Breaks, Battles, and Beefs: 20 Years of Memories from the Furious Styles Crew

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Band of Brothers:

House: We already had Styles Upon Styles, we decided to eventually shorten it just "Styles Crew." So it was us three and then later on my younger brother came in, Odin Rock, and then two more brothers, Mike and Adam Cruz. So that was kind of the foundation for that first couple years of the Styles Crew where it was just packs of brothers. And then, little by little, it just kind of started growing from there.

Odin "Odin Rock" Magana, Furious Styles co-founder: The crew literally started out as a family. Three pairs of brothers. 'Til this day we carry the crew as a family because of the foundation it started with. We always took care of each other outside the dance world. We did everything together from practicing, parties, cruising, painting, paint ball, basketball, you name it, and we were all doing it together. The spot where the crew met any day of the week at all times was called "Head Quarters." This was the Rincon's house, a.k.a. Ugly/Life located on 59th Ave and Thomas.

No matter what was going on, you knew someone would be there playing games or practicing or just hanging out. Not only did the official crew build there but we also had goons/knuckle heads that would kick it with us there as well. All kinds of people going in and out of that house.

House: Because there were a lot of crews that had "Styles" in their name, we wanted to stand out, so we started calling it "Furious Styles Crew" instead. We were all about style and footwook and so we just sat around and brainstormed one day and just wrote down names and names and names and came up with Furious Styles Crew.

Growing the Scene:

House: We started adding more elements as time went on. In the early '90s, at that time there wasn't much of anything with graf art. Then some L.A. writers started moving in -- TWK Crew and there was another group DMS that formed. So at time there was graf... Caper started in the early '90s, there were a group of guys in Tempe that were out of the Style Rock shop and they were painting and breaking. So there was this little scene growing.

Back then, our rival crew here was a crew called Arizona Floor Assassins, which was a very power move-heavy crew. They were like the Air Force Crew from L.A. at that time. We emulated the Rocksteady [Crew] of the '90s from the East Coast. Everybody was a rival but they were the top crew.

Battles and More Battles:

House: There was also really small events back then but there really wasn't too many contests. Now, everyone is really friendly and nice, but back then you stuck to your crew and every other crew was a rival. That was it. And you just kind of hunted things out, like somebody would call you and would be like, "Yo there's these b-boys at Dairy Queen right now hanging out." And we would go hunt them down and battle them. Whatever, whenever.

Adam "Dumperfoo" Dumper, Blunt Club promoter/Furious Styles member: I was always in awe of Furious Styles Crew. They've always had some of the better dancers in Phoenix.

House: Furious Styles Crew came out of the Maryvale Area, 59th [Avenue] and Thomas was our headquarters. That was our block. That was our headquarters spot. And there was a church that had an open session night and Arizona Floor Assassins used to practice there. And we'd heard about it and would walk over there and just battle them and go home. Same thing at the clubs. There were no questions asked, there was no conversations had. If we were at a spot and somebody walked in, that was it. We were going to battle. We just threw down and moved on.

Run-Ins With the Law:

House: Graffiti-wise there was, especially in the mid-'90s when tag-banging started coming out in L.A., it was this hybrid between taggers and gang-bangers. In graffiti it's still an aggressive style and it's still that black sheep. It was very [contentious]. You get chin-checked for going over somebody's work. It was very close-connected with gang life. So that took a whole different twist to things.

B-boy-wise we ran into some stuff too. The '90s in general were very violent. At our headquarters spot, we had two, maybe not even drive-bys but walk-ups because were in a cul-de-sac. One time we were literately out there practicing and somebody walked up and shot up the crib. Luckily, no one got hit. But that happened a couple times. The Arizona Floor Assassins had people that were connected to local gangs as well. And everybody was really hungry at that time. Everybody was trying to come up, trying to make a name for themselves at that time. It got heavy sometimes.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.