Cars, Hip-Hop, Hot Chicks

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Posted October 15, 2007 in Music

 Get ready, Killa4nia dance crew—the Supacrew is coming to stomp all over you. Or drive over you.

Or maybe it’ll be the other way around. Whatever happens, these two B-boy crews have been studying each other’s moves with the bracing intensity of Super Bowl teams readying for the big game. Sure, tremendous egos are at stake, but this competition is grounded in friendly street dancing rivalries. It’s also one of the main reasons for staging a huge party Saturday at Pomona Fairplex. 

Breakdancers are flying in from as far away as Texas for what’s being called Autocrave, Audiocrave or B-boycrave, depending on what you’re into most. Killa4nia dancer and sometime event organizer Lil Rock (born Eduardo Barragan) invited Supacrew to show off their best moves, but they wanted to kick it up beyond a simple street party (and without getting hassled by cops, natch), so they paired with a few other crews like Massive Monkeys, Angels of Death and the Zulu Kings, and hooked up with producers David Lieu (president of M1 Autobody shop in El Monte), Johnson Liv, Ryan Pieterz and Kingson Tse.

These guys were busy themselves, trying to figure out a way to put the sometimes square car brands of Detroit and Tokyo onto the radar screens of hip car club kids. They eventually concocted Autocrave, sort of a car rally on steroids, which is where the Audiocrave and B-boycrave parts coalesce into something mega: hip-hop, dancers, DJs, rappers, models, clothing labels, a bikini contest, tricked-out cars, and people who’d like nothing more than to be the next West Coast Customs. . . why yes, it does sound like a party, especially when you throw in performances from Dilated Peoples, the Shape Shifters, the Visionaries, Verbal Threat, LA Symphony, and a mess of others.

If Saturday’s fete goes well, Lieu and his friends hope to produce more Autocraves. Fortunately for them, we don’t live in a rabidly activist region. Global warming may indeed be bringing on one of the greatest cataclysms in natural history, Autocrave might not be the place to hold hands and talk about Armageddon, even for some of the event’s conscious hip-hop groups like the Visionaries.

The 12-year-old Long Beach act, with more than three full-length albums, has literally steered clear of car culture for most of their careers. Visonaries rapper LMNO has the rep of being a vegan. MC Key Kool would rather rhyme about justice than rims. Yet as befitting for the grandson of a Buddhist reverend, the 36-year-old Japanese American rapper refuses to condemn. “(The cars) give people a sense of pride. It’s their own way to express instead of gangbanging,” says Kool (born Kikuo Nishi).

Kool also car rallies have deep roots in Asian immigrant communities, as well as almost everywhere else in America. As long as he could remember, since before the 1970s, a bunch of guys would show up in their tricked-out cars at the downtown Los Angeles Japanese cultural festival Nissei Week. They weren’t there to take up concrete—they wanted to show off their rides and do some after-hours racing.

But Kool won’t hide his ethics for Saturday’s show. He hopes to bring his band’s message of justice and good beats to the Autocrave market. “Even if (members of the audience) just take interest, we may be changing their minds (about fossil fuels),” he says.

For Lil Rock, the real payoff of the B-boycrave performance means being able to shake up a dull moment with dancing. “Everybody knows that breakdancing brings another flavor,” he says. “It lights up the whole place.”

 

Autocrave/Audiocrave/B-boycrave at Pomona Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, (626) 442-3356; www.autocraveonline.com. Sat., noon-midnight. $20 presale, $25 day of event.


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