CRAZY LEGS – ROCK STEADY CREW (RSC):
The legendary Rock Steady Crew (RSC) was founded in the Bronx, in the late 1970’s by B-Boys including Jimmy Dee and Jimmy Lee. Only the best B-Boys were in RSC and the only way to get in the crew was to battle a member. It was a competition that few won. Crazy Legs battled his way into the crew by the age of 12. In 1979, after his family relocated from the Bronx to Manhattan, Crazy Legs sought and eventually received permission to establish a RSC chapter in his new borough.
Crazy Legs began to recruit second generation RSC members including legends like Frosty Freeze (RIP), Ken Swift, Ty Fly, Kippy Dee (RIP), Take One, Doze, Mr. Freeze, Rip 7, Lil’ Crazy Legs, Buck 4 (RIP), Kuriaki (RIP), Baby Love, Normski, King Keith, Ravi, Mr. Wiggles and Pop Master Fabel. The new RSC eventually became the motivating force behind the revival of B-Boying in the early 1980s. Crazy Legs continued to gain notoriety and pioneered the Continuous Backspin, a classic B-Boy move that is also known as the Windmill.
In 1981, RSC battle one of their NYC rivals The Dynamic Rockers as part of the Lincoln Center Outdoors series in New York City. With coverage from local TV news as well as international press, this legendary event gained them worldwide exposure. By 1982, the dance took Crazy Legs and RSC to Paris and London and in 1983 the crew performed for the Queen of England. Featured in films and documentaries such as: “Style Wars”, “Wild Style”, “Flash Dance” and “Beat Street”, RSC became the most influential Hip Hop dance crew. The crew’s credits include many of the first Hip Hop tours in the early 80’s, which set the foundation for what the culture has become. The tours plus a chart topping song in England: “Hey You!” promoted the B-Boy/girl movement to a global audience.
Around 1986, when the media, movies and advertisers eventually dismissed B-Boying as a fad, RSC did not split up. Some members took some time to regroup, going their separate ways to return to school, accept full time jobs and pursue other interests. Others did not fare so well. In spite of their anger and disappointment, RSC members kept looking forward and strived to maintain a positive outlook and focus. RSC was revived once again in the 1990s, with some members including Crazy Legs performing in the first Hip Hop musicals, “So! What Happens Now?” and GhettOriginal Productions “Jam on the Groove.” In 1991, members of the Rhythm Technicians and RSC collectively won the Bessie Award for choreography. “Jam on the Groove” was nominated for best choreography at the Drama Desk Awards in 1996. The crew appeared on various shows including MTV’s “The Grind”, The Source Awards and in many music videos by popular artists such as Erykah Badu, Wyclef Jean, Gang Starr, Tony Touch and many more.
On July 14th, 1991, RSC’s anniversary celebrations were established in NYC and have since been held annually to celebrate and preserve the history and evolution of Hip Hop Culture. Organized and hosted by Crazy Legs, this monumental community event brings together thousands of Hip Hop practitioners and enthusiasts from all around the globe. It honors members of RSC and of the Hip Hop community who have passed away. In 2009, the crew celebrated its 32nd anniversary throughout New York City and Newark, NJ.
Crazy Legs has personally choreographed music videos for Wyclef Jean (nominated for an MTV Award for Best Choreography) as well as a music video for multi-platinum artist Moby. He is co-producer of the B-Boy documentary “The Freshest Kids”. LEGS has appeared in commercials and print ads for Coke, Sprite, Verizon Wireless, Sean Jean, Avirex, Nike and RED BULL. A deal signed with Fila made him the first B-Boy to get a sneaker company to honor a group like the RSC with its own shoe. The Source magazine honored him with their Hip Hop Pioneer Award in 1994.
Other career highlights for this B-Boy legend include working with Savion Glover and teaching John Leguizamo to B-Boy for his Tony Award-nominated play “Freak”. In 2001, RSC was the first B-Boy/b-girl crew to perform at Carnegie Hall! With the crew and as a soloist, Crazy Legs has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Japan, Australia, South America and Europe.
It’s not all business for Crazy Legs. When his schedule permits, he volunteers by teaching the dance form to youth in an effort to preserve the power and integrity of the movement he helped start and keep it growing for generations to come. He also participates in several community outreach programs and workshops. It was his dance program at the Point C.D.C. for young people in the South Bronx that garnered him the “New Yorker of the Week” Award from NY1 TV.
In 2003, he was presented with the Source Youth Foundation Image Award, received the AARTS Award from the Bay Shore Schools Arts Education Fund, and was honored as the National Godfather of the Jersey City Puerto Rican Day Parade. In 2004, RSC was honored at the first annual Vh1 Hip Hop Honors. Crazy Legs also signed an endorsement deal with RED BULL.
Crazy Legs is the president of Backspin Productions, an entertainment company whose mission is to continue to produce Hip Hop events and eventually become a major entertainment company. Crazy Legs’ success is a testament to the longevity of Hip Hop culture.
Despite having an official “ROCK STEADY CREW Day” declared in both New York City and Las Vegas to worldwide respect and recognition, the fame hasn’t gone to his head. His focus remains on the importance of youth, community and preservation of Hip Hop as a vehicle for expression and change.
“Love of music, reputation and tradition… Gotta keep every aspect of Hip Hop that is positive alive and pass it on so that it can be used as a tool by others to advance in life and express themselves when they have no other outlet.” – Crazy Legs
Since their beginning the RSC has come full circle. Crazy Legs is still president of the crew. They have added new faces from across the globe and continue to perform and teach dance throughout the world. More recently they appeared on TV shows: “Dancing With the Stars” and “Don Francisco Presenta”. In 2008, RSC was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame. They remain very active within the community and throughout the world. RSC is involved in several outreach programs and hold food drives, donating time and money to nonprofit organizations.
Rock Steady Crew is the longest lasting Hip Hop dance organization of its era that continues to perform, compete, preserve and educate younger generations.