What’s Up World!
It’s the LiHaiArt team back at it with another blog. This week we wanted to put the spotlight on the newest member of the LiHai family, JFunky representing Crooks Crew (Chicago). Even though he’s a young gun, JFunky has a wealth of experience when it comes to the Hip Hop culture. He has competed all over the world defeating some of the toughest competition the world has to offer. As we sat down with JFunky we wanted to pick his brain and understand how he sees the Hip Hop community today. Let’s see what JFunky had to say.
LiHai(LH): So how did you get into Hip Hop, where did this all start?
JFunky(JF): Well I started as a kid at 5 years old. My older brother JT was a really big influence on me as a kid. He would show me all these videos like Battle of the Year 95, plus footage from a lot of old school crews like Style Elements and other crews that were around in that time. As far as Breakin’ goes, JT would come over with all of his friends and they would break, and it was a natural monkey see monkey do type deal. It was a funny thing though, the first move I learned was a headspin, and one day when JT brought his friends over I hit a headspin and they all went crazy and the rest is history really. That was probably my first introduction to Breakin’, dancing with my brother’s crew The Dope Kids or TDK as we called ourselves. They started training me and I never looked back.
LH: When did you decide to become an international Bboy? Was there a moment where you decided that you wanted to compete at the international level?
JF: Well I was 18 when I won my first jam, it was the Kfest battle in Chicago. After that I started traveling all around Chicago, then all around the Midwest. Somewhere during that time, can’t remember when exactly, but I had this conversation with my crewmate El Grande from Crooks. We were talking about what we wanted to do with our Breakin’. He was telling me that I had to make a choice, I could either take the normal route, get a job and just treat Breakin’ like any other hobby or I can go on the Bboy path and become a serious competitor and compete against the rest of the world. After that conversation I actually got asked to do a big exhibition against Bboy Kevetic from Boogie Monsters Fam (Kansas City) and that gave me the serious start to my career in Breakin’.
LH: What does Hip Hop mean to you?
JF: Oh man, to me Hip Hop means…so many things. It means love, community, and respect. Through Hip Hop I have met people from all different walks of life. You don’t get to experience that in other professions, you may never get to experience meeting people from all over the world. I like it because there is no discrimination, from poor all the way to 6 figure earners can be involved in Hip Hop. It also can help resolve problems peacefully, instead of fighting we can get problems solved through our art. Also it gives a voice to everyone, through Hip Hop everyone has a chance to express their ideas on an equal platform.
LH: What do you think about the Bboying scene today? Do you agree or disagree with it?
JF: It’s a lifestyle, it’s everything! It’s anything you want it to be. It’s really is a way for people to uplift themselves and create something that is truly theirs and individual to them. As far as the scene goes, people give a shit about you or they don’t. What people say about the scene is true, there is a lot of decisions that I don’t agree with, there is a lot of bullshit. As a global scene we are not united, everyone has their own clique that they belong to and that’s what determines who makes it into what competitions. Even in the Chicago scene there is a division amongst crews. We have been known to have serious beef with everbody and to hate each other. It has calmed down cuz the older gen has kids now and the newer generation likes to stick to their own. A lot of new generations don’t have the respect for elders in the scene. It really is every man fort himself but as of right now I think Crooks Crew really is the only that is trying to make an effort to get out there and travel for our art.
LH: Why do you like the LiHai brand?
JF: My relationship with you guys all started when my crewmate Twigs and I had come out to Cali for Van Jam. It was an awesome trip and it was pretty crazy to be in the same room as some of these huge crews that we have heard about but we actually faired pretty well beating out most our competition making it all the way to the finals. In the end we lost to Luigi and Prada-G but it was a really dope battle and we got apple moonshine and a LiHai shirt as prizes. The moonshine was delicious but the shirt was something I could really hold onto, I wore it with pride, it was like a medal of honor. It represented all the hard work we had put into our craft so I wore it with pride. Then I also liked the artwork and all the graphics it was pretty fresh so I wore it and it became my good luck charm, every jam I wore it to I did really well and I figured I’d give you guys a call and link up. Now I’m on the team representing the LiHai message. It means extreme and to the fullest and that’s the way I want to be, repping to the extreme.
LH: What info can you give to the future generations of Bboys?
-Keep losing, don’t give up, in the end its going to be worth it. Every loss can be a lesson, I remember losing both to politics and honestly but I stayed persistent and remains vigilant in my pursuit of success.
LH: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us man, we appreciate you brotha!
JF: No problem man, it’s always a good time.
That’s a wrap y’all, that was what JFunky thinks about the community right now. The way this culture has shaped him into the person he is today. Make sure to holla at JFunky anytime you catch him at an event and make sure to send him good luck and root for him this weekend. He is competing at the Redbull BCONE cypher in Denver this weekend!