteria for someone that's saying I want to judge this is what they should be looking for. Because a lot of times, it's very subjective. I think for the grown ups in the scene, we've gone past that stage now. Because as you grow up, and you have more discussions with people, you realize it's not subjective, in that way, is subjective in that you're making an interpretation of what you're seeing. But you still have objective criteria. So it's not just like, Oh, I like this guy, or I know this guy or whatever. It's not this anymore. We have we've moved way beyond that way, way, way beyond that. Right, of course, when you first see something you're processing of it is at one bit, like, Oh, this guy is incredible thing, I'm gonna vote for him. And then as you grow, then it becomes too bit, then four bit and eight bit and 16 bit 64 bit, and eventually, you can see all the colors, you know, this is how it is. And if you haven't grown with that process, you shouldn't be judging. Everyone needs to be taught how to judge. I know it sounds very strange, but the act and art of judging is not just your opinion, we're way past that. Now. There's so many things going on. There's so many different elements to throw down now. And if you can't process most of those elements, you never gonna get old, then you can't do the job. Sorry, not at the level we're talking about, of course, in some local German church, who cares, right? But when I'm talking about elite class events, and above, we have to be completely different. Yeah, that's a whole other level of sophistication. What I got out of consistently judging different events was the aspect of when I was put in a position to commentate breaking events, I felt a little more prepared to to educate. You've been also commenting breaking events. time, I was the first exactly what was the first event? The first commentary I did was 2003, I think. And it was it was actually for a DVD for an event that I was a judge. The DVD guy, Producer Director, I don't know, he wanted me to do a commentary and explain to people who didn't know what braking was, what they were watching. So from that first experience, because he gave me a brief, I understood how commentary should be. It's not just going, whoa, Wow, look at that. It's beyond that. Right? You have to explain who people are. Maybe what they brought to the table. Why they break in a certain way. Right. If you look at that DVD, I put a lot of information out like I mentioned that run Those guys are from Las Vegas. And they have a different style. These guys come from this country, because you need to know this stuff. It can't just be Oh, there's a B boy breaking. Whoa, great move. No, you need to be able to break it down. Oh, he's from Switzerland, you know, scrambling feet, we're in this competition. Yu-Seng was a baby, He was like maybe 13 or 14 years old when he was in this competition. You need to approach you don't need to. That's just my opinion, right? But you need to approach it from a zoomed out position. Who are these people? What exactly are they doing? What is that move, but don't go to detail. Oh, he's done a baby mil into a flare into like, this is meaningless to my to my mom or my grandma. But you know, like, What is this, but you may comment on the exceptional ideas behind the transition, or the combination or whatever. Like, don't just call out names, because your call, you know, I got into that when I started doing the Red Bull commentary. I lost my way a little bit. Because what happens is you start commentating, and then people start giving you advice. And sometimes you have to block the noise out. So they'll give you advice on how you should do it. When really you should just follow what you think is the right thing. Because you'll mess up doing what they think you should do. You know, like naming names and stuff like this naming moves. It's not useful, I mean, you have to zoom out and think, okay, my mom is watching this, what does she need to know about what she's watching? You know, what's so good about that move? And why does the move that she think is good, not valued as much? And the thing that we think is good? she did, she didn't even see. So you want to comment on like our comment on Uzi rock or something and talk about his storytelling ability. And then I could link in other people with good storytelling ability, like stump maps, if you were interested in breaking, you might go and find out who he is. You tried to link it to other things that people can, if they're interested, they can look at and if they're not interested, they can just appreciate what they're looking at. You're trying to operate at multiple levels at the same time, and not just go Whoa, amazing. I'm not the host, the host does that joke. He gives the oohs and ahhs and women to give the information to viewers. That's not joke, you know. I mean, it takes a lot of preparation. If you know that that's what you're supposed to do. I mean, when I got honored to do the commentating for the silverback open. Yeah, Susie and I were super excited. And we spent days to research, this a lot of work. It's a lot of work. And make sure that we knew everyone knows where they're from, you know, yeah, it's real jump, man. People don't appreciate they think you're just sitting in the room and just waffling. It's not that man, you have to know the people. I actually had a Redbull paid for me to have a course with a professional commentator. And I met this guy two times, I think for like two hours or some shit, right? This was like when I was willing to commentate. And so I was building my style, right? And the first thing he said to me is, are you a fan? Or are you a commentator? decide which one you're going to be? Because they're two completely different jobs. As a commentator, you need to provide one thing. And if you're a fan, well, what are you even doing here? Your job as a commentator needs to be that you bring value to the job of commentating not that you're a fan of some breakers or whatever, or some footballers or some hockey players or whatever, right? You have to provide value that nobody else can provide. What is it that you know about these people that nobody else knows, you know, these dancers personally, we know them personally, right? We can hit them up, we can talk to them. We see him at events all the time. We know if they've developed so we're not just giving information. In that moment. We're also giving information of how they got there. It's very important, this commentary job, it's work, man, it's really work. It's a lot of work, a lot of preparation, but it also it's helpful, because these are the connection between someone that may not just be browsing through and jumping on, it gives that opportunity to educate. And I think that's the one of the biggest things about keeping it close to what hip hop is. And what we do is like making sure that knowledge is always dropped at any time. Oh boy, always I used to call it edutainment because KRS did that album whenever it was right. For me. It is edutainment, you're trying to educate them, and drop a few jokes and a few in jokes, right. So that the people that are into breaking, they get you and the people who are not into breaking, they understand what they're watching. Right. And this is a super hard balance to keep. Right before we leave the Olympic topic. I just want to know Are there any dancers that people should be looking out for? There's so many men like the scene is so healthy right now. I think this break has done a good thing. But some of the people I've seen that I'm really impressed with of course like this Zeku from the States, they're on their shit, for wizards is on his shit, Sunny Tao feek lilu from the rockets, who's now called himself Lee, Lorenzo. So that's Holland. Insane. Of course, men. Now, when you go to Eastern Europe, any of the Russian is any of this, whatever any of them is gonna be credible. The levels it's just too many like zip rock and Robin and Alcolil and of course, Bumblebee, and Grom. And I could keep going forever, right. In Asia, of course, we've got Japan we have Shigekix, we've got shell say we got Horry, these kids are going to be insane Suki, China is going to be a Dark Horse Show. Because if you know China, you know that they're going to start flying in people to train their athletes. And they're going to go home with some goals, right? That's just China, just be prepared. And then of course, the other countries around Europe, the young kids are insane. Belgium's got some insane kids. And I think the future is bright, if we can get the infrastructure, right, the Olympics are going to love us, because we've definitely got the most exciting thing that's going to be at the Olympics, that's the fact we're going to get the best optics, the media are going to be all over us, we just have to make sure that it's done right. So infrastructure needs to be right. We don't need to worry about that athletes, they're going to be insane, they're gonna be incredible. There are going to be a lot of different types of jobs, you know, that are going to be necessary hundreds to get the infrastructure in place. And one thing is coding. And recently, you've been offering to teach coding, can you tell us a bit more about that? I've been teaching it now for three months. So this is my situation, right? I take some responsibility for the pandemic. I've needed a year off for like 20 years. You know, we live in a simulation, right? This universe is a simulation. I'll give you some evidence if you ever want it, right. So I prayed to the simulation gods to give me a year off. Because you can't take a year off or you're done in this world, right? You take a year off, people forget you in a second, people probably even forget idj. They think I'm just the judge guy. But I needed a year off. So the simulation Gods programmed a pandemic so we can have some time off? Well, I can have some time off. And the rest of you had to have time off as well. Right. Okay. So getting back to your question, this pandemic has been zero problem for me. I've loved every moment of it. And maybe one of the only people on the planet that has really appreciated this time off, just to get myself back. Because you know, when you're traveling all the time, and all this stuff, I was more stressed with that lifestyle than with this break. Not everybody's handling it, and I sympathize with them, right. But most of the problem is that they are distracted by the noise of social media, of the media, and all of this stuff, right? So I'm seeing people just going deeper and deeper into holes that they're creating for themselves. One of the things that can get you or keep you out of the hole is to be distracted. There's no events, and there's no distraction. The only thing that's distracting right now is the amount of noise. So you're attracted to the noise. So I figured that if I started a course of coding, people want to know about computers and all this sort of stuff, then maybe I can distract a few people from the noise and all the nonsense posts that they put up. That was the intention. I had to make sure it was free. Because people are feeling the pain right now. They can't afford to pay for jack shit. Right? And, and I don't need the money. So I'll do it for free. Yeah, it costs me time. But sometimes you have to take it on the chin so that other people can prosper, Jeanette, I mean, that's just how life is. I started the course 100 people were interested, I was very surprised at that. I thought it'd be like 20 people, I started coding, some people dropped off because it's very, very hard. Even at a low level, it's very hard. But some people dropped off because life takes over. I think I'm left with 20 people that turn up and maybe 10 that watched it don't come because it doesn't fit with a one everyone's lifestyle. So they watch the video. So I upload the videos. And then you can ask questions or whatever. So I reckon is still 30 people on the course. And I'll just keep going until they burn out or I burn out. That was why I did it to stop the noise for people because they're suffering. And I'm not suffering so I can if I can carry people, then I'll carry them genetic saying, like, if it's no stretch for me to carry someone, I'll carry you. But if you're trying to reach for the stars, I will bust my ass to help you. For sure. How do you sustain your health both physically and mentally? Physically, I did martial arts for 40 years. So I understand how the body works. I understand a little bit about that kind of stuff. I guess about four years ago I really started getting into the nutrition stuff, understanding nutrition, following the different paper trails that make you end up in completely strange places. I've tried a bunch of stuff. And what works for me is steak and eggs. No veggies. As long as you manage it. Everything's cool. As long as you understand what you're doing, everything's fine. So that's the physical side of me. I wrote about discovery about knees over toes, guys. I don't know if you've seen that. Yeah, I follow him. Yeah, so my knees were giving me trouble. And then I signed up to his course. And my knees are perfect now and I can jump and I can dunk again. Right? It's just like, I don't know what he's found. But it works. On the mental side. no issues whatsoever. How do I stay inspired, I'm doing a million things at once, really. So with the coding, I've never taught coding before. I've actually never programmed in Python before. So I spent a week learning Python. And then I started teaching it, I got a brain that works like this. I can forget anything, this Leave me alone. And I can figure it out. It's just one of those things. Again, don't thank me, or blame me just understand that certain things work in a certain way. And that's just how it is. I'm not a genius by any means. But I can figure it out. I can take things apart, I can put them back together, put me on a desert island. And I'll make it put me in a in NASA and I could make it genetic mean, like I've got a good range of skills that I spent my lifetime building, while other people were partying, getting drunk taking drugs and all this stuff. I never did any of this stuff. So I have a lot of spare time that I used to make me into me. I think one of the things I really admire about you, Kev, is that public leaders always have a nice I noticed within our community community that you're always sort of getting attacked in some way. And you handle it really well. No, it's nice, man. The thing is candy, right? I don't rate these people. Nothing I said bothers me. Like, if it affects me, because I'll be honest, I have lost some work because of the noise. Because immature organizers or whatever they don't want nice to know there was a time when a flyer would go up with my name on and people would be in the comments just gunning it. So I can imagine if you're an organizer, that's a lot of stress for you. You know, like, Yeah, I don't really need that heat. You know, I'm saying and I get that. But apart from that, I don't think these people, and often they're smart. I don't think they're useful. I don't think they're useful humans. Anyone that's concentrated on bringing someone else down? I don't think they're useful. So it doesn't bother me. What are you doing? That's all I care about? What do you do it to bring it full circle. Kev is also a son of noise. Hey, I have nice dad jokes. I love that. That was a real bad joke right there. But I think the things that are you bringing up are a lot of things that need to be changed on a fundamental level, the social change aspect, it's not just you're gunning for this person personally, now, it's like, these are continuous issues that have been going on in it for years. And now it's that's got to stop. And people are being you know, held accountable. It has to if we were to move forward as a community medical, then it has to stop the cyber bullying has to stop the whole kind of like feeding into the negativity, all of these things have to stop. None of us are perfect. We're gonna slip sometimes, but the continuous nature of it all this has to stop. And people in the culture so called culture, they have to start calling it out, they have to say this is not acceptable. Gentlemen, I've been very disappointed with some of our so called Oh, geez, that have nothing to say useful about real issues. If you call it a move by the wrong name, they're quick in the comments. But when there's real issues that are nowhere to be seen, I don't write this. I don't read this at all. And I will speak on it and it's gonna get me more, more noise and more hate. But so be it. Right? These things have to change. If you're an elder in a community where I'm from them when shit happens, you speak up. That's where I'm from. That's the community that I grew up in, in South America. And when we came back to the UK, if there's any violations, the eldest speak first, you don't even have to speak. The elders speak and say that is not right. And our elders are useless. There's been a big movement in the US with the female elders, they've created groups they've created Women Against nations that support groups PSA. So coming out, one of the guys gonna do this shit like never. This is unacceptable as a community. Places need to be safe for everyone inclusive. United, yeah, we're not in we're not in the hood anymore. We're not in that environment, if you want that environment and have that environment, but the rest of us are moving women forward. You know The way across the Bering Strait, some people stopped off along the way. And their bones are in the ground, right? They built nothing. And that is exactly what's gonna happen. I, I give a warning to all of the old schoolers and elders like be useful. Because the next generation have no place for you. If you're not useful, really, you'll be forgotten real quick, man really, really quick, what excites you to keep going my usefulness if I'm useful, right? If I have no function, I can't operate, then I'm not interested. You know, I mean, even when it was scratched, perverts time, like, my function was being an integral part of a group that was changing the world. And we knew it the same before that would son of nice, like, the brick core movement, we were preserving a style of rap that was dead, for the most part, right? So we had a function, we were providing something that was dead or dying. When I started so Mavericks, it's like the UK scene was trashed To me, that's just my opinion. How are we going to change this? Nobody else looks like they want to change it, okay, then I guess it's gonna have to be me. You take on that responsibility, and you have a function. Let's say I was completely wrong, and the scene was healthy. But my reason for doing it is still valid. I want to put UK back on the global map. Nobody else is doing that. You can't name any groups from that time from the UK. I dare you. The last people you could name is probably second to none. And then there's like a 20 year gap. And then the soul Mavericks, let's be fucking honest right now, right. So my function, whether it was self created, or made up in my own mind, or whatever, I fulfill that function, which was to put UK back on the international map in the braking scene, I completely did that. I did the same thing with monsters afterwards, the poppin crew. Of course, there were people going out there, but there was no collective doing that. That is my function to try to elevate, firstly, the UK where we're going, but ultimately, the culture is going to benefit from that the culture is going to benefit from going to the Olympics or whatever, right. And I'm going to be part of that process. I have been part of that process. So as long as I have something, as long as you guys have got something for me to do, I'll be here. The second is like, yeah, you know, thanks for your service. Here's the gold watch. I'm done. I'm done. When I have no more use, I'm done. I can't see that happening. We've got so much work to do. Oh, boy, what is your favorite quote or motto? I have like a crew, one, which is a dedication, determination and discipline. And I think that that kind of sums up what I'm really about. It's like the crew motto, but it's really my motto in it. Because I made the crew that was constantly trying to kill you. You know, yeah, really constantly. So you have to be disciplined. You have to keep your eyes on everything. To stay ahead of the game, to listen to the wind and to smell the rain, you have to know you have to know. complacency is murder that now's the time to work. Now's the time to put in extra work. I wrote about it on Facebook, and it's just like the year off, you're never gonna get again in this lifetime. I mean, yeah, it's been extended now might last two years. But that may never happen again, in this in your lifetime, ever. Now's the time to increase some ability to educate yourself to get involved in things that are going to pop off as soon as this is over. So that you're prepared, your leverage is ready. You're ready to strike. You're ready to leap into position. If you just sit there complaining about life is horrible. Yeah. Do you constantly be waiting for someone to help you out? Or to? Can you do this love? No, no, no, no, no. Now's the time. Now's the time to make the network connections. How can we work after this is done? What can we do? After this is done? Don't worry about now the now's gone. Alright. Think about what's coming and how you're prepared, positioned for that, that time. That's it. When you have these maybe unforeseen circumstances or limitations. That's also a main driver for innovation every time every time and you have to make sure that you're one of the ones near the front. Because if you're at the back, you got no chance. Where are you? And how do you increase your visibility and your leverage? survival is war. And you can treat war in two ways. You can be competitive or you can be competitive, and you have to know when to do which bit. I see people making enemies now in the middle of a pandemic. I'm like, Yo, this is not because when this is done, people gonna remember, now's the time to fix damage, not to create damage. It's insane. Some of the things I see online, I'm just like, Who does that? We always like to close out our interviews with the question, what is hip hop to you? Okay, can I say two ways. Hip Hop is potential, the actual sucks, right? The reality of hip hop sucks, as we can see recently from the fall of some of our heroes and stuff like that, but the potential, its potential is unlimited, for sure. And we have to move from the actual to the potential make the potential actual. For me, hip hop is supposed to be not supposed to be because there was no plan. But I think that these things form to assist us, just like cultures form in general, the arts form, the sciences form or whatever, right? hip hop is supposed to uplift. And it's supposed to help you to develop to become a stronger, better, faster, smarter person. That was what I was told that it was knowledge and wisdom, understanding and all of this stuff, and it hasn't turned out to be that so we have to be the driver to make it become what it promised to be. And I think that that's our job as a community right, is to become what it promised is far, far, far from. Thank you so much to our guest, DJ Renegade for taking the time and being so open while sharing your perspective with us. some of the gems we took away from this interview were: Where are you adding the most value? leadership is not about executive position or title. It is about connection and influence. At its highest, leadership is all about adding value to the world and blessing lives through the work you do. Some jobs require you to put in work before you see a return. Your selfless intention to fulfill an unmet need must be the motive for your action. Know that your gift will be returned in some way down the road. We have to be the driver to make hip hop become what it promised to be. That is our job as a community. Our theme music was beatboxed by Denis the Menace and produced by Zede, a big shout out to the brothers from Switzerland. The background music was produced by Taki Brano. And a big thank you to our broski from Providence. Much love to Carla A. Silveira-Hernandez aka C.A.S.H. for including us in your awesome music video "you and me" - cheers to all the amazing hip hop love stories. 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 B boy No Centss, B-Boy Wealthy, B-boy Stuntman, Peter Chang and Brooke Walsh for buying us coffee. 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 or via email email@example.com 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, send a telegram. In our next episode we have Emily Alvarez aka Evar After and Louis Toledo aka b-boy Prevail. Emily is a vocalist, songwriter, dancer and producer from Basalt. Colorado. Prevail is a b-boy, igital marketer and graphic and eb designer from Long Island, ew York. He represents MZK, eady to Rock and Fres descendents Don't forget to subscribe to the show and leave a rating and review. See you on our next episode. Thank you for listening to our podcast. Now Seriously though, thank you. I am Candy. I'm DJ Razor Cut. And this is s uls of hip