Category Archives: Digga History

The first Hip Hop documentary – The one that changed my life forever

In the early part of 1983 I was 13 years old and beginning to really develop a love for music. I had been obsessed with Michael Jackson for years before he did his backslide (neospeak:moonwalk) on Motown 25, but that moment influenced a lot of people, including me, because it was like a magic trick. There was my musical hero, dancing better than I had ever seen anyone dance. He looked like he was trying to walk forward but was moving backward. And it was so smoooooth… I’ve seen better since, but it’s still one of the best.  Only a few months later, on a show called Night Flight, a pre-MTV, late night show that featured music videos and odd material such as documentaries about underground culture, I saw a few minutes of a doc about the emerging Hip Hop scene in Los Angeles. And it literally changed my life.

Not only did I want to dance like Michael Jackson, now I had to dance like these guys in the movie! They were doing the same kind of magic trick, but then then doing a thousand more magic tricks with their bodies. They literally looked inhuman. Sometimes like looking like robots or mannequins, sometimes floating on air and waving like they were made out of plastic and water. And the music… it was like nothing I had ever heard before. So mechanical and robotic, yet funky. From that moment on, all I wanted to do was dance like that. I literally became possessed by the idea, obsessed with finding out how to learn. It was shortly after that I met the now world-famous Rick Robinson and he taught me the basics of popping, Chicago style.

The next year I met someone who had the whole documentary on video and he showed it to me and our little Hip Hop crew we had formed. It blew us all away and I got a copy from him. I began watching it every day and modeling my dance moves from it, especially those of Boogaloo Shrimp. Many of the people in this documentary went on to star in the movie Breakin’, which introduced most of america to the culture (although in a bubble gum way). To this day, the foundations of my dance moves can be found in this film. I’m so glad it finally made its way to the internet. Until last year, I hadn’t seen it in over 20 years. You should watch the whole thing. WrrD! ~Digga