Once upon a time there was this thing called breakin’. Break dancing, b-boying. Basically, you’d throw down a piece of cardboard and spin on your back and undulate your body to some remixed hip hop cranked up to 11 on your ghetto blaster! If you don’t know what a ghetto blaster is go look that shit up. A boom box. A big ass radio. And there were actually legit ‘crews’ like the New York City Breakers and The Rock Steady Crew. They would have BATTLES!! Like West Side Story hopped up on crank!! (I have now referenced Westside Story twice in one weekend!) DANCE BATTLES! Stay with me people. I know it’s a lot to envision but trust me, it’s worth learning about. So yeah, these crews would assemble then start throwin’ down their moves (which btw the main moves elements are toprock, downrock, power moves, and freezes. I know I might as well be tawkin’ greek right now), people would stand around and watch them and then kinda ‘vote’ on who was the most badasses of the lot. You catchin’ what I’m pitchin’? Awesome track suits would only accentuate your coolness. Here. I’ll bring you up to speed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RprGj6mfQz0 – just watch it. I’ll save you a couple minutes – start at the 4:00 minute mark cuz that’s when shit goes down! Go ahead. I’ll wait. Okay, so now you know what breakin’ is all about. I highly recommend the movies Breakin’ and Beat Street to further your education.
So, I came home yesterday and wanted to listen to some Cameo. Please tell me you know who Cameo is. Word Up? Anyhow, I wanted to listen to Cameo but since I don’t have any Cameo on vinyl, I decided on the next best thing….this album!!! I’ll readily admit, I’m no b-boy/b-girl, but I did take a break dancing class in grade school. No shit. I really did. In the cafeteria after school. The instructor thought I was a smart ass and I stood half the class with my arms held out in the air as punishment. Fuck you dude, you ain’t part of the Rock Steady Crew, you’re just a lackey who drew the short straw and ended up teaching 4th graders how to break dance. Yes, I’m still bitter. The only moves I can lay claim to is the moon walk, which I do quite well. Ask me next time you see me. And I taught myself!!! Okay, back to the matter at hand, this album! This is actually my husband’s album! Haha – called you out. It includes a poster of the New York City Breakers AND a step-by-step, illustrated instructional poster on how to!!! THANKS K-TEL!!! “They’d seen in the movies. They’d seen it on the streets!” You had that marketing game down K-Tel!
ALBUM: Various Artists, Break-Master New York City Breakers Album, K-Tel Records, 1984
So, this. This album. You hit pay dirt with all the songs on this bad boy. And while no one in white suburbia actually could break dance, we DID skate to these songs. We’d spend every weekend roller skating at Harps or Castle Skateland (which is still in operation today). Almost every song that comes on I start yelling “OH MY GOD!! I LOVE THIS SONG!”. Yes, I’m fickle like that.
So first up on Side Uno is Play at Your Own Risk by Planet Patrol. They were an electro group formed back in the 80’s. This is a good jam skate song. If you listen to the synth in this song, it sounds familiar. Like ‘Don’t Stop the Rock’ by Freestyle, another excellent skating song not on this album. Space Cowboy by Jonzun Crew. They were funk-hip hop and kinda ran with the whole Parliament groove. This song ain’t a stand out for me. It’s ah-ite. Next up Sucker MC’s by none other than Run DMC. They were spittin’ this shit but good. This is when rap didn’t suck. Who’s house it is? Run’s house. No, that’s not this song, I just wanted to say it. Ending with The Dark Side by Zero Hour. Heavy on the drum machines. This song has a very Herbie Hancock Rockit vibe to it.
Side 2 – This is the meat and potatoes side rightchere. White Horse by Laid Back starts things off. I wouldn’t picture two Danish, yuppie looking guys to be singing this song. It’s a total funky dance track about heroin (white horse). Freak-a-zoid by Midnight Star. THIS IS MY JAM!! Midnight Star had a succession of hits, but this song almost went to the top of the charts. Almost. No Parking on the Dance Floor is a pretty stellar jam too. Go check it out. Body Talk by The Deele. I forgot about this song til we put this record on! Then it all came back! I even remembered half the lyrics! This is such a sexy, dancy groove. Fun Fact: This band is from Cincinnati!! And Babyface was the keyboard player. Yup. We go into a spoken word rap song, Vocabulary Rap. It does feature Kool Moe Dee, so that’s a bonus. I ain’t a fan of this song so much. Then, everybody’s favorite, White Lines by Grand Master Flash. Actually this song is by Melle Mel. Truth bombs. You can listen to both versions but Grand Master Flash is doing this one. This is the ultimate skating song. Know that when you put this on everybody in the room is gonna start line dancing! And we used to do it on roller skates!! BOOYAH! Bonus Fun fact: The lines “A businessman is caught with 24 kilos / He’s out on bail and out of jail and that’s the way it goes” refers to car manufacturer John DeLorean who in 1982 became entrapped in a scheme to save his company from bankruptcy using drug money. Ouch! Sniff, sniff. The album ends with To the New York City Breakers Fans which is 4:54 minute instrumental with one line “Everybody knows that the breakers are fresh”, which is boring, unless you know how to break dance.
This album is awesome in every way. And it’s from K-Tel! Go grab your skates, or a piece of cardboard and the enclosed instructional poster, put this album on and JAM!!!
BEER: Citra Dog, Thirsty Dog Brewing, Akron, Ohio – 6.5% ABV, IBU: 95
It’s a beer! It’s a dog! It’s CITRA DOG!! I really wish this was called Atomic Dog because I want to listen to Atomic Dog after listening to all this funky break dancin’ music. But Citra Dog is a pretty cool name too. And I love Thirsty Dog beers. And It’s from Ohio. And it has a dog on it. In fact, I’m pretty sure all their beers have dogs on the label. Beer and dogs. Man’s (and Woman’s) Best friends! So, Citra Dog. You open this up and you can smell the citrus. Actually I opened it up and pulled out a glass that my dishwasher ineffectively washed, so I had to re-wash it but I couldn’t find my Dawn so I used some passion fruit bullshit hand soap. I thought it was the beer that smelled that way. It wasn’t but the beer still smells super yummy citrusy! Like walking through a citrus fruit grove without the bees and the hot ass sun beating down on you. This beer is a fantastic IPA full of orange and mango and grapefruit and citra hops. The citrus is front and center but not overwhelming in your face. I’m digging the hell out of this beer. It is hoppy but for the most part a mild IPA. It’s nice and refreshing and I almost feel like I’m getting my daily intake of Vitamin C. Yay for vitamins! Vitamins give you energy so next time you throw on your track suit before breakin’, get hydrated with a Citra Dog.