Friday Rap-Up: BreakEfx, Nas Book, Young Jeezy, Kanye, Jay-Z
Two years ago, Ray Maestas and Eppie Deleon of the famed b-boy crew GWT came together to form a new crew called BreakEFX. Enlising the kids they taught at Boulder’s Motion Underground Dance Studio, the crew has been on a tear in the local hip-hop scene for the last eight months.
“We’ve been teaching this group of kids since they were really young and now they’re teenagers,” Eppie said. “So we decided to break away and do our own thing with these kids, create our own crew and company and do something outside of the studio, on our own.”
“We wanted to start our own crew because we wanted to take it to a professional level,” Maestas added. “We wanted to show these kids that you can do something positive and make a career out of this.”
In June, BreakEFX won the Colorado’s Best Dance Crew competition, which was held at Stapleton’s Northfield Mall. They battled for four weeks, and went up against other crews like Motion 303 and Streetside Studios before coming out on top. Now the crew is traveling to different cities, like Los Angeles and Chicago, to participate in battles and represent the Colorado hip-hop scene. And just last week, they held auditions for new members of the crew.
“We’re just trying to open up our doors and teach people who want to learn from us, be a part of the group and experience what we’re going through,” Eppie said. “We have a training team that has classes and teaches the kids different skills and we have a performance team that performs at events like Colorado’s Best Dance crew that holds down the reputation of the team.”
While both Eppie and Ray are the masterminds of the crew, they’re not dictators. Unlike a lot of choreographers, Ray and Eppie not only allow input from the crew, but ask for it.
“Everyone has input, that’s what’s dope about us,” Ray said. “If they have better ideas, we’ll try them. We’ve worked with people where they just did their own thing and you couldn’t say anything. You’d have these really dope ideas but they wouldn’t want to do them, so the routine would be kind of wack compared to what it could have been.”
And it looks like it’s working for BreakEFX. Next year, when some of their crew members turn eighteen, they’re going to give MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew a shot. And from the looks of seasons past, they’re bound to make some noise.
“For so many years we’ve been building people up and haven’t got anything from it and now BreakEFX is ours and nobody can take it from us,” Ray said. “I’m all about studying and growing and if you don’t innovate, you’re never going to be the best. We’re trying to bring all of the ideas from around the world back home, you know?”
Check out some of their recent routines:
Book dissects Nas' Illmatic
Author Michael Eric Dyson says he's at work on a book called Illmatic. Often praised as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, Nas’ debut album welcomed a new era of hip-hop, and Dyson plans to dig deep in his book.
"Every song on Illmatic will be analyzed, interpreted and then re-articulated in a kind of intellectual sense from his own base in Hip-Hop and we’re trying to deal with that seriously," Dyson told Allhiphop.com. "This brother is rising up with a rebellion and a kind of serious, serious political power that is necessary.”
There’s no word on when the book will be released.
Young Jeezy registers to vote, encourages others
It's likely a ploy to promote his album (see below), but Young Jeezy held a voter registration event this week in Atlanta, hoping to encourage young people to vote. And in order to encourage people to register, Jeezy, thirty, himself registered to vote for the first time in his life.
In conjunction with the event, Jeezy is also hosting an in-store appearance and a star-studded release party for his album.
Kanye West and Jay-Z plan new albums for December
Looks like two of hip-hop’s top artists will be going head-to-head this winter. Sources have told MTV News that Kanye West and Jay-Z will be releasing new singles this month and new albums in December. Jay will release his new single, “Swagger Like Us,” this weekend for download, and Kanye will release his single, “Love Lockdown,” early next week for download. Last year Kanye defeated 50 Cent in their heavyweight hip-hop bout. Who will win this one?
While the theme of the album is supposed to be on some political awareness tip, most of the awareness is on some of the usual braggadocio rhetoric. While he does have a few joints that are thought-provoking -- “My President,” “The Recession,” and “Hustlaz Ambition,” to name a few -- fans of the previous albums don’t have to worry about Jeezy moving away from his street and hustling tales.
I Am Legend
It’s been a couple of years since Dro’s hit “Shoulder Lean,” so he’s hoping to duplicate that success with I Am Legend, which is really a glorified mixtape; it’s been in the streets for nearly a month. There really aren't any potential hits on the album, which for the most part just seems to be a project remind folks he’s still around.
Slim Thug and the Boss Hogg Outlawz
Back by Blockular Demand
Slim Thug hasn’t released an official follow-up to his debut album, Already Platinum, but he’s been busy working the streets with a slew of mixtapes. The latest comes from Slim and his Boss Hogg Outlawz crew. You shouldn’t expect the excellent Neptunes or Jazze Pha productions from his first album, but if you’re looking for that Texas hood music, this is right up your alley. -- Quibian Salazar-Moreno