It's been just about 3 weeks since the Spirit of Hip Hop once again flowed through the small city of Banska Bystrica, in Slovakia. Just about 3 weeks since Breakers, Hip Hop culture heads, Poppers, Hip Hop freestyle dancers, DJs, hosts, judges, rappers, breaking fans and more once again gathered to share in the experience of Outbreak Europe, get down at the Legit Blast Summer Festival, and celebrate the life of David 'Mex One' Alvarado. And when everyone gathers the Spirit of Hip Hop rises, and possesses everything.
The Spirit swam through the air on the first night in the square, at the annual Haste La Muerte Anniversary. With Outbreak newbie's getting their first taste of that vibe. Outbreak Veterans reconnecting. Drinks and catch up chats by the fountain. Not being able to walk 5 feet without running into someone you have to stop and say what's up to. Spying those special friends you met at Outbreak and running to greet each other with tight hugs and smiles. The DJ van spilling out beats into the night, a Belgium B-girl successfully defending her SevenToDrunk title. Haste La Muerte crew getting down in matching shirts, concrete call outs, salsa and hustle, dancehall and rap, from outside to inside, until the end of the party, when everyone made their way back to their beds, primed and excited for the actual first day coming.
This year the Spirit took up residence in a new home. It traded the Mall for natural open space, and concrete for grass. It gave up the basketball courts and replaced them with a swimming pool, which inspired everyone on the second day to put battles and competition aside, strip off sneakers, caps and all other breaking clothes, in exchange for swimming shorts and bikinis. And for 3 hours the Spirit played diving game, got it's hair wet and caught up in the rhythm of splashing and strokes, sun bathed and indulged in mischievous pool antics, escaping into the cool water, as the sun beat down and a DJ fed the summer day tracks.
The Ministry of Fun club was traded in for a warehouse hanger in which the heat became a force testing everyone's endurance every time they hit the floor to get down. Breakers stood in front of the large fans to stay cool and hung their sweat drenched t-shirt in front of them to dry them off. But the Spirit of Hip Hop was born in a place that knew hot days and summer heat well, and unfazed it filled the new venue with even more cyphers. It mingled in and excited the crowd, who stood on steps, chairs and platforms, eager to watch the crazy dope Outbreak battles that always go down.
And with the Spirit calling the competitors to arms, the DJs invoked it even more through the power of their music, the hosts gave it a voice, urging the crowd to roar while calling out legends to take to the floor. And the Breakers gave it physical form in their expressions of style, personality and creative movement.
The Spirit expanded this year with the added styles of Popping and Hip Hop Freestyle, bringing a new flava to the Outbreak experience.
And when injury got in the way of the final solo battle, the Spirit was shown in a humble speech and a declaration of togetherness, spoken from the heart, which got just as much applause as any battle might have.
The Spirit decorated the walls with 15 years of Outbreak memories, and snapshots from the life of the man who created and inspired all that existed at that moment. It once again paid tribute to the man who embodied it to the fullest, and rejoiced in his memory.
And like each year, when the battles were finally over, the after party celebrations began! The night was lit up by the outdoor stage. Act after act spat lyrical fire. DJ's went on a hip hop music rampage of classic tracks.
And then the "Bum stiggedy bum stiggedy bum" of Das EFX made the power of the Spirit even more intense and overwhelming throughout the gathered energy of the crowd! We all know that the Spirit of Hip Hop is a child of music, born, raised and fueled by rhythm. And with the Spirit filling everyone, even when the concert was done, the party and celebrations continued until the sun came up.
And on the final day the Spirit rose in the afternoon and formed armies made up of country men and women, who went to war in the depths of the club known as the Urban Spot, finishing on the Outbreak tradition of everyone putting crew names aside to represent under one flag, proud, strong and full of country pride, with the proudest once again being the French.
And after the war the Spirit eased into the final celebration of the weekend, with everyone having their final drinks, the DJs spinning their final tracks, and an Outbreak birthday cake brought in for anyone wanting a slice. But when the final party ended, and the Urban Spot closed, a few still made their way to the square, still full of things to chat about and share, connecting so late into the night that even the moon went to bed before they did.
And that was it, another Outbreak over, more stories, connections, and memories made, as the Spirit slowly started to leave in the many ways in which it came. But the Spirit never truly leaves, as it moves with us where ever we go, ready to grow and become stronger whenever and where ever we gather. I think it's why events like Outbreak are so important. Why people travel from all over the world just to have that experience, time and time again. Outbreak is one of the jams at which we gather and collectively keep the Spirit of Hip Hop alive. And by keeping that Spirit alive we keep the memory of Mex One alive... we keep the memory of the Incredible Breaker, B-boy Float, alive.
And that's not to say that Outbreak is the only one that does this. From IBE to Freestyle Session, from UK B-boy Championships, United Styles, Yalta Summer Jam, Catch the Flava, the Universal Concrete Jam, Battle of the Year and so many more, we are blessed to be able to gather all around the world, and feel the Spirit of Hip Hop alive within us, shared between us, and always connecting us.
Keeping the Spirit of Hip Hop alive is why I write these stories. It's why I talk about the vibe, the parties, the moments, the people, the friendships made, the late night chats, the battles, the antics, the craziness, the DJs, the hosts, the music, the adventures, the stories, the memories and so much more.
They are all a part of keeping the Spirit of Hip Hop alive, and Outbreak Europe blesses everyone with the part that it plays every year!
Love, Peace, Thanks and Hip Hop once again to MG, MK, their whole team, and to all the other events keeping the Spirit of Hip Hop alive.
The Vivid Scribe
B-Boy Manny Soul Mavericks crew
Photos by: Vladimir Lorinc, Little Shao, Slavo Samuelčík, Alexey Suzdalev