Pee Wee Dance: Dance to the Drummer’s Beat

G oing into its thirty-third year, Hip-Hop has spun on pitch with the times. But as wise words echo from a true originator, the hands of time might want to cut the record back. Pee Wee Dance was expressing himself in the would-be culture when Richard Nixon was America’s president. The man’s role in Hip-Hop […]

G oing into its thirty-third year, Hip-Hop has spun on pitch with the times. But as wise words echo from a true originator, the hands of time might want to cut the record back. Pee Wee Dance was expressing himself in the would-be culture when Richard Nixon was America’s president. The man’s role in Hip-Hop has afforded him over three decades of traveling, experience, and wisdom. Today, Pee Wee Dance is very candid on the elements of the culture that are true to form and those that aren’t. The Bronx, New York native tells a story we love to hear again and again. The man reflects on Hip-Hop as its told, and credits those, including himself, who made it what it is. The man who partied in Sedgwick Cedar Park, toured with Rocksteady, and now offers the truth to the youth. State your name, soldier. Pee Wee Dance: Pee-Wee Dance is a name you could never forget, and if you can’t say it all, then don’t say s**t. I hear that. What was your entry into Hip-Hop? Pee Wee Dance: When I started, it was about 1971. It wasn’t even called Hip-Hop yet. At the time, it was called “the go-off,” or the “bo-oi-oing.” Boi-oi-oing was the way we wore our hats, you know the hats with the ball? We would wear them on the left side and we would do certain moves [to make the ball] to go boing boing, you know? Hip-Hop started August 11, 1973. Love Bug Starski coined the word, the word “Hip-Hop.” Now Afrika Bambaataa added the word “culture” to it so that now Hip-Hop was defined, see, you gotta stay focused. He added the word “culture” because it came with the consciousness. Kool Herc is the father. Herc started it, and from Kool Herc, it went to Bam. Then you have Starski and from Starski, you have [Grand Wizard] Theodore. From Theordore, then you have Grandmaster Flash. So you have five people that’s really the forefathers. What is the difference between a Grandmaster and an MC, if any?Pee Wee Dance: A Grandmaster could be anything. It’s just a title that a person has to uphold. If you call yourself the Grand, you call yourself the Man. So you have to be able to demonstrate your ability for you to be Where has this culture taken you?Pee Wee Dance: I’ve been from one side to the last, you know? Frankfurt, Germany, Osaka, Japan, Tokyo, London. I been on the bullet train, we take it to the British side, saw where the [Berlin] Wall was at, seen the London Bridge. We can keep it going you know. All around the world . They say Hip-Hop has four elements. Who are the architects of each element? Pee Wee Dance: Four elements: MC’ing, DJ’ing, graffiti, and then you have dancing. Now Kool Herc is the father, so everything that happened, happened with his crew first. [Then] you had “Sweet & Sour”-that was female MCs, you had Pebbley Poo, she was down with the Untouchable Crew. Her Brother was Master Don and the Def Committee. I’m trying to remember everyone that was down with the Herculords, because the Herculords was also the speakers [Herc’s sound system]. It started at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue and it was started by Herc’s sister, Cindy, so that’s the “Mother of Hip-Hop.” See, everyone knows the father, but they don’t know the mother of Hip-Hop. They were having a back to school party in August, ‘cause school started in September. So Herc brought his equipment outside and he did the unthinkable. He put some s**t together under a light pole. It got too crowded at 1520, so they went down the block to Sedgwick and Cedar, the park. That night, over 3,000 people came, and the game has changed ever since. What about MC’ing? Who was the prime original MC?Pee Wee Dance: I mean, you got Melle Mel who was the godfather of colorful rhymes. When Run-DMC ushered in the next wave, even though they had Jam Master Jay, it kinda began the spotlight being put on the MC’s rather than the DJ’s. How did the pioneers feel about that transition? Pee Wee Dance: I don’t know. You’d have to ask DMC and them about that. But motherf**kers need to stop trying to label everything. It’s too opinionated, you know? Hip-Hop taught me what love is, rap showed me what a thug is. Too mush “I” syndrome and not enough “Us” syndrome. ‘Cause it’s “us” that made Hip-Hop, not “I”, “I”,”I”. N***as need to respect what came before the How has Hip-Hop dealt with the rise of the rap industry? Hip-Hop teaches love, the industry promotes divisiveness.Pee Wee Dance: A lot of people can’t tell the difference right now. If you take the R the A and the P, you have Rap Artists Pretending. So people know it’s an act, it’s Hollywood, so people are attracted to it because it makes money. As a person who has been part of this Hip-Hop culture for over three decades, what has it given to you? Pee Wee Dance: Everything I got now. Care to elaborate?Pee Wee Dance: I don’t have to, n***as know. I don’t have to say no mo’, but I still will bless the flow. It is what it is. Ability not demonstrated remains unrecognized. N***as can still catch me in the club. See it’s a lotta hot n***as, but I still feel I’m the top n***a. I go where they at, but they don’t know where I Which MCs do you think still represent Hip-Hop today?Pee Wee Dance: I’m saying, Rakim, Common, Mos Def, Black Thought, Kweli, you know, Big L, Grandmaster Caz, and it goes on. I respect artists of today, but I also respect those that paved the way. Any time I spit something about Hip-Hop, it’s from the inception of it. I ain’t gonna try to cut nothing off or try to make something what it ain’t cause I’m from before the matrix. If cats want respect, they are going to have to give it. N***as gotta wake up, man. You biting motherf**kers s**t, you sh**tin’ on the old school, but at the same time, you want to be treated as an adult. Where are they coming from with that? What do you think about rap beef? How productive is it; how real is it? Pee Wee Dance: I don’t give a f**k about that, but I’ll still go with the winner. That’s n***a’s egos, they need to let that E…go! They ain’t about nothing. You have soldiers and suckas, live ones and jive ones. You got those that represent and those that repretend. Pioneers and Lyin’-eers. What’s your relationship to Kool Herc? Pee Wee Dance: I’m grown now, he taught me when I was a kid. Him, Bam, Flash, Theodore, Mean Gene, DJ Dee. Everybody that laid the foundation, cats like that. That’s the lineage. Hip-Hop forever.