Last night I was completely blown away by an event I found out about on Facebook, The Memphis Jookin vs. Turfin battle hosted by L.Y.E Academy.
If you have not been to a dance battle or any sort before, you are really missing out. Forget movies like “Step Up” and go see for yourself. The battle was held in a gym in East Memphis — about informal as you can get, but that’s what made it so exciting. Seeing an eclectic mix of people there with crazy fashions and dope hip hop music just made the vibe even more lit. Yes, I said the word “lit.”
A female DJ was there spinning urban mixes and remixes of some of the Mid-South’s thriving hip hop community. There were people of all ages at this event. In between the battles, people had the freedom to get up and dance and create their own moves if they wished, and boy was this a time to take our your phones and record. I first watched a mini group called M-town perform and the little boys had so much swag I was gagging. The intricate popping and locking was just intense as well as the jookin footwork. Photos don’t do any justice to the hot, sweaty, and revved vibe. People were killing it on the dance floor. I also met a young dancer named Markena Hughes who has been studying under Ladia Yates, the owner of L.Y.E. Academy, who was a beast when she moved and a beauty to watch. She mentioned her academy has been going since 2014 and that there were more battles to come.
Lastly, there was a battle between “Iso” from Los Angeles, CA and “Spider” from Memphis. What a sight to see. Iso did a lot more movement with his arms and did more floorwork, but his energy didn’t last as long as Spider. However in the second round, the Spider came out to attack. Real name Alexander, Spider came out and dropped on his knee. Then went on to bounce on his back 3 times! Three times, and the crowd just lost it. Although this was a battle, there was such support among the artists and I was so happy I got to see this. I just wished the event was held downtown or here in Midtown where more spectators could watch.