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Reviewed by Robert Gabriel, June 18, 2004, Music

B-Boy City 11

Alamo Drafthouse, June 11/ Montopolis Recreation Center, June 12/ Emo's, June 13
A hip-hop extravaganza of the highest order, B-Boy City 11 began with a screening of Charlie Ahearn's Wild Style at Alamo Drafthouse on Friday, continued with battle preliminaries at Montopolis Recreation Center on Saturday, and culminated with battle finals and artist showcases at Emo's on Sunday. As Arizona's DJ Element and Austin's DJ Baby G alternated between timeless funk breaks like "The Mexican" by Babe Ruth, golden-era rap classics such as "Raw" by Big Daddy Kane, and electro mainstays including "When I Hear Music" by Debbie Deb, the hundreds of B-boys and B-girls packed into Emo's gleaned inspiration from the indiscriminate vibe. While Austin's own Element single-handedly commandeered the MC battle and mic checks by fellow locals Global, Tee Double, Mirage, Traygod, and Shyliek helped intensify the room's energetic aura, the focus of the proceedings revolved around the dancing. From the eccentrics of the popping and locking contest to the mania of the crew-on-crew showdowns, there was no shortage of amazing moves and friendly one-upmanship. Trumping the sliding headstands of Seattle's Orb with aggressive uprocking, human pretzel demonstrations, and the ability to spring into the air off her forearm, California's Inkinetics quickly became a crowd favorite in the Micky and Mallory contest. After the mild upset of Goblin in the semis, Paranoid Android faced Lil John of Houston's Havikoro crew in the one-on-one, all-styles championship. If judges created a single case for controversy it was their finals choice of the Jive Turkeys from Dallas and San Antonio over an all-star cast of Austin breakers competing under the umbrella title of 512. Rounding out the finalists for the much-ballyhooed crew-on-crew title were Masters of Mayhem from McAllen, Vicious Germz from Houston, and the United squad out of Houston and Dallas. As complete and community-driven a hip-hop event as there is anywhere, B-Boy City, along with its organizer Romeo Navarro and an entire staff of devotees, deserves all sorts of credit for blessing us with such intriguing cultural purity.

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