LIVE: MANIFESTO Festival: Canada Pro 2010: B-Boy Battle

Written by DJ O.S.U.M (@djosum). Photos by Melissa Moffat (@MelissaMoffat). Please support.

Real heads know you can’t have a hip hop event without breakdancing thrown into the mix. As one of four elements of the culture, b-boys and b-girls will always remain the backbone. Now with the popularity of dance hitting the mainstream through successful TV shows like America’s Best Dance Crew and So You Think You Can Dance, we’re seeing an increased amount of choreographed dancing creeping into the scene as well.

As I walked through the halls of the Manifesto headquarters into an open space where the linoleum floor and turntables were set up, it felt like a scene out of Wild Style or some seedy underground rave you’d be telling your friends about the next day. The projections on either side of the walls in the old brick warehouse, located in the heart of Parkdale, compensated for the fact that the floor wasn’t elevated. Still, everyone clamoured towards the circle to catch a glimpse of the b-boy action. Musical selections for the night were held down by none other than that bredda, Son of S.O.U.L who with good reason is the number one deejay in the city for b-boy jams. Outside the main circle, dancers warmed up and formed their own mini-battles as the cameras rolled.

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The night wasn’t all b-boyism’s though. 2008 Scribble Jam Beatbox Champion Scott Jackson and 2010 Toronto Beatbox Championships Korean FX proved their artform is alive and well when they displayed a range of sounds and music from Michael Jackson to Crystal Waters, and even some Jungle which added to the rave feel I mentioned earlier. Up and coming emcee, Louwop also rocked the crowd with a few songs and stayed true to his Latin roots with a conga player adding some percussion.

As the night progressed I managed to find a spot in the b-boy circle where I caught legends in the game like Buddah from the Canadian Floormasters and Crazy Legs from the Rock Steady Crew catchin’ wreck in the cypher. Both proving you’re never too old or too famous to throw down for the love of breakdance.

By the time 12:30 am rolled around the final battle between Flowetics vs Super Naturalz was set to begin. My guess is both crews were cool with each other because I’ve been to my share of battles before and seen Super Natz get busy many times but I wasn’t feeling the intensity from either side. Towards the end, each team pulled out some moves to get everyone amped but it was Super Naturalz who deservingly won and took home the cheque for $3k and bragging rights, which in the world of b-boys outweighs any amount of money.