The Essence of It All

Let me set the scene for you…..

We’ll say late 1980’s, say 1988. Around the time of the D.A.I.S.Y Age. Remember that? You’re at a house party or hooky party or something, looking all afro-centric. You got the Africa medallion around your neck, some loose fittin’ pants, a crazy ugly jungle shirt and either you got the high top fade a.k.a flat-top or you began twisting that joint. You’re rocking those thick soled black shoes and somewhere on you, either your belt or one your shoes, you have this…vw.jpg

Somebody you know banged that joint off someone’s car the two nights ago and sold it to you, so you’re rocking it…….

Everyone’s dancing, having fun drinking, the music is banging…….

The DJ or the person acting like the DJ who’s really sitting by the tape recorder or boom box, flips the tape over to side B and the speakers start bumping….

You hear the floor shaking. People are going for it. Then it happens……

A circle forms. The arena is here. The stage is set. It’s time for you to show what you got.

Time to Battle.

Remember that?

People would get in the middle of the circle, show their skills, their moves and just go for it. Skills. Battling.

Two streets crews would get it on at the Roxy. Breakdancing. BVD vs. Rocksteady. FAP anyone? Airbrushed sweatshirts and Lee jackets. Felt letters on their baseball caps. Name belts from the Flea market. Suede kicks.


You get in that circle and show your skills. Somebody starts beat boxing, and you spit. You didn’t have to be a rhyming expert, you just had to rhyme…

Weelllllll, my name is Fresh, and I’m one of the best,

Not like the rest, I dress to impress

And in school I pass all the tests….Rrrrrrr-ahhhhh.

That circle introduced you to the world. Showed you had skills. The battle was where you earned your respect. Where other people labeled you as the best or as we used to say it “NICE or DOPE”.

And yeah our parents would ask what the hell we were doing but they wouldn’t try and break up the circle. The circle broke itself up when the battle was done.

Form a circle nowadays and it’s rare someone is dancing in the middle. They’re fighting. Exchanging blows and that’s if they’re using their hands. Long gone are the days where the dookey earrings came off and the vaseline went on in excessive amounts on the face. Now, even the girls are carrying weapons.

These kids nowadays (not all, some) would not last a minute in a battle. If I told them “your mama so dumb she got stabbed in a shootout” – there might actually be a shootout. They take things personal. Rappers don’t battle. They beef with these bullshit bang bang shoot’em, I got bitches, I got hoes, I got money, watch my rims spin lyrics. They are self proclaimed egotistical idiots. But when the rims stop spinning, then what?

It’s wishful thinking. It’s a pipe dream but I want to go back to the Essence of it All.

“Leave your nines at home and bring your skills to the battle…..”


~ by alwaysfunkyfresh on October 16, 2007.

12 Responses to “The Essence of It All”

  1. Funky Fresh dressed to impress ready to party
    Money in your pocket, dying to move your body
    To get inside you paid the whole ten dollars
    Scotch taped with a razor blade taped to your collar
    Leave the guns and the crack and the knives alone
    MC Lyte’s on the microphone
    Bum rushin and crushin, snatchin and taxin
    I cram to understand why brother’s don’t be maxin
    There’s only one disco, they’ll close one more
    You ain’t guarding the door so what you got a gun for?
    Do you rob the rich and give to the poor?
    Yo Daddy-O, school em some more…

    Those were the days Homie! I was the only female lyricist in my block and Lyte and Latifah were my idols. I could never break dance though…I was too cute for that shyt LOL! But I loved to watch the battles. In Jersey it was the AC Night Rockers -vs- the BRocka Crew LOL!!! There battles use to be classic. And I remember going to block parties in Philly where Jazzy Jeff would be Dj’ing (before he was anyone of significance). Just regular people having regular fun. Fights were fights and not death matches…I miss those days, the innocence and the creativity all melded together. Dayum this was a good post Fresh!!! But I still HATE YOU LOL!!

  2. Son.. why did MY DAUGHTER just say some similar shyt!!! Yoooo I was that break dancing chick doe.. LOL .. My daughter said they had a BATTLE at da dance & skating rink.. wait she used some other term not battle.. anywhoo.. SOME of them with ole skool parents like us ARE taking it back to the battle.. BUT if we ain’t careful it might roll up into a unnecessary gunfight… Can you take me back to the essence too..

  3. Name belts at the flea market….Glenwood baby!

    Yes, those were the days. When there was a fight, it was an actual fistfight. Guns and weapons are for cowards.

    And the Jungle Brothers? What chu know bout “Girl, I’ll house you…you in MY hut now.” Those were the heydays of 1969. LOL

  4. Oh shit Fresh, you done did it. I saw your F-R-E-S-H, the other day and cracked up. THAT was the Essence. When every one wanted to be fresh and new.

    My lil cuz had a b’day party last month and the kids were battling. It was pretty impressive. I’m thinking, like BK, a lot of the kids have parents inspired by ‘the essence’.

    19, I remember the flea market! My mom wasn’t hearing the name belts! LOL. But I’ll House U was IT! I love me some Afrika.

    Great post, Fresh. Seriously. Great post.

  5. “Say what? House music ALL NIGHT LONG…”

  6. Wow. I can dig it – nostalgic! I felt like I was watching a cipher reading that, nice!

  7. OMG…..ok i am so missing the days of seeing little girls being little girls playing double dutch or watching the boys battling lyrically or seeing who had the illest suicide/backspin..then….i was also out there trying to break dance with my big brother and adding “Lady” to my name when I was rhyming….

    thanks for the memories….

  8. so fun. makes me feel like i wasn’t a child when you were doin all this stuff.

  9. Oh how I remember those battling days! LOL My younger brother used to battle ALOT. I had a really close friend that had a “crew” and they would go around battling. LOL Good times back then.

  10. Ok so who was sneaking up in Bentley’s and jammin to Break 4 Love and Black Betty??? Ya’ll know ya’ll wit me!!!

  11. Did you say Bentley’s?!?!? Yoooo……damnnnnnn…..Break for Love was porn on wax….HAHAHAHAH

  12. Whats the name of the song with “Funky fresh dressed to impress ready to party” in it…

    My dad used to always sing that lil verse and i always wanted to know what song it is. Kinda ironic i found this forum-y thingy cause im lookin to take breakdancin classes =-p

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