Undoubtedly the most highly recognized name in the b-boy world, the Rock Steady Crew was first formed in 1977 in the Bronx, New York. The two man team of Jo Jo and Jimmy D were the original founders. It was an important time for the dance movement. Disco was killing the artform and many b-boys had given up and gone on to other things. Jo Jo was a one time hustler that learned he could gain more notoriety on the dance floor. He is also often credited with inventing the back spin.
In 1979, Jimmy D realized the need for new blood and added in a member that would eventually be scene as a spokesman for the entire organization. That member was Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón. The other new member was Lenny Len. They began spreading the RSC name into Manhattan.
They used battles as a means of recruitment.
Mr. Freeze was one of the first real white b-boys.
Frosty Freeze was an elder b-boy (a member of the Rock City Crew) who was still interested in the game but was without a steady crew. He pledged his support with the younger RSC members if they needed him in a battle.
The crew’s big break came in 1981. Photographer Henry Chalfant gave them the chance to perform at the Lincoln Center Outdoors Program. The event turned into a battle with the Dynamic Rockers. The show garnered coverage from various press sources including National Geographic. The result was world wide attention to the b-boy cause.
Not long after this Crazy Legs was named President of the Rock Steady Crew with Frosty Freeze and Ken Swift (who was part of a crew called The Young City Boys and was brought in as an RSC member after battling Crazy Legs) as Co-Vice Presidents.
But perhaps and even bigger break was the appearance by members Mr Freeze, Ken Swift, Crazy Legs and Frosty Freeze in the box office smash “Flashdance”. This lead to a nation wide craze into what was now being called “breakdancing”. It also played heavily into the development of the West Coast b-boy scene.
Lil’ Crazy Legs, originally part of Rock City Rockers, got his name from his efforts to copy Crazy Legs style.
Had a regular Thursday night gig at a club called Negril which was run by Michael Holman (of Graffiti Rock fame).
In 1982, Rock Steady Crew became members of Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation.
The established 98th and Amsterdam in New York as Rock Steady Park and it became a meeting place for all RSC members.
Due to their burgeoning success, they took on Kool Lady Blue as their manager.
They were part of a European tour that included Afrika Bambaataa, Fab 5 Freddy, various graffiti artists among others.
Members appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman.
They recorded a record for Charisma called “Hey You Rock Steady Crew”. The record is hardly a b-boy anthem, but it did reach the top of the British charts. They also released a single called “Uprock”. Both songs appeared on their album “Ready For Battle”.
The record did a have a downside. Due to contractual dealings, they were unable to perform live. The group was reaching the end of their initial popularity wave. Unfortunately some members didn’t choose the right path during this down period.
Mr. Wiggles (also part of West Coast Crew Electric Boogaloos) and Fable from the Magnificent Force came up with an idea for a hip hop musical called “So, What Happens Now.” It ended up being the critics choice in the New York Times and received rave reviews in The Village Voice and The Daily News.
Resurgence picked up steam again with their performance at the 1991 Source Awards as well as their first annual Rock Steady Anniversary Celebration.
They have also been featured in several music videos in the last 3-4 years.
Related Links: www.rocksteadycrew.com & mrwiggleshiphop.net
Additional submitted by Mr Wiggles
Check out the Rock Steady Crew in “Beat Street”