The Freshest Kids

7 10 2008

The Freshest Kids is a documentary about the origins and future of B-boys and break dancing directed by Israel. Although it features various stories and several cameos, most notably by Mos Def and KRS-One, the film centers around the story of two break dancing crews, The Rock Steady Crew and The New York City Breakers. While the film is certainly not without it’s faults, overall it’s an interesting look into one of the less discussed aspects of Hip-Hop culture and is definitely worth watching.

My least favorite part of The Freshest Kids was the first 20 minutes where countless people involved in Hip-Hop discussed the meaning of the culture and B-boying’s role in it in meaningless circular braggadocio and then proceeded to retell the entire story of Hip-Hop’s origins. It’s a scene that I’ve seen and heard far too many times before where everyone tries to out-Hip-Hop one another and the only end result is boredom for the viewer. Where those completely uninitiated into the world of Hip-Hop may learn something new here, it seems to me that anyone taking the time to watch a documentary on break dancing is probably already well versed on Hip-Hop’s formative years and doesn’t need a refresher course. Once you can get past this part however, things begin to get interesting.

After the rough start, the bulk of the film follows the evolution of break dancing from being a rare and often misunderstood occurrence in night clubs to it’s ultimate mainstream and commercial popularity set in motion by ABC News covering a battle and The Rock Steady Crew’s performance at the Olympics. It continues to tell the less glamorous story of those dancers who are trying to figure out break dancing’s next move after the media frenzy has died out.

Although dwarfed in comparison to the role that New York dancers had in The Freshest Kids, one of my favorite parts was the spotlight on the West Coast’s influence in pushing the limits of break dancing with moves like poppin’ and lockin’. After watching New York breakers for the majority of the movie, the West Coast’s take on B-boying is a refreshing change from the norm leading the viewer to imagine how different it must have been when it actually emerged for the first time. Surprisingly however, there was absolutely no mention of Crip Walking or C-Walking during this segment which was a big disappointment.

There are a few other minor problems I had with the film but I don’t want to complain too much and give the wrong impression. Overall, The Freshest Kids provides an insightful look into an area of Hip-Hop culture that is far too often overshadowed by rap music and is well worth your time to check it out.

The torrent can be found here.




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