Bboy Ynot, Rock Steady Crew - Interview
Wassup bboy Ynot, could you introduce yourself to the readers of Taukojalka.com?
I’m b-boy YNOT. A student of hip-hop. Slave to rhythm. Full time imaginary.
Tell us about your history? Who and what inspired you over the years to become the dancer you’re nowadays?
I guess I can start first with my introduction to music. I started as a jazz artist, and was also into big band. I’ve played the clarinet, the tenor saxophone, and percussion. I then stumbled upon an amazing musical genius named James Brown. Funk and soul music opened me up to new ideas. I discovered hip-hop a bit before then but I never really got into it. Not until I went backward to the original music and then realizing where most hip-hop has sampled from. That is when I began to like it. More hip-hop was around me than anything, and it was through hip-hop that I first saw dance. But it was the funk and soul that gave me a feeling to want to dance.
It has always been the music that inspires me. Other dancers have inspired me in a lot of ways seeing how they interpret their feeling. Some of these dancers are the rock steady crew, elite force/moptops, and the electric boogaloos. I get inspiration from lots of people but those were the main ones in the development of my style. Also, the time I came up in plays a HUGE part in the way I dance. In the late 90’s people danced much differently. I try to maintain that energy that was being given off from the dancers of my generation.
You come from Philadelphia USA, what’s the vibe like out there and how’s the level of the dance?
Philly has a great vibe. The level of dance has grown in the past few years…there was a lot of dancers in Philly when I first moved here that were on a high level but most of them left. So there was a gap there, until now the younger generation is stepping it up. There is a lot of youth in Philly dancing now and if they keep it up Philly will be hotspot for dance.
What’s the meaning of Philadelphia in the history of breaking being so close to New York City? How far does the history of hip hop reach in Philly?
Philadelphia’s breaking history isn’t very significant and is hard to trace back. Philly has contributed to hip-hop more in the music and visual art. A lot of people don’t know but graffiti started here with a man who wrote Cornbread. Also the DJ has always been a big thing in Philly. Philly DJ’s took battling to the next level. DJ Cash Money is the reason why DJ’s turn their turntables sideways in ‘battle position’. Philly has a huge significance in Hip-Hop worldwide and people really need to tell their story out here more.
We’ve been blessed to have you here in Finland already two times, how did you like your stay?
Finland was a different experience and I really enjoyed it. Finland has an interesting scene. My first impression of Finland came from FlowMo. After seeing that crew I was like…’Finland?! I don’t even know where that is, but I gotta go because these guys are ill! After then traveling to Finland I saw that the youth there had a real high level and understanding of the dance and also the scene in general with all dance forms is thriving. I also met DJ Anonymous who I think is dope. I really want to go out there more and see what else I may have missed being out there the few times that I’ve been.
Any advice for the Finnish bboy community that you see might help and make us stronger in the future?
All I can say is travel outside of Finland and see what the world has to offer. Test your abilities outside of your comfort zone. Get out and represent, tell the Finnish story to the world.
You’re known as one of the illest toprockers in the bboy history. What do you think it takes to become a dope bboy and a dope toprocker? Do you think that’s something one is born with or can anybody become one?
Toprock to me is dancing. It is the basics of b-boy. It is the ‘dance’ of what this dance is. Everyone should know it and do it. It takes learning your history, and learning and understanding your music. It also takes time. There are a lot of people with natural ability and catch on to things quickly, me, on the other hand, I learn slow. I like to fully understand and break something down before I move on to the next thing so it takes me longer. Study the culture and you will learn to understand.
If you want to be a dope toprocker and you look to other b-boys for inspiration or ideas, then you are one track minded. If you understand the movement, then you can pull ideas from anything around you. Once you reach that level of thinking then I believe you’re starting to understand breakin’.
The only other thing I can say about toprock and becoming good at it is how you feel about the music you are dancing to. Do you love it? Does it move you? When you get your vocabulary up then you will speak to others through the music and people will feel you.
What does it mean to you to be a member of Rock Steady? What’s the future going to be like for you and the Rock Steady Crew?
Being a member of Rock Steady is an honor. They are the people I’ve looked up to and the people that have taught me the most about this culture. I’m glad I can represent a name such as Rock Steady and hopefully inspire people around me the same way they did for me.
The future for RSC is going to be to keep the Rock, Steady. We still have the same motif from the 70’s. Keep representing this dance and spreading the knowledge of this culture.