With years of hard work, and plenty of dues paid, Roxrite has accomplished an endeavor most bboys have only dreamed about: becoming a Red Bull BC One Champion. Rox has been in the game for over 15 years, and in that time has become one of the few to remain consistent. Nonetheless he is one of the most respected in the game. Rox is known as the general and the scientist amongst the homies, and his track record proves it. When it comes to bboy competitions, there may not be anyone more accomplished and as strategic as him. Rox truly carries on tradition, as he’s also part of the legendary Renegade Rockers. Even though he is one of the most accomplished bboys in history, he remains as one of the most humble I know.
Lean: I remember the first time I met you in person; it was at Freestyle Session 8 on the Queen Mary. Renegades were killing it! I truly appreciated the style you guys had. All of you guys were hitting some crazy ass freezes and transitions. I hadn’t fully developed my style yet, but my style was very similar to yours and D-Rock’s style. As years passed by, I got the opportunity to travel to different continents and build with you more. I have been in the game for a long time, but I always learn something new around you. I totally embrace the friendship amongst you and the rest of the Squadron fam.
Lean: How was it growing up in the scene in the Bay Area? How were the jams when you first started attending them?
Rox: Well I actually grew up outside the city, a little over an hour north of the city. I’m going to start off there, when I first started coming up this was the only place I could battle which was only at parties and dances. I was too young to go to the city for events. I can say it was a secluded scene with influence obviously from the city and crews like Style Elements and Renegades. Overall though coming up in the North Bay was dope, you had a very competitive environment. No one really knew each other too well so it kept that spirit alive. I also remember that practices were very private. Each crew had their own space so crews didn’t practice at the same spots because you didn’t want them to know what you had. You wanted to come out and surprise them. Once learning some history of the bay and the crews that came out of there I felt like we had big shoes to fill and a heavy torch to carry… Side Walk Breakers, Renegades, Style Elements, and Rock Force. It just always preserved a place for creativity in the art of bboyin. BBoys had to be well rounded to hold themselves up in the scene there. You had to have some original concepts to stand out all while keeping it within bboyin. It was dope coming up in the bay. No place like it.
Lean: Your first crew was Sub-4, could you give us a brief history behind Sub-4?
Rox: Yea SUB-4 is the first crew I got down with. My first mentor Ground Level started it in 93. Ground Level was put on by Sha 1, who taught him a lot of things about bboying. He got involved with the Zulu Nation that same year so he had that Hip Hop mentality of preserving the culture. It stood for Straight Up BBoys 4 Elements of Hip Hop. It had a lot of clout where I was growing up. That was the crew that had the illest cats. They had that street cred. I got down with them through battling in 96. I battled one of their top guys and took him out. Then I battled the whole crew basically by myself they smoked me. That’s how we ended up linking up. From there the crew grew even more. At one point we had up to 16 members, not only bboys we also had DJ’s, writers/artists, and MCs. We were all pretty young except for Ground, he was little older so he kept us focused. We started making noise in Cali in 98 going to events outside our area and battling. Up until about 2000 when people’s priorities changed.
Lean: How did you become part of the Renegades? What does it mean to you to be a part of the legendary Renegades legacy?
Rox: I got down with Renegades through Politix and Wicket. They had seen me at events in the bay. At Bboy summit 2000, Politix saw me battle 2 guys by myself and after that he approached me about getting down. I had said no at first because I was just focusing on my crew Sub 4. For a few months I didn’t see him by mid-year my crew wasn’t as active as I wanted to be. Paul and I stayed in touch and eventually I linked up with them and started reppin’ the crew. To me it’s an honor to be a part of such legendary crew. I mean they’ve been around since the 80s and back then they had some hard hitters. Then you have the 90s generation with Jazzy J, Wicket, Sway, Manny Styles. I mean the list goes on. To be apart of that is major and on top of it to rep for a crew that’s from the same area I grew up at. Even doper!
Lean: I heard you were training with Ken Swift, could you explain how that was and what that meant to you?
Rox: Actually I never really got the full opportunity to train with Swift. Ever since I met him in 99 he was always very open to giving me pointers. I always took his pointers to heart and applied them to my dancing. I would hit him up through email for advice and he was always kind enough to get back to me and drop gems. Honestly it was just an honor to even have him get me tips. Such an inspiration.
Lean: When you decided to make bboyin your fulltime job, did you have a bunch of gigs lined up or was it something you just decided to do at a certain moment? Did your family support your decision?
Rox: Well actually I had a job until 2008. Before that I could of actually stopped working a job but I liked having a job and dancing. My job was easy so it was fun doing both. In 2008 I decided to finally give my full time to bboyin since it was something I felt I had always got held back on a bit, with school in my teens and then with work into my 20s. So in 2008 I decided to go full time on bboyin. I moved to Richmond and started off there. My family supported after they saw me traveling and making some money from it. Which was before I quit my job. When I decided to go fulltime at that point they had an idea on what I was doing so they weren’t as concerned as when I was younger.
Lean: Could you give some insight to the younger bboys about consistency?
Rox: Consistency is very important in bboyin. I think every legend in the game has remained pretty consistent in their approach, teaching and philosophies. This will always keep you true to who you are. It will show how well you keep up with your craft, in anything in life, even outside of bboyin. Throughout your career being consistent will help your longevity.
Lean: What do you love most about your traveling experiences?
Rox: I love traveling the world, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people and learning about their way of living. It’s like being educated about the world but hands on lessons.
Lean: Do you try to make it an effort to be a tourist when you go to different countries or is it strictly business?
Rox: I actually like being a tourist, haha I like taking pics and all that shit. You gotta enjoy it create memories that will last a lifetime. You will learn a lot of things from being a tourist.
Lean: Everyone talks about how Youtube has been the gift and curse of bboyin, but I remember it was a similar thing when peeps had their hands on VHS tapes. The scene is just bigger these days and more universal. Would you agree or no?
Rox: In one sense yea but in another no, the scene is bigger which is a whole new thing and it’s a good thing though. The thing that I feel was better with VHS is that not everyone got the same tapes. Some yea, some made it everywhere some didn’t. Some remained a mystery or a story that you could only imagine of seeing. With Youtube everything is there, I mean everything so in that sense I feel like it looses some aura to the stories that some of us grew up on. In a way it keeps that element of surprise in our culture dull. It’s almost like it’s taken for granted. Back then when you were handed a tape it wasn’t to copy people’s moves, it was for you to learn something about a style to understand what was dope and what wasn’t. That’s why cats had to develop some kind of style or move they can call their own. That’s a reason why I feel each region had their own style, because the knowledge was local not a universal internet that packages a bboy to be able to look dope. Before you had to understand the game to be dope. I can see how it does carry some similarities though for sure.
Lean: How far away are you from your 100 competition wins?
Rox: Right now I am 23 away! Gotta step it up! hahaha
Lean: I think for most of us it’s nearly impossible to retire from dancing, but do you think you will ever retire from competing?
Rox: Yea I don’t think I’ll ever stop bboyin, but I will retire from competition for sure just don’t know when.
Lean: I’m not sure how true it is, but I have heard you tell people not to take your workshop multiple times? If this is true, could you break down why?
Rox: Haha naw! I have told people not to if they feel it’s the same one they took the last time or if they feel they already developed some of the stuff I taught. I actually have 3 different types of workshops I teach for different levels of bboyin. Depends how developed people are in my class.
Lean: I feel like most of the times when I have won battles or competitions, I was just having fun. Do you think this is the best approach for battling? What is your approach?
Rox: Yea, you definitely still have to enjoy what you are doing so having fun is a good thing when battling. For me it is fun but I still take it serious not to the point where I’m gonna be an asshole but to where I’m having fun going at it with people. It sometimes feels like an aggressive experience though.
Lean: Not many know but your favorite music to break to is Latin Funk. Could you explain why and the significance of it with your ethnical background?
Rox: Yea it is actually and the reason is because of the music I grew up hearing my parents play. We’re Mexican so they bumped all kinds of Latin music… Cumbia, Salsa, you name it. I like the beats and instruments they use. It’s a thing of relation. That’s what I can relate to the most because of my background and how I grew up. Attending parties and hearing music there made me want to dance. So when I hear them at jams it’s dope to me. It connects with me.
Lean: What was the first thing that went through your mind when you won the BC One?
Rox: I was like, I did it, I finally did it! It was a feeling of excitement; it just felt incredible I felt like I won the super bowl. Haha I mean being a kid and always being into sports and watching football, basketball, baseball and all that… it felt like this was that stage for what we do. So it was something amazing.
Lean: Now that you won Red Bull BC One, do you plan on defending the title?
Rox: That’s something I have to think about haha I would love to, but we’ll see how I’m feeling in the next year!
Lean: Any last shout outs?
Rox: Shout out to my girl, my family, my boy Sauce, Kid David, Renegades, Biggest & Baddest, my SUB 4 homies, Red Bull BC One Allstars, and everyone else that are down with me! And thanks to you Lean for doing this interview and always being a real cat! Thanks man!
Lean: One love my brotha!
Be sure to check out Roxrite on these sites:
Red Bull Bc One Page: http://www.redbullbcone.com/roxrite