Review: UK B-Boy Championships 2017

ukbboy

There’s a buzz that goes through the Lon­don hip hop dance scene when the UK B-BOY CHAM­PI­ON­SHIPS  comes around for its yearly event.  A Hip-Hop dance com­pet­i­tion cre­ated by DJ and Pro­moter, Hooch James, over the course of two days, B-boys, B-girls, Pop­pers, Lock­ers, Free­style Hip Hop and House dan­cers, from all over the UK and aboard, com­pete to see who will be crowned cham­pi­on of their style.

This year Day 1 of Champs star­ted on Sat­urday April 7th in Peck­ham.  Going down in Block A of the Bus­sey Building’s CLF Art Café, Champs took over 3 floors of the ware­house, blast­ing music  that rumbled up and down the stair­case and mark­ing the areas where the battles would take place with the lino of their part­ners, Relent­less Energy Drink.

The Break­ing Solo battle took place on the second floor, with DJ’s Khan Fu and Jam Fu spin­ning the beats, and MC Swifty on the Mic.  On the third floor Dami­en Any­asi was MC and DJ’s D.bo, Mr Blue and Rob Manga played the music for the dan­cers com­pet­ing in the stand up styles of Pop­ping, House, Free­style Hip Hop and Lock­ing.

Image courtesy of Relentless Energy

Image cour­tesy of Relent­less Energy

With some styles hav­ing over 100 com­pet­it­ors signed up to com­pete, judges picked the best 16 Break­ers, Pop­pers, House and Free­style Hip-Hop dan­cers, from show­case battles.  In the 2on2 Lock­ing they picked the top 4 pairs to go imme­di­ately through to Day 2.  The styles with 16 dan­cers then battled down to the top 4, in a knock­out com­pet­i­tion, to see who would also go through to Day 2, and battle on the main stage.

Com­pet­i­tion qual­i­fic­a­tion days are nev­er easy, and Day 1 was no dif­fer­ent.  It was a long, packed, hot affair, with spec­tat­ors stand­ing on speak­ers and chairs, and vying, shoulder to shoulder, for good spots from which to see all the dance action.  It felt like a packed rave at times, with all the body heat caus­ing the tem­per­at­ure to rise in each room.  Competitor’s skills, stam­ina and endur­ance were all put to the test in hav­ing to com­pete in the hot com­pet­i­tion circles formed by the spec­tat­ors.   But if you know the Hip-Hop cul­ture then you know that it was born in packed clubs and under­ground parties, and cyphers (circles) are the tra­di­tion­al place in which the dan­cers have always got­ten down.  An empty room is death to a jam because it’s a sign that no one cares about the com­pet­i­tion that you are put­ting on.  So even with the place being as stuffy as it was, the rooms being packed was a good thing that brought a hype energy.   And when the heat got too much for indi­vidu­als they either chilled and prac­ticed in the stair­case or simply went out­side, refreshed their lungs, and then dived back in to see more dance skills on dis­play.

In the end the dan­cers who qual­i­fied for Day 2 were:

BREAK­ING:

Sun­ni (UK) the 2016 cham­pi­on.

Spin (UK)

Kid Karam (UK)

Fever (France)

POP­PING:

Breakz (UK)

Brooke (UK)

Jut­su (UK)

Sacha (France)

 

HOUSE:

Tamara (Hol­land)

Frankie J (UK)

Troy (UK)

KC (Canada)

FREE­STYLE HIP HOP:

Kofi (UK)

Ded­son (France)

Shari­fa (UK)

Gonzy (France)

LOCK­ING:

Vovan and Funk y J (Rus­sia and France)

Crit­ic­al Mass (Korea)

LMC (Cyprus)

Pan­cake Bros (France)

The Break crews qual­i­fic­a­tion was the last com­pet­i­tion of the day.  Legendary B-boy, Crazy Legs (Rock Steady crew) and  Afrika Islam (Uni­ver­sal Zulu Nation) took up their yearly UK Champs host­ing duties, as crews of up to 10 break­ers went head-to-head in more show­case battles.  The judges picked the best 8 to go through to Day 2 and the main stage:

THE CREWS:

Mon­ster Energy Drink (USA)

Soul Mav­er­icks (UK)

The Itali­ans (Ita­ly)

Ariya (Japan)

Free­style Idi­ota (world­wide)

Every­one Else (world­wide)

Skil­lu­min­ated (Switzer­land)

HFC (Hol­land)

Image courtesy of Relentless Energy

Image cour­tesy of Relent­less Energy

On Day 2 the buzz of Champs took on a dif­fer­ent air.  It took place in north London’s Kentish Town O2 For­um.  In the much big­ger, con­cert ven­ue, no longer was space an issue, with theatre like seat­ing upstairs and a massive open floor for the audi­ence to spread out in.  Com­pet­it­ors also scattered over the whole build­ing, prac­tising and warm­ing up every­where from the private room for com­pet­it­ors only, to the car­peted area in front of the second floor bar, and on an open lino put out on the main floor. No mat­ter where you were, dance was hap­pen­ing!  But the com­pet­i­tion itself went off on the main stage, and every time a dan­cer dis­played a high level of skill and music­al abil­ity a ripple of energy vibrated in cheers and screams through­out the arena.

Tamara won House, beat­ing Frankie J in the finals.

Brooke won the Pop­ping, beat­ing Sacha.

Ded­son won Free­style Hip Hop, beat­ing Kofi.

Vovan and Funky J won the 2on2 Lock­ing, beat­ing Crit­ic­al Point.

And defend­ing cham­pi­on, Sun­ni, won the B-boy solo battle for the second year in a row, beat­ing Kid Karam.

Then, before the crew battles kicked off,  legendary rap­per, Talib Kweli, hit the stage and per­formed a con­cert.  The power of his music reversed the energy for a while, and a crowd whom had come to watch dan­cers, became the dan­cers them­selves.

The finals of the crew battle ended with Mon­sters Energy Drink crew beat­ing Soul Mav­er­icks in the finals, and with that the 2017 UK B-boy Cham­pi­on­ships came to a close.

The event, itself, has changed a lot over the years.  It’s been held in Brix­ton, Isling­ton, Birm­ing­ham and now Kentish Town and Peck­ham.  It went from a two day stage event to mak­ing Day 1 a smal­ler more dan­cer focused, cypher affair, and then mov­ing onto the big­ger, spec­tat­or focused, Day 2. It went from being in part­ner­ship with Sony, to now being in part­ner­ship with Relent­less Energy Drink.  But no mat­ter how much it changes, it still con­tin­ues to bring that buzz to Lon­don every year.

Keep it lock on I Am Hip Hop Magazine for our exclus­ive foot­age and inter­views from the finals com­ing soon with Glob­al­Fac­tion. 

 

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Emanuel Adelekun
Emmanuel Adelekun is a writer, poet, storyteller, mar­tial artist and B-boy (break dan­cer). He lives the hip hop life, trav­el­ing for the inspir­a­tion he finds in adven­ture, explor­a­tion and the dis­cov­er­ing of hip hop, street cul­tures all around the world. Always striv­ing to develop, improve and bet­ter under­stand the fre­quency on which he vibrates, he believes in keep­ing it sim­ple: stay open, live to explore, exper­i­ence, and enjoy the moment. Cher­ish your mis­takes, always be a stu­dent, don’t take shit from any­one, treat oth­ers how you would like them to treat you, and live a life that inspires you. Peace, Hip Hop and Per­spect­ive.
Emanuel Adelekun

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About Emanuel Adelekun

Emanuel Adelekun
Emmanuel Adelekun is a writer, poet, storyteller, martial artist and B-boy (break dancer). He lives the hip hop life, traveling for the inspiration he finds in adventure, exploration and the discovering of hip hop, street cultures all around the world. Always striving to develop, improve and better understand the frequency on which he vibrates, he believes in keeping it simple: stay open, live to explore, experience, and enjoy the moment. Cherish your mistakes, always be a student, don’t take shit from anyone, treat others how you would like them to treat you, and live a life that inspires you. Peace, Hip Hop and Perspective.