Let’s take it back…

Wwaayy back – back into time…

In the mid 1970’s hip hop was born in New York. In the late 1980’s, after years of being ignored by mainstream media, hip hop finally got it’s own television show on MTV called “Yo! MTV Raps.” In the early 1990’s hip hop was taking over the number one spots on Billboard’s charts and the hip hop culture was spreading like wild fire all over the entire nation. In the mid 1990’s, across the US, in a small community called the Coachella Valley, the same fire that spread from NY to CA got ahold of a bboy crew called Atomic Styles. Atmoic Styles set fire to the desert and since then, the flame has never died, only grew.
Back in the mid 1990’s, when the Coachella Valley lacked stages, venues, MC crews, DJs and money, the bboy crews stood alone. Making something from nothing (just like DJ Kool Herc did in 1973), Atomic Styles battled on cardboard against other bboy crews at the local high schools and practiced at the Cathedral City Boys and Girls Club. Before the days of heavy promotion on the Internet and Myspace (much like the days before Yo! MTV Raps), to be in a legitimate crew in the hip hop community you had to prove yourself by means of face-to-face battles against each other before being considered a legit artist. The competition was a lot more fierce, and not as “nice” as it is now. A decade later in the late 2000’s, the same fire that was ignited by the old school bboy crews is still alive spreading across the valley at a rapid and uncontrollable speed.
Today, I’m time traveling with DJ Odysey, a bboy turned DJ who was a member of the late Atomic Styles Crew. DJ Odysey will share with me the element of hip hop that first ignited the scene and that is lacking today: break dancing.

Name:Pablo Rocha (dj odysey)
Astrological Sign:Leo
Name of your bboy crew back in high school:I was from a bboy crew called Atomic Styles. Known for being one of the dopest crews out here in the valley, if not the dopest.
Who was in your crew and what were each of their roles/skills: Back then at least for this crew we were all just bboy’s. I DJed back then but that wasn’t like a main roll for the crew. there were no set roles just practice your ass off and serve fools. As far as who was in the crew DAYUMumm, let me think… Atomic Styles was started by Tony Aguirre, his little brother Alonzo Reyes, Tony Rockface, and me. We had actually broken away from an east valley crew known as The Floor Masters due to beefing in the two different chapters. which will lead in to your next question.
What crews did you battle:Back in the mid nineties there were a grip of bboy crews out here – and I‘m pretty sure we battled all of ’em. We had our cross town rivals who we battled many times Big Old Skool that was always a good battle. We battled a crew named Fatality that was like six dudes from Palm Springs High for take outs at a high school dance. We won so that meant that their crew was no more, they could either join us or do their own thing. We battled another crew that was outta Desert Hot Springs called Vicious Styles, we felt that was just a little to close to our name so we called them out for names. That was a close battle, still the out come of that was in our favor. And of course our cross valley rivals The Floor Masters, always a crazy battle that would some times come close to fist being thrown. One time we ditched school at lunch time, packed like six of us into my boy Kuki’s lil ass Ford Ranger, drove over to La Quinta High and ended up in a class room Battling what is now know as the Allied Forces Crew. Another victory for us, but we got caught leaving the campus…haha, funny shit… Our crew got really dope so a lot of our guys would go to big events such as Freestyle Sessions, BBoy summits and other somewhat smaller events and enter competitions, unfortunately I wasn’t around for those cuz i had gotten way more into DJing at that time.
Where did you battle:We’d battle anywhere, but most of our battles took place at the Cathedral City Boys & Girls Club. They would let us practice there week nights. That used to be the HOT SPOT back in the day..haha good times…
What were battle sessions like:Battle sessions were always dope, a hell of a lot of energy in the room. I remember one of the illest battles to go down out here was The Floor Masters Vs. Master Movements Crew… Master Movements was only 2 dudes brothers Ace and J Rock. and Floor Masters was like close to 20 dudes… so a 2 man crew vs. a 15 to 20 man crew… and Master Movements won… dope shit. But yeah, I don’t see battles going down out here anymore.. I honestly feel that element is missing in the CV Hip Hop scene, in anything not just bboy shit. That shit brings out the animal in a fool, it really puts you to the test to see if you’re as good as you think you are. I don’t see anyone really being down for that shit anymore. I AM! So get at me if you wanna get down. But word battles always dope, mad energy.
Describe the hip hop scene back then. How is it different then today’s hip hop scene: Back then it wasn’t so nice. Not just anyone could just hop into it without being tested. You’d get called out and put to the test… at least that’s how I saw it. Here on the west side of the valley we were rough rugged and raw. In all aspects weather it was BBoying, DJing, making beats, graf or MCing. We were always down to back our shit up. Battles were nothing new back then, you don’t see that anymore – and its a trip ‘cuz the scene is so much bigger now. Back in the day I can remember there only being like 2 Hip Hop crews, I was from one of ’em Special Forces and in the east side we had Allied Elements. Its crazy to see how much the scene has grown since then.
How did the Internet effect the hip hop scene in your opinion? The Internet is probably the reason why it got so big out here. You network with people you probably never would have met just out and about. Anyone can listen to your music, I think its helped us all out a grip. People from all around the world can listen to what we do here out of this little valley… So its pretty dope.
What do you know now that you wish you knew back then: Actually I’m pretty glad I got the history I got. I’m glad I had to pay dues, show and prove. The struggle ya know. I wouldn’t change anything about my path I‘ve walked in this hip hop game. So I really can’t think of anything i wish i knew back then.
Tell me about your Park Functions events that you put on:ParkFunktions was my boy Glens (bboy HeBeGB) idea. He had the vision I had the DJ equipment. We started putting them together back in like ’99 or 2000. They were mainly aimed at Bboys back then. Just a little park jam, practice type a deal. But then from that we started having rap battles and eventually evolved into a pretty good hip hop show. At least the one I threw last year did. But yeah, as soon as it cools off I‘ll be putting another one together so keep your eyes open.
What musical projects are you currently on:I just finished an album with my partner Ivan the Teribl. I did all the production and recording on that. I’m working on an album with Mic Legg. Also working with my boy Twerp. We got some friends out in Orange County called The Headhunterz and we’re doing a collab project with them. Other than that I just keep making beats and cutting it up on the tables.
What are some upcoming shows?I’ve got a Bi Weekly gig i share with my boy Nakai in down town Palm Springs at JD’s landing. Other than that just look out for Ivan the Teribl’s name on a flyer. I’m always backing him up…
Where can we find you on the Internet?
http://www.myspace.com/djodyseysoultribe

The earliest stages of break dancing, circa 1970’s

Yes, there are Bgirls too.

Recycling that cardboard! Photo circa 1990’s.

DJ Odysey DJing a bboy battle at UC Riverside

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