Edson "House" Magaña has a pretty several days ahead of him. In fact, this is likely his busiest week of the year. Besides teaching his usual slate of dance classes at his school Cyphers: The Center for the Urban Arts in North Phoenix, the renowned Valley breakdancing maestro is helping put on six-day celebration the 19th anniversary of the Furious Styles Crew, the local b-boy and hip-hop culture collective he helped launch back in the early '90s.
And the annual celebration -- which consists of b-boy battles, pimp turntable sessions, and urban art events at multiple venues around the Metro Phoenix area, is kind of a big deal in the local hip-hop scene. And the same goes for the Furious Styles Crew.
At nearly two decades old, Furious Styles is the Valley's longest continuously running b-boy crew and its members, including Magaña, have been pulling off sick, slick, and stylish moves at countless hip-hop shows, dance battles, and urban arts events both locally and around Arizona. More importantly, they've served as major component of the local hip-hop landscape and have represented the Phoenix area at numerous b-boy competitions throughout the U.S.
Magaña says the FSC's members pull out all the stops for their yearly anniversary party and try to make it as grand as possible.
"It started out as a celebration for the [Furious Styles] crew and the anniversary of its founding, but its gone way beyond that," he says. "Now, at this point, it feels like its giant celebration of Arizona hip-hop culture. That's sort of why we're doing things for almost an entire week at all these different venues, because we want to include as much of Arizona hip-hop as we can."
Although its become a cornerstone of Phoenix hip-hop, Furious Styles started out in rather quiet fashion back in the summer of 1993 when Magaña hooked up with fellow dancers B-Boy Ugly and B-Boy Rehab. All three were residents of Maryvale neighborhood in West Phoenix who each had a background in b-boy dancing and breaking, as well as a mutual passion for graf art and hip-hop culture.
"We all started hanging out and doing graffiti together and we were asked by some other guys from Maryvale who wanted to start a crew and invited us to a practice. We weren't really feeling some of their ideas, they were kinda corny. As so the three of us decided to do our own thing with our own b-boy and graf crew. And that eventually became Furious Styles."
Fellow b-boys and graf-heads Odin Rock and Lawrence Rincon soon joined up with the trio, but they weren't the only ones to joint the FSC's ranks. According to Magaña, the crew's membership has swelled over the past two decades and now boasts more than 75 members throughout Arizona and California, as well as across America and even as far away as Europe.
Magaña says the weekend is not only serves as a way to mark Furious Styles' longevity but will also reunite its members from around the country, many of whom have been involved since the beginning.
"Not everybody will be here, obviously, since they're in Spain and Denmark," Magaña jokes. "Those cats won't be making it out, but we're expecting a lot of members coming from around California and Arizona."
Those who do make the trip to Phoenix will have plenty to keep them busy. While the biggest events making up the anniversary take place from Friday until Sunday, including multiple shindigs at Cyphers (natch), FSC-oriented parties will start taking place on later tonight.
To wit: The Monarch Theatre's weekly hip-hop/turntablism event Paid in Full will feature Furious Styles members busting out fly moves while local DJs like Biggie and M2 work the wheels of steel. Meanwhile, Thursday night's Blunt Club session at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe will serve as a pre-party of sorts and will offer performances by such visiting FSC collaborators as DJ Intel from Chicago and Dyps from California.
In addition to visiting turntablists and FSC members, Magaña says a variety of dancers representing b-boy crews from such locations as San Francisco, New Mexico, and Colorado will be in town for the celebrations, including the members of Las Vegas groups Knucklehead Zoo and Battle Born.
"We have probably crews from eight or nine different states coming out," Magaña says. "There's going to a lot of heavy hitters coming out."
Said visitors are certain to show off their stuff on Friday night during "Urban Sol" at Civic Space Park. In addition to a one-on-one breaking battle with a $200 cash prize, the outdoor event will feature the preliminary rounds of a two-on-two open style battle boasting a $300 cash prize. Later that night, the FSC's members will head to the Hidden House for a special hip-hop-oriented after-party.
The top eight b-boys who prevail on Friday will move on to the finals on Saturday at Cyphers during what Magaña says will be a massive all-day indoor/outdoor party at the school. A graf-art battle, a poppin' and lockin' competition, and three-on-three b-boy showdowns are also planned. After dark, however, another pimp after-party is planned at The Monarch.
The anniversary will then wrap up on Sunday at Cyphers with an afternoon filled with activities like a one-on-one footwork battle, a number of DJ performances, dance workshops, and grafitti demonstrations.
Magaña says that while he enjoys getting to reunite with other cats from the Furious Styles, one of the main goals of the anniversary is also to provide a chance for younger urban artists and b-boys to become familiar with the crew and its history, as well as help recruit and inspire potential future members.
"Its six days of celebrating hip-hop in Arizona. It definitely is a reunion for a lot of people, brings everyone out of the woodwork. It's a meeting of the generations where the old school mixes with the new school and is a chance to expose new people to a true hip-hop jam and inspire them."
The Furious Styles Crew's 19th Anniversary Celebration takes place from Wednesday through Sunday. Locations and times vary. See the FSC website for more details and the full schedule.
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