Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

The Goddistas are up for an award! The Madison Hip Hop Awards are going down November 9th, and you can help us win the best hip hop dance crew category by voting between now and November 4th! Interestingly, we’re the only breakers AND the only women in the category.

For the curious, here’s submission video:

So, take a minute to help a few sistas out, and VOTE for Goddistas for the MHHAs!

(Edukate is also up for the DJ category!)

Basement Kings 2 Year Anniversary Jam (Milwaukee, WI) x MadSkills 7 (Madison, WI)

Walking into the Basement Kings 2 Year Anniversary Jam, we didn’t have the highest expectations for a mind-blowing jam experience.  We went to support this young crew’s first jam and to have fun.  We drove into the parking lot of the auto-body shop where the jam was held and entered into a musty, carpeted room with two linoleum floors and DJ Yosha (Heeehe! Hahhhha!) standing shirtless over a DJ Nu-Mark system.

However, we were pleasantly surprised by the energy of the jam.  Wisco was out in support and cats from Chicago rode the Roldare train down to build and vibe out.  Mad respect to Roldare Nation for always supporting the Wisco scene and working to build bridges between Chicago and Wisconsin – Roldare is at almost every jam, bringing youth who might not have the opportunity to travel as much without the free van rides.


This sense of community support raised the energy at the jam and made the battles hype.  Everyone there was about having fun.  The jam brought out our inner kids and got us playing around with new commandos and movement.  We can’t remember the last time we had that much fun battling.  All three Midwest based Goddistas repped on the floor.  We all lost our Top 16 Battles to the two crews that made it to the finals.  Sway battled with Zoong and lost to Brickheadz’ BeestBoy & Chikis.  EduKate & El La Katrina lost to Gravity Benders’ Duka & Chosen.  Good battle company brought out the fun and the flavor in our rounds.

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After the jam BeestBoy decided to hop the Goddista express to Madtown for MadSkills 7 the next day.  Part of the jam experience for us has always been about building community.  We were extra hype to build with one of the youngest members of the legendary Brickheadz crew and see what the next gen was up to.  We conversed over All-You-Can-Eat sushi and introduced BeestBoy to sake while talking about the scene, life, and working with youth.  After parting ways with our Goddista sista Sway, we headed back to Madison and ended up at Jolly Bobs with DJ Vilas Park Sniper for some reggae and dancehall heaven.  We were all a bit sore and licking our battle wounds from earlier in the day.  While bboys and bgirls aren’t known for being wallflowers, all three of us found a good place to post up, bob our heads, and relax.  The night was super chill except for the one time BeestBoy almost got slapped by the girl who was hellified pissed that he wouldn’t dance with her.


We started the next morning with ginger shots and green juice, and headed to MadSkills 7 at the Windows of Worlds Community Arts Festival.  The weather was perfect for an outdoor jam and the vibe was chill.  Goddistas had to work this one with El La Katrina hosting on the mic and EduKate judging with Mijo (Motion Disorderz) and ManOfGod on the decks.  With the small number of competitors, we decided to switch it up and made all the prelim rounds start with a Tops only set.  We thought this change-up would be a good exercise in well roundedness and get the largely “up-and-coming” dancers to feel the music while educating the crowd on the intricacies of our dance.  We couldn’t help ourselves but joke with Yosha (Gravity Benders’ infamous powerhead) before his toprocks only round, but, truthfully, he did his thing, and it pleasantly surprised us all.

The Roldare train was on schedule that weekend with daily trips between Chicago and Wisconsin for both battles.  While Sunday jams can be difficult for folks traveling, we had hoped for more local support from the Madison area.  The Milwaukee up-and-coming gen (Basement Kings) showed that they are interested in learning and moving toward a time when they can take up leadership roles in the scene.  Dope.  As two Madison-based bgirls, we hope to see the younger gen in Madison following suit.


Congrats to the Weekend in Review Winners:

Basement Kings 2 Year Anniversary Jam

Gravity Benders Crew – Duka & Chosen

 MadSkills 7

Gravity Benders Crew – Yosha

MadSkills 7 Runners Up Battle Winner

Dance Maniacz – Joefishy




Three weeks ago my cousin Nic hit me up and asked me if he could treat me to the Immortal Technique and Brother Ali War & Peace Tour stop in Madison, Wisconsin at the Barrymore Theatre on Saturday, September 22nd.  My cousin wanted to thank me for all of the times I hosted him and his friends during our annual Breakin’ The Law Festival where he was introduced to Breaking Culture.  I was quick to take him up on the offer.  The concert fell on the same day as a Breaking exhibition and workshop the Goddistas and other local bboys from the East Madison Community Center, including Dance Maniacz Crew, were asked to be part of at Willy Street Fest. My cousins and uncle came into town and we had a Hip Hop inspired mini family reunion.

Kevin IMBA

Ask any Bboy or Bgirl about going to a Jam and you’re sure to hear about the family reunion vibe that brings people together.  The sense of community the Jam evokes is a major part of the experience.  Leave it to two community minded Emcees, Immortal Technique and Brother Ali, to evoke a similar vibe.   As soon as I arrived at the show, I found myself in a cypher of reconnection with local Emcees I hadn’t seen in years.  After about 20 minutes of building with the I Need A Raise Records Crew, I headed into the packed theater to check out the concert.  I found a perfect spot to post up and the energy of the place hit me instantly.  MadTown was in full effect giving love and vibing out.

Katrina IMBA

As a Bgirl, going to a Hip Hop concert can often leave me feeling unfulfilled in comparison to the energy and community-building vibe a Jam brings to the floor.  While I wasn’t able to get down, the cypher was still in effect from the community building conversation circles to the impromptu cypher after the concert by local spitters.  While the mainstream media has by-and-large created a view of Hip Hop that is only Rap, Immortal Technique waxed poetic and powerful by blasting the mainstream media’s narrow view.  He gave due credit to his DJ, who did his own mini-set, while schooling many in the audience to the history of the DJs role in birthing Hip Hop.  He called for recognition of Hip Hop as a culture and gave big ups to Bboys, Bgirls, and Graffiti Writers for keeping the culture alive.

As a community organizer, I was also inspired by what I saw and heard.  Both Immortal Technique and Brother Ali made it a point to thank the workers behind the scenes that made the concert possible from the sound engineers to the cleaning crew.  Brother Ali spoke to the importance of unions and the 2011 Wisconsin Protests while complicating the dialogue saying, “We all know that there have always been problematic issues regarding race and gender in unions and we need to continue pushing them while working with them particularly with the current attacks on working class people.”

Immortal Technique talked about his experiences with the music industry trying to censor him and how these interactions have positioned him to stay an independent artist all-the-while maintaining his success.  He critiqued the mainstream media saying, “Don’t call me, talking about what is going on in the world, controversial. Call what is being done by these corporate and wealthy fools controversial.”


As a Goddista, I was intrigued to hear Immortal Technique address gendered issues in society both by calling for an end to violence against women and heralding the contributions of women in the revolution.  He stopped the music and got personal with us.  He bent down and said that rape was no joke.  He talked about violence against women as a serious issue men needed to do more to educate themselves on.  He followed this up with a soliloquy on how important women have been to revolutions across histories and time.  He said, “Women have always been at the forefront of revolutions and we need to remember and celebrate that.”

Immortal Technique and Brother Ali were masters on the mic that night.  Their voices rang clear and their messages traveled throughout the minds, bodies and souls present. At one point, Immortal Technique engaged the entire audience collectively to hold some overly rowdy peeps accountable by getting everyone to literally point their fingers towards one of the offenders and in unison everyone told him to, “Chill out and enjoy the show.”  Immortal Technique ended the disruptions by saying, “If we can’t have a peaceful Hip Hop show, how the fuck are we going to have a revolution?”  Any large show is going to have a few folks who act out but rarely do the artists themselves take responsibility for creating a safe space.


Without further incident, the show ended in one of the most beautiful finales I’ve witnessed at a concert.  Immortal Technique and Brother Ali both ended the night by walking the talk.  They walked themselves to the exit doors of the venue and had conversations, took photos, and built with everyone who stayed in line to talk with them.  The beauty of the Breaking Community is the realness and humility of the practitioners.  Aspiring Bboys and Bgirls can reach out and be in community with the people they look up to.  That reality isn’t often replicated in the realm of Rap.  But at the War & Peace Tour in Madison, Immortal Technique and Brother Ali embodied Real-Talk, Real-Walk Hip Hop Culture.

I would like to take a moment to recognize one of the most integral pieces of the hip hop puzzle: the DJ. We’ve all seen DJs who bring the party to higher and higher levels of movement and energy with their song selection and transitions, and we’ve all also seen DJs who are the only people in the room getting hype off of what is coming out of the speakers. This weekend, I saw an impressive array of DJing skills over Friday and Saturday night that reinforced for me exactly how important this elusive figure of hip hop is.

Technic 1200 turntable

Friday night, I went out with my fellow Goddista, El La Katrina, to a local bar in Madison that usually has someone spinning a good combination of hip hop, soul, funk, anything with a good groove. Katrina and I are both coming off of injuries and were worried about getting too hype and going all out, but we wanted to support our friend Vilas Park Sniper who was DJing. Little did we know, there were two DJs spinning that night.

VPS got the crowd warmed up, created a nice and easy crescendo to transition into Friday night. Katrina and I sat pining for the dance floor as the energy in the room began to cluster there. Just as dancers were starting to let loose, the second DJ came on and completely cleared the dance floor in a matter of two songs. The folks who came to dance sat staring awkwardly at each other, and those who came to drink felt no urge to release their alcohol-induced energy on the dance floor. The awkward ballroom couple determined to dance no matter what genre gave up and sat down. Katrina and I had no problem sitting and relaxing instead of tearing up the dance floor on our injured legs. Even the standard tracks that get white people who can’t dance hype fell flat on the, let’s face it, largely white Wisconsin crowd because the song order simply made no sense.

The importance of flow for a DJ is not something we think about unless it’s lacking; we expect our DJs to guide us through the night. Each song should be the logical progression between those before and after. You can have technical skill and hard drives full of music, but if you don’t know what to play when, you will lose your audience. When the first DJ came back on, he was able to save the night in less than two songs, pulling out a crucial string of dancehall that you couldn’t help but get down to.

Saturday night, I went to the Uptowner in Milwaukee to see my TBB crewmate from New York, Danny Dan the Beat Man, on the decks for the after party for Center Street Daze. His collection and selection are not something that you get to hear every day; his skills come straight from the teachings of the likes of Herc, Theodore, and Flash. The Milwaukee breaking scene showed their support, cyphering and grooving to the classics that Dan was dropping. Mijo from Motion Disorderz and I started a battle against a couple of all styles heads, throwing goofy burns to slow jams. I’m sure Mijo’s antics alone made it to onlookers’ Vines and Instagrams.

Bgirl Edukate and Danny Dan the Beat Man Dusty Fingers DJ

A few MCs even got on the mic to rhyme over Dan’s beats. It was a refreshingly organic display of hip hop elements coming together to create in a shared space. I returned to Madison inspired by the energy that Dan was able to draw from each of us into a collective buzz based more on building than booze. Our community needs more events like this, more moments like this, and I hope that as an aspiring DJ myself, I’ll be able to connect people through my music.

So, thank you to all of the DJs out there who keep us moving, vibing, and reaching those energy levels that connect us all in the spirit of creation and music. Special shout outs to Danny Dan the Beat Man and Vilas Park Sniper for filling and fulfilling my ears this weekend.

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