Before the Red Bull BC One North American Finals goes live tonight at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas, check out VIBE's exclusive interview with B-Boy legend, Crazy Legs. As a veteran of the culture, Legs serves as an International ambassador for B-Boys all over the world. Read on to hear what he had to say about this year's finals, the pressure B-Boys face before each battle, his early days and more.
VIBE: The last time we saw each other was at the BC One Finale in Seoul last year, and now we're in Vegas. You’re obviously a veteran B-Boy, but what are you looking to see this year? I know everyone asks you but is there anyone or anything you specifically what to see?
Crazy Legs: I have a feeling and it's based on a new clip that I saw. I wanna see if Morris reinvented himself. I have a feeling that he’s going to come in with some new stuff. It might be a gut feeling but I saw a clip real quick, and I’m really curious.
Even more acrobatic maybe?
I think style-wise that he’s already acrobatic so we’ll see how that goes. And, I really don't know what happened to Gravity.
When we were in Seoul, he was the big talk, so did he fall back from it totally?
I don’t know. Honestly, I really don’t know. I don’t have the slightest idea. Of course, I’m always interested in seeing how El Nino does his thing. I had a talk with him a while back. Since he started at such a young age and reached great levels when he was only like 9 -- it really takes a lot for him to stand out even more. He's done a lot, but I know he has a lot more to offer.
You have to reinvent yourself in this culture.
Yeah, you gotta reinvent yourself. You gotta pull a Madonna on them.
Which is not easy in B-Boying I think people don’t realize that.
Well, there are certain safety moves and trademark moves that you do. But then you have to say to yourself, 'Okay I’m gonna go practice but I’m not gonna do anything that I already know how to do.' And you have to force yourself to change how you transition into moves, force yourself to say 'Okay well, when I do these steps normally I would go in that direction' but then you condition yourself to create a new pattern of moves. And that’s really difficult to do.
You’re retraining yourself?
Yeah, but then you combine that with the other stuff.
It’s also really about the doing what the "moment" tells you I hear from a lot of B-Boys.
Yes, it is about the moment because someone on the other side can be doing something new and crashing. The difficulty level may be very high but the battle isn't that time for practice. It’s about executing what you've practiced, what you've prepared. When no one was around, when the lights were off, and you were just by yourself in the studio. Can that come to life? All those hours of training: can that come to life within a three minute battle? Without hesitation and without flaws?
Throughout all your year as a B-Boy, have there been times when you completely prepared to do a routine and just choked?
Okay, when -- it’s funny -- cause the first thing that comes to mind; I was eleven years old, eleven, twelve years old. It was the first crew battle that I was ever in. I was basically the new jack kid and what they considered "bait." Bait in a battle back then was the first couple of dudes you threw out to manipulate the other side to come out and throw certain moves.
To see what they got, right?
Yeah, and I was the whack dude.
You were young, like you said, eleven.
So on the other side you had B-Boy Spy. My superheroes were on the other side, too. I had this set that I was ready to do and right in the middle of it I just did something wrong. It was the first time in my life that things just started moving slow. And it felt like forever. And as a little twelve year old, I was so damn humiliated.
And everyone definitely noticed?
Yeah, I was humiliated, and I was embarrassed. So the battle keeps going on; whatever. They probably didn’t expect much from me anyway. So I tell the guy, 'Yo, can I go out again?' And he was like, 'Nah, nah that’s it.' But you know what I expected that because I knew my position, I knew my role, I accepted my role. And it’s something that I learned from.
Did it motivate you?
I was already motivated. Everyday I was motivated. I didn't need anymore motivation, you know. In order to be a real hip-hopper on any level back then -- in order to protect your reputation you had to put it on the line on an everyday basis. You had to be battling cause that’s all we had. Movies didn't exist, records didn’t exist, galleries didn’t exist, nothing. So, it was really about the next jam. What can I come up with? What can I steal from somebody else, recreate, and make mine? Do it against them the next week? And show them that I can do that move better than them now. With my own little thumbprint on it. That's B-Boying.