Hey Jazzy, could you give us your name, basic introduction, where you’re from, years of dancing and what styles you dance?
That’s a whole lotta questions.
I’m Jazzy J Soulfire. I’m from California and New York, a whole lotta times. Ain’t nothin’ but a thing. I ain’t gon’ slang my words but I gon’ play this. *Plays harmonica. Alright 1, 2.
I dance because the music moves the soul. That was it yo. Is there something else? I’m from the earth. I’m really from the earth and California. From the earth and New York is another part of my earth as well. I built myself on this earth.
I love to dance.
What part of LA are you from?
The Valley. I’m from the Valley, North Hollywood. I’m from the Valley. Over the hills, I’m from the Valley. Even Jackson was in the Valley. We are grown up in the Valley. Barry White was in the Valley. We just grew up in the Valley. The Valley was before you go over to go to LA, you step over into the premises of how you do this dance. Wait, I’m putting my glasses back on.
How old were you when you started dancing?
How old was you when you were born? Why you gon’ ask me a crazy question like that? When’s the first time you listened to music? Thank you. He answered my question before the question was answered.
Five years old. It was because someone actually gave me a dollar because I used to dance. I was mad shocked. I said “I wanna dance.” My name was Jimmy, James, Jimmy. Jazzy now. It was Jimmy. They said “Jimmy dance.” *Taps feet. And then he start dancing. The floor and the music came into more, into me.
So you started dancing as a hustler?
If you get what you do, you get paid what you do. So if you keep dancing, then what you do is the hustle. I didn’t look at it like that. People hand me money because…appreciation of life.
What styles would you say that you dance? Are there any inspirations that led you?
Little Richard, James Brown. That’s how I learned from, and then the Jacksons. Michael (Jackson), I actually got to hang out with them too, the Jackson people.
How was it meeting Michael?
Im’a tell you the story of Michael Jackson’s house. You gon’ like this. I gotta put my glasses back on. True story.
He goes “Why I do too many videos, too many music (videos).” Michael go, “hmm” and he talks like this. He has a very high voice. He had a really high voice and he spoke “You’re famous.” I responded, “I ain’t famous.” Michael said, “Yes you is.” We walk. I remember the couch, around, he went like this: “Boom.” He put a video tape up and then, it dawned on me. True story.
I thought, how you able to learn dance moves from the hood? You got to learn from somebody. True story right? God, the name of Jesus. He put the video in and boom. He put a video of me dancing from the hood. Us, Michael, and I’m like “Ahhh.” That’s why I went “Cause to me, you’re amazing. How you gotta learn?” You learn from the hood, from the streets, from God, the name of Jesus.
What is Popping ? How do you define it?
Popping is something that you tense and explode your body. You hold it in, and then you explode. Within the means and the mechanisms and then you hold it. You tell it how you need it to be. Popping is like, what’s popcorn? A kernel. It goes into a popcorn. You’re fluffy right? But when you start, Popping is Slim the Robot from Locking, that’s Popping.
What is Locking?
Locking is lock your arms. Something that’s not like Jazz but to extend and let it go, and freedom. Ain’t no freedom without Locking. Locking is like the most happy dance on earth.
Which style came out first? Did you begin with Locking or Popping?
Locking first. I was Locking before I tried to do The Robot but The Robot wasn’t Locking. Popping came later.
How do you define Funk?
You go James Brown Funk. He goes don’t take a bath for four days. You see, that’s a joke! I had to get one in. Funk is something that…and make you something like this something that’s a rule in life. That’s Funk.
When were you first exposed?
This dances comes from people doing social dance. You do this stupid dance, the shake. Social dance is to become with yourself. Social dance is like Jazz, Ballet, Tapping. If you tap your feet, they gon’ listen to you. When was I first exposed? T.V., black and white, Popping and Locking, way back in the day, Mannequin Man. For real, true story, he did Robot on T.V., Mannequin Man. That how I was exposed of it, I was exposed to that. Then they kept going. If you go back, back, before moonwalk and black slide, you move your feet, they tap your feet. They backslide back then.
What made you start dancing? When was that moment?
When I heard music. Someone said the means of a women, of her belly, that she do. I said I was dancing because I was in my mama’s belly, yeah. Then after I came out my mama’s belly, I started dancing. I didn’t know what she did with me, she told me what she used to do.
So was it your first cypher?
I’m a Popper. If you got letters on your back, I’m from Cali. You guys over here in New York, if you got wearing letters on your back, I’m battling you. Crew? I’ma battle you. It’s not the step that I’m better than you, it’s stepped in that I know your language, you dig? And then you know what I do? You do a move, and it’s a real good move. Then I stole it from you and I make it my own. That’s why I like to battle. I like to flip moves, all damn day. I ain’t talking bout bout Hip-Hop, I’m talking about battling Popping and Locking over here. I ain’t Breakin’. You know what? I started the biggest battle in Breaking over here. LECD rockers, we came over here. Roseland, true story, cause we was like B-Boys, we on T.V., we nasty, we can Break, we can do all that stuff. Homeboys on the street, they had cardboard, they was like diggin’. “We didn’t say we better than you but where they at?” They said Roseland, (it’s closed now) Roseland, Manhattan. Breakers, Incredible Breakers, New York City Breakers, oh, I started a battle, I did, cause, oh you know, they go over here spinnin’ on top of they head. First time I seen B-Boys, before that, in like Flashdance, that movie. That’s with Legs, we danced with Legs. We danced with him, I danced with Crazy Legs.
What would you say were your favorite moments in Dance?
Wow! Brother Johnson, aight, Brother Johnson, Janet Jackson, King Kohl. I’ve been on stage with Paula Abdul, Prince, oh you know, oh, big time, Stevie Wonder! Stevie! Oh, oh god Jesus. This close, I wish I can… I will never take that away from me again. But I always did, sometimes when you wanna speak to somebody and don’t speak to em’, speak to em’.
Why is that?
Cause I don’t wanna mess with your comfortability of being yourself. It’s like right now, I go “How ya doin!” You go *awkward face shrug*. I don’t mess with that. —
Who else, wait, wait, wait, hold up, oh, oh my… Smokey Robinson, oh god Jesus! I’ll leave. Smokey Robinson.
Do you have any advice on anyone starting & learning to dance now or may be nervous to start?
Be on rhythm. Be on tune. Be on step, ain’t nothin’. Music moves your soul, as you step with your feet, listen to the beat.
So today, we have Hip-Hop all over (the internet, dance studios, schools worldwide, etc.), how was Hip-Hop before all these changes?
It was a social dance, yeah, it was a social dance. It’s everything else, it’s like when you tap, whatever. Move your feet, do Jazz, Jazz move, it’s a social dance, it’s like this. But then what happened, this dance, people got the mechanism to go “This how it go, this how it go.” Everything is this. How you move a car? You put the key in, put gas in it, and it moves, right? You can’t make no instruction, nothin’ that’s different. Popping is a social dance, it came, it twank, it boom, and… You cannot control something that, that you move. You control something, watch this *silence*. Silence, yeah, we, we silent. I didn’t control it, but we silent. I didn’t control NOTHIN’. G’head, breathe *breathe*. I didn’t control it neither. Move my feet, no controls, the music moves your soul. Anybody make it, make a song out, tell me how I move to it. What’s the new song out right now? That shark, that shark song… I mess with y’all, see? I had to get one joke in. Come on, come on, you had to give me somethin’.
How were the Jams and battles back in the day in Los Angeles?
Which ones? Oh, wait, the hard ones or the cool ones? Battles from back in the day is, oh we gettin’ Harry Barry, he can attest to this, from the Bloods and the Crips (gangs), battles was like Crips & Bloods, and fighting, not killin’ each other. Anyways, but then, battles back in the day is, if you battle, you gotta give em’ your jacket. That’s how it is, it’s just, you give em your jacket. You give em’ your jacket and then, and then it got too crazy because then you get naked. No, forreals!
A battle is, with yourself is, “You got me” with our music, I’ll be back tomorrow. Cause a battle always keep going. That’s why I like battles. I like that question.
What do you look for as a Judge for competitions?
Oh, see! Oh, I like that question. Aight, a judge, don’t put yourself in the competition. Let them be, you not competing with them or doing your judgement, then get in there and battle them. Judge them on the premise. That’s what I say as a judge. Because people go “Oh..” then get in. No, I get pissed. “You get over here, Get in there! “Can you do what he did!? No”, “Oh, he did.. Oh, he did a.. Oh he, uh, he crashed..” But don’t put yourself inside the battle. Put yourself inside, in judgement of what you see. I like that one.
What would make somebody win for you?
A smile a day.
What are your favorite aspects about the dance? (community, sessions, battles, partying)
All what you just said. These are yes or no answers, keep goin’.
So, you have so many years dancing, as a dancer with a wealth of knowledge & experiences, what will you & your peers do to keep this momentum going and help the youth seize these new opportunities you all worked hard for?
I keep moving my feet as what you said, I like that question too, and the peers, the kids’ll come up, you keep moving, you teach em, they keep goin’ along. It’s competition. The competition is yourself and being amongst up and keep upbuilding it but you always be competition cause I’m better than you too.
Many kids today may not know what the Electric Boogaloo is. Could you describe it?
Electric Boogaloo is something that perceive as a person, oh I like that one, that put on a dance. We could never put something on a word that you do. Electric Boogaloo is something that’s, honestly, a dance style that took everything from LA and I’ll be honest with you, because EB’s ain’t Electric Boogaloo, nothing Sam, he create, he done did. But there’s lot of tuts, there’s waving, everything came in. To me, it’s like a black hole. When you go in it, you get sucked in, and where you go? You come back to home, ah!
What is Electric Boogaloo crew? Is that your crew?
Ain’t my crew, ain’t part of that crew.
How has Popping & Locking changed?
Oh, music, always, cause the music moves the soul, so I mean, oh actually, going back to Electric Boogaloo style again, Electric Boogaloo style is Robot. So, the music moves a little bit more, it’s moving faster. You go Locking, Locking with the Robot slim, that’s Electric Boogaloo style. That’s where it came from.
What is your dream for Funk?
Well half the people I was with here before, they dead. Dream for Funk…just music, music.
Can you name some of your favorite Funk artists?
I like, I’m sure I like Mike (Michael Jackson), George Clinton, Lucy. I like Prince, I like James Brown, and another one, he did a old-school sound… I love Marvin Gaye. Oh, Castle, that’s the song I also like, Roger, God all mighty.
Jazzy, do you remember when I first met you at the Funky Mansion?
No, it’s the Funky Funky Funk Funky Mansion.
Are you going to bring back a session like that anytime soon?
The thing is this, it’s always here for people to come in. Music moves your soul, I just gotta go in.
Do you have anything else you want to share?
Yeah, I’ma speak about this.
The life is life, the world is world.
As the music, don’t twirl your soul.
As you see your feet, as you see your girl.
As you a man, everything is a swirl.
Take in, I’ma talk again, speak again.
Music moves the soul.