Euro Tour Vol. 2 Wrap up
This last Euro Tour was nothing short of amazing. So amazing, that I had to write about it. Here is the journey from start to end….. I packed my luggage and set off for Logan Airport. My cousin El Nino picked me up in Boston, and brought me to the airport. I got to the airport, and the vibe just didn’t seem right. At the bat, I could tell the lady at the ticket counter was rude. My prediction was right! She refused to give me my ticket because of the condition of my passport. She even wanted to me show her my returning ticket back to the states, and I had to prove that I had it on a different airline. I thought it was really out of hand, but I ended up taking care of the situation. I showed them everything they needed and they finally printed out my ticket. We could all move on with our lives now, and I just hit her off with a nice big smile. I boarded my flight, and went straight to sleep. I flew to NYC, Warsaw, and finally landed in Vilnius after 12 hours. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining, and I didn’t feel jet-lagged. I don’t think I have ever imagined in being in Lithuania, let alone for hip hop. Bboy Pluto and Niek (Just Do It) arrived nearly at the same time as me, so we all got picked up at the same time. We went directly to the hotel to freshen up. Then we went off to eat lunch at this place called “Soul Box”. I ordered chicken tempura and potato wedges, as well as some ice cream and apple pie. I refrained myself from having any beer while everyone else had a beer from what I remember (even though the beer in Europe is much better than the beer in the states). Mr. And 7 and his girl met up with us not to long after. He was telling us how he walked 6 hours around the city looking for records. I’m not sure if I would walk 6 hours for records anymore haha. At least he came up on some goodies. After lunch, Niek and I decided to run around town with the promoter Laurynas. He showed us the center and brought us to the prejam outside session, where a bunch of dancers were getting down. We checked that out for a bit, but I could only watch it for so long. I felt the urge to get down but I was injured. I had hurt my ankle just about 2 weeks before, so I wasn’t trying to dance at all. There was just too much temptation, so I had to left quickly. Niek came along and we walked further into the city. Niek wanted more ice cream, so we stopped at this spot where they were serving all types of sweets. I guess during the time of our stay there was a Lithuanian Folk Festival going on in the center of Vilnius. At the center, we saw a bunch people singing traditional Lithuanian folk music, bbqing, and people Poi dancing (people that spin with fire). I never thought of poi dancing being a part of Lithuanian tradition. On our way back to the hotel, we actually ran into some people that were Lindy Hopping at this park. I thought was extremely dope. I was quite surprised to see that Lindy Hopping would be thriving anywhere. There was an older guy and younger lady that were killing it. So Niek and I watched them for a while in awe. Quite honestly I don’t think I have ever seen people lindy hop in person. It started getting a little late, but I didn’t even notice since the sun was out at 10 pm. Niek and I wanted to go out to check out the night life, and have some drinks. We went back to the hotel to freshen up, and to dress warmer since it got cooler at night. Niek and I went back to the center for some drinks. We went to a few bars, and it started to get pretty live. We didn’t really hear any hip hop being played anywhere, so we hit up this small bar where they were playing some decent house music. We chilled there for a bit, and were almost tempted to hit some more spots. We both decided to head back to the hotel because we had to wake up early for the jam the next day. I got back to the hotel, and I barely slept. The jet lag was in full effect!
The next day was the start of Urban Essentials. I missed out on breakfast, and I was feeling a little grumpy about it. For some reason I thought breakfast was from 6 am to 9 am. I guess it was from 7 am to 11 am. We had to be at the venue at 12 pm, so I my day started off with some red bull and water. I felt exhausted and still grumpy. I couldn’t let it get the best of me though, so I changed my attitude. Mr. And 7 was getting things ready and setting the vibe right for the dancers. This was the first time I had spun for any hip hop stand up battle. It was new territory to me, so I was a little nervous. There was a lot of local talent in the building, and a lot of new faces. The battles had started, and I took over on the tables. I was anxious to see how people reacted towards the stuff I played, but people ended up really feeling it. I had no idea my headnod mixes were popular in Lithuania, until one of the dancers came up to me and told me. There were some house dance battles in between that Mr. And 7 spun for. We both took turns on the hip hop stand up battles, and things turned out pretty well. Dancers were feeling it, and doing their thing. The dance scene is quite underground in Vilnius at the moment, so I apologize if I don’t remember anyone’s name. The bboy battles had started, and one of the monitors started going out. I got a little frustrated with it, because I couldn’t really pay full attention to the battles. In some of the prelim battles I was fixing wires and mixing at the same time. We ended up fixing the monitor right before the top 8, so everything worked out. Around this same time, Paulskee finally made it to the jam. I guess he had issues with flight delays and flight cancellations. It was dope of him to still make it out there after a hell of a travel. He made it right on time for a quick bboy cypher. Paul, Niek, Pluto, and some others were getting busy. I felt tempted to get down again, but I knew that wasn’t the brightest idea. So I didn’t. Mr. And 7 was getting it in on the doubles and dropping some gems I never heard (which is always motivation for me to get on my shit). The battles started up again, and everyone went back to their duties. It just seemed like all the battles flew by, because I barely remember anything that happened. The event was nearly at its end, and I was starving at this point. Judges did their showcase, and the battles finished. I don’t remember who the winners were, but the vibe was dope. (I apologize once again). We went back to Soul Box for dinner before the after party. We all sat down and built for a little. Most of us were excited to get our party on! And it sure ended up turning into a party! The drinks were going and flowing! And most importantly the people were dancing. I’m not going to front but I wasn’t too happy with my first set. I knew I had redeem myself with my second set. Mr. And 7 and I ended up going back and forth on the reggae/dancehall, which the party went crazy for. We got news that the party would end whenever we wanted it to end. Little by little people were getting too tired to keep up, and started leaving. I was still on east coast time so it felt like the beginning of the night. I decided I would stay and dj until it was time for breakfast, haha. It was maybe about 7 am, and I decided that it was enough. The people at the bar to arrange a cab ride back to the hotel. I got back to the hotel, and met up with Paulskee for breakfast. I had to go to the ticket counter like 3 times, because my card for the room wasn’t working… Fail! Laurynas was waiting for me in the lobby to take me to the airport. I was very impressed by his professionalism and how he worked everything out, since it was his very first event he threw. Thanks again to Laurynas for making it happen!
I got no sleep from the night before, so I was on straight zombie mode at the airport! I flew to Latvia for a layover (Seems like a beautiful country). Then I flew directly to Zurich, Switzerland. I arrived maybe after an hour or so. Olivia picked me up from the airport, and we dropped all my luggage off at her spot. (For those of you that don’t know Olivia.. she is responsible for putting together the Breakthrough Festival and United Styles Europe.) Shortly after, Mercy and I went off to go meet with the homie Salesh. He was playing ball with some homies. I tried shooting the ball a little but I almost injured myself again so I chilled. After a little bball, we went to Salesh’s crib to go bbq some food. I felt dead tired! I needed to sleep! So I slept for a few hours, while Salesh and Mercy played Fifa and watched movies. We ate some food, and watched a flick then headed back to Olivia’s crib. I went straight to sleep as soon as I woke up. I woke up the next morning, and went off to the city with Olivia. We ate at this spot called Hiltl, which is a really dope Vegan restaurant. (The oldest Vegan restaurant in Europe!) Not too long after, we met up with Nicole and Flying Buddah. Then we set off to chill at Dynamo. Dynamo is the legendary practice spot in Zurich, where bboys from all over Europe have been training for years. I had no idea it was holiday, and I had no idea there was a big party going on out there. It was almost like a rave out there. We were chillen with a bunch of the Ghost Rockz guys, and we all decided to check out the party. It was a bit too crazy though, and it looked like a bunch of people were on drugs. So we went back to our spot at Dynamo and bbq’ed. Olivia came back just right when things started to fizzle down. So we all headed back home to get some rest. The next day Olivia took me to the truth spot, where she always met up (with one of favorite people on the planet) Rebecca! The spot is like a little shop you would go to in Bangkok. The food was amazing, but definitely spicy as hell! Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the spot, but you guys will just know it as the truth spot. The food they make melts in my mouth! So I pretty much ate there for lunch every day. Right after we had some of the truth, we went to Sprunglis to get some luxembourgli. I’m not the biggest fan or chocolate or sweets (besides gummy bears and Swiss Chocolate), but goddamn this luxembourgli is something else. I’m definitely addicted to both since the trip. A few hours later Nicole invited Olivia and I to come chill and eat with Ronnie, Lil G, and some others. We went over there for a bit for some food and beer. Earlier in that day I was telling Olivia how much I loved her Nike Blazers she had on. They were some of the illest I had seen! While we were at the table I was talking to Ronnie, and all of a sudden I knocked over this big ass cup of beer all over her shoes LOL! Everything happened in slow motion. It ruined the vibe a little, and I don’t think she has been that happy with me since LOL! We went back to Olivia’s spot, and I made plans with Salesh to go out and party. Salesh and his girl took me to some club called Kaufleuten. Salesh was telling me that it probably wasn’t going to be all that tonight, but we’ll see what’s up. We get there, and the music sounds pretty good. Then right before we get in the club I hear the dj playing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song LOL We enjoyed as much of it as we could. Until it really started to go down hill, so of course we left for some Kebabs.
The next day it was pretty much the same routine. Olivia and I headed out to the truth spot again. Not long after, Rebecca met up with us for lunch. We ate for a bit, and waited for Rebecca’s sister to drop off her daughter Shaynah. Shaynah is a trip! There was no way I couldn’t include her in this! One of the funniest little girls I have ever met. Not long after that we all met up, we went to go get some Luxemburgli. It was pretty much a wrap after that. We were all like little kids running around the streets of Zurich. We chilled by the lake and played around for a bit. It was a beautiful day out, so it was so needed. Shortly after, I had to leave to do some press for Nothing but Flavor for some Swiss Channel called Joiz TV. Nicole picked me up along with Lil G, Caleaf, and Rossy. At the TV station we met up with Crazy and Richi. I think we were all kind of confused to what was going on, but I guess the show is totally on the freestyle tip. Like whatever happens.. happens! We made the best of the situation, and we all started acting like fools. Especially Crazy and I! We were pretty much yelling and dancing obnoxiously. I think all dancers have ADHD! We all started doing the Carlton, and they gave us the epic Carlton theme music for our intro. That was pretty dope! LOL I had no clue to what was going on during the interview, so I just sat there and made faces behind Richi LOL They were speaking in Swiss German for most of the interview. Caleaf and Lil G did two short showcases, and sooner or later our time at the station was over. Not long after we met up with Olivia. Then Rossy, Caleaf, Olivia and I went to get some thai food for a bit. (I ate thai food almot every day on the trip). Olivia and I headed back to her spot, and waited for Rebecca to pick me up to go out again. Rebecca came with her friend Anita, and we stopped at this club called Mascotte. It was like electro house night, so I could only take so much of that. We ended up on another journey to find some coca cola. We headed to Langstrasse to see what was going on. So we bumped into a bunch of Rebecca’s architect friends, and went to another party. The music was awful but we made the best out of it. By the end of the night, I needed to go home. And I needed some food and sleep quick LOL
Lil G on Joiz TV - Video from the TV show
It was my last day of being a tourist… the next day I had to leave to another city called Biel. The Nothing But Flavor Festival was taking place there, and I would be working every day. We started our day off at the truth spot again, because that’s what we do in Zurich lol. After eating another delicious meal, I wanted to get a haircut. Rossy picked me up and took me to her boy KD to cut my hair. I was a bit nervous about it first, because it’s not easy to find someone that knows how to cut your hair right especially overseas. I think I might have seen some of the worst haircuts ever in Europe LOL We were there for a minute, and the dude did a lot better than I expected. I felt fresh again! Not too long after Mercy and I left to Dynamo to practice for a little. It was the first time I had thrown down in nearly 3 weeks, so I was being very cautious about my movement. Ronnie just finished his workshop, so we started throwing down a little. Ob One had brought his set up just on time for me to stop dancing. I was already at my limit with breaking, so I jumped on the wheels real quick. I probably spun just for like 20 minutes, and chilled out again. After the session was over, we were invited to some magazine party. Ronnie and I got some food real quick, and headed out to the party. We thought it was a Red Bull party at first, but it ended up just being some magazine party. My friend Michele came through with her friend, and we were all dancing.. trying our best to have fun. That was probably the most interesting and weirdest party I had been to in a while. I really don’t know what was going on, but I started getting my Nasty Ray on LMAO Rebecca showed up late with only 10 minutes left, and Ronnie headed back to his hotel. We went to Mascotte right after to party some more for like 10 minutes. At this point everyone was tired as hell except for me. So everyone went back home to rest up.
The next morning I headed out to Biel with Olivia. As soon as we go to Biel, we had to go watch Teki Tekua rehearse their piece for the theater show we had next week. They needed me to facilitate their music for their piece in the show, so it was important to watch what they had ready. Teki Tekua is definitely some of the most dedicated and most inspiring group of girls I have ever met. They are serious about their biz, just google them! After the rehearsal, I checked into my hotel and walked around the city for a bit. I ran into Ness, Javier Ninja, MK, Caleaf, and a bunch of other peeps. We chilled at the hotel for a bit, and decided that we would head to the preparty. Piggo gave us a ride to the preparty, and of course we ended up getting lost thanks to me LOL I thought I knew I knew the city since it was so small, but I guess I didn’t. We ran into Foxhound and a couple other heads. He told us that the preparty had actually just finished. I thought we were going to head back to the hotel, but Foxhound actually ended up bringing us to this club instead. The club was the same club where the afterparty would be the next day. We chilled in there for a bit. Tony McGregor, Shannon, Caleaf, and Javier Ninja were doing their thing… dancing the night away. As a matter of fact, my dude Shannon never stops dancing… He will out dance just about everyone I know! LOL Javier Ninja was killllling it too! Everyone was talking about how this dude was an incredible vouger, but he isn’t just that…. this dude is an incredible dancer! I was very impressed! Ness and most of the peeps left the club after awhile. The homie Ash and I stayed a little longer. Just a couple minutes after everyone started leaving Flying Buddah, Hill, and Loni showed up to the club. They immediately started bboying and created a cypher. Some guy started pushing all the bboys while they were dancing, but all the bboys kept dancing as if the guy wasn’t even there LOL That was pretty crazy but funny! I jumped in one time real quick, but then someone stole my hat. It started getting a little rowdy in there, so that was my queue to leave the club. I headed back to my hotel room to get some rest, in which I didn’t at all.
The next morning I had to wake up early to spin for the kid’s battle. I was pretty much dead, and didn’t want to do anything at this point. I got to the venue, and the auditorium started filling up with kids. It was probably the most kids I have ever seen at any bboy event. (Switzerland takes the cake for having the most kids that break in any place that I have been). They had two 1 on 1 battles and a crew battle. It took awhile to get through with, and I was really tired after the work was done. I headed back to my hotel to drop off my bags. I thought I would be able to take a nap, but the red bull started kicking in. I pretty much walked the whole city trying to find the venue. I got lost in Biel again, which again is a pretty small city. So I found my way back to the hotel, and got a map to find the venue. I got to the venue, and couldn’t stand in one place. I was all jittery and full of red bull LOL I watched some of the prelims of the popping battles, and cracked jokes with Renegade. They started the semi finals of the house, vouging, hip hop stand up, popping, and wacking battles. I watched those for a while, and my good friend Michele aka Paleta aka Mrs. Poster Girl actually ended up taking the vouging battle. Congrats to her! They started the Red Bull BC One Switzerland cypher right after those battles were done. Some kid named Yu-Seng ended up winning, congrats to him! Now it was time for the afterparty and time to spin for the afterparty. I was chillen out with Blanka and Ash, two wild guys! We bought a bottle of champagne to start the night. Foxhound started it off with some Soulful House, so I left off where he ended. I don’t usually play too much house, but I played just enough to get by LOL. I think most peeps were surprised that I could even play house. I knew my limits though, so I switched into some feel good hip hop. The club started to get crackin, and it started to get packed. Everybody was dancing, and having a good time. I did my thing for a bit, and then Renegade jumped on the tables. I bought another bottle of champagne for Rebecca since it was her bday. She refused, so we celebrated Ronnie’s last night in Switzerland LOL I jumped back on the tables and played a little more house, and then a quick soul set. I didn’t know I had to spin again, but I got on for a little. Foxhound got back on the tables, and took control of the party. Next thing you know the party ended and we all headed back to the hotel.
It was the final day of Nothing but Flavor, and we were worn out from all the partying. It would be the longest day for me, because I had to spin for most of the event since Renegade had to leave a little early. The venue (Coupole) was so dope though! It felt just so HIP HOP! Storm and some others were telling us that this venue “Coupole” was like the mecca of European bboying in the late 80s/early 90s. It was the same venue for the first Red Bull BC One. I could just feel the energy in the building, so I had to bring the heat. They just started the battles for the Freestyle Session qualifier, everyone was on point, but the crowd seemed tired LOL Trix and Mario Bee had to wake them up, or else the vibe would die down. Battles started getting heated, and that sparked me to hit them over the head even harder. One of the highlight battles of that night was definitely Hustle Kids vs Top Side Dogs. My homie Xisco was killing it all night, in my opinion MVP for the night. It wasn’t enough though, because Top Side Dogs would prevail. After the semi finals of the Fresstyle Session qualifier, they started the Octogon. There may have only been 3 bboys to hit any of the cones during the whole battle (which is really incredible). It Heads weren’t any doing easy shit either. Peeps were saying that it was one of the most memorable Octogon’s to ever go down. Blanka ended up taking the Octogon title with ease. After the Octogon was finished they started the final battle of the Freestyle Session qualifier. I could feel some tension between Zulu Kosher and Top Side Dogs. And Boyyyyyy was I right! I think this was one of the few times this year I have seen a competition battle turn into a real battle this year. Tempers were flaring and there definitely was a lot of trash talking. So after the competition was over, Ness got on the mic and let them know that they still needed to settle their score if they were going to act up…. so things could cool down a little. I dropped Ante Up and Nas “Nasty” to make things interesting again, but then it just became too much. Top Side Dogs ended up taking the battle, and Nothing but Flavor was officially over. I headed back to Zurich after the event was over.
The next day Ivan was came into town, and we all had to prepare for him LOL Ivan is full of energy, he has more energy than anyone I know. We had theater rehearsals for the show “Fusion”. (which is a show about fusing Urban and Modern dance together). We were at the theater for a few hours, and started putting the show with Sacha (an incredible guitarist) and Donny (an incredible tap dancer). We got a decent amount of work done that day, but we still had a long way to go. After rehearsals we spent some time roaming the city of Zurich with Ivan. Ivan and I have known each other for 14 years now, so it’s like family. I think we were probably getting on Rebecca and Olivia’s nerves, because we didn’t stop talking for hour’s haha. Shortly after I met up with some troublemaker and we went out for some food at Hiltl (the oldest vegetarian restaurants in Europe). I’m no Vegetarian, but the food there was delicious! I went back home to rest up for an early day of rehearsal. I was more than tired, so I drank about 5 coffees. I barely made it through rehearsals without almost falling asleep even after 5 coffees. More of the people that were in the show started showing up, and next thing you know rehearsals were over. Olivia, Rebecca, Ivan, and myself went back into town to eat some traditional Swiss food. That didn’t work out so we ended up just going to some other spot where they served all types of food. We were all so tired, but Ivan and I said screw it we are going to the club tonight. Everyone knows how Ivan gets down at the club LOL So Rebecca took Ivan and I to Kaufleuten. Ivan set it off and got the club going. He was on the dance floor, and it turned into a bunch of vultures trying to eat away at their prey LOL Rebecca and I just watched in amusement and laughter. Ivan had on his sunglasses, and looked like a straight cholo. We left after a few hours, and went home to get some more rest. The next day we got to rest in for the morning. All we had on schedule for that day was to go see Teki Tekua rehearse their piece. So we watched them for a bit, and were amazed on how much they had completed since the last time we had seen the piece. Their piece was looking incredible, and shocked us all. Ivan was in awe, and gave them the nicest speech ever. After their rehearsal was done, I don’t remember what happened. So I will just fast-forward to what I do remember from the trip. The next day my dad, Colleen, and Pookie flew into town. I had to spend the whole day in the theater so I didn’t spend any time with them. We worked on the lighting and Teki Tekua’s piece for most of the day. I just worked on my scratching during the down time. I had the easiest yet hardest job in the show. It was easy because I didn’t do much physically. It was also the hardest because it was probably one of the most stressful. I had to deal with everyone… you know. That day we were at the theater from 12 pm to 12 am, so by the end of that day I hated everyone LOL jk
The next day was show day… We were all happy and anxious, because now we were performing the first show. Our first performance was for a bunch of kids, and the show actually came out pretty well. The kids really loved it! The second show came along, and the show came out even better. We only had one more show left! It was another day at the theater for a whole day. I didn’t mind it as much this time though. The next day was the start of United Styles Europe, and the last day for “Fusion”. We got to the venue, and Satches was on the tables doing his thing. The venue was packed full of kids. Again Switzerland probably has the most kids that break. I thought that was really a beautiful thing. Since most people forget that this culture starts with the kids. They started the prelims of United Styles, and I spun for most of the prelims. Prada G came through with Deep Trip, (no one even knew that he would be in town). My time was cut short though, because I had to leave back to the theater for the final show. It was the last time we would all work with each other for maybe another year, so the emotions were a little high LOL After all, the show ended up coming out great. We received a standing ovation, and I would say this experience changed my whole outlook on theater.
The next day was the last day of United Styles Europe, and pretty much my last day in Zurich. We had to finish up the Dirty 30s and the Top 16 of United Styles. It was the first time I got to meet and spin with Woodo (whom was an inspiration in my early years of spinning), so that was an honor for me. There was some really dope band that came in and was killing shit during the cyphers too. One of the best bands I have ever heard at any bboy jam. Not sure of what there name was, but they should be at every jam. The Dirty 30s and United Styles Europes battles were really hype. (Some of the highlights being Deep Trip vs Licensed to Chill, Buz making it to the finals of the Dirty 30, Crazy killing it in the first round of the Dirty 30s, and Deep Trip vs Top Side Dogs). Top Side Dogs ended up winning the whole event, and some guy from Suicidal Lifestyle won the Dirty 30s battle. We had one last party in Zurich, which was the afterparty for United Styles Europe. I used the last bit of energy I had, and danced away. The next day I woke up, and I was sad to leave Switzerland. I had such a good time and met so many incredible peeps. This trip easily goes down as one of my favorite and one of my most memorable. I left for Paris for the day to chill with my homie Kareem from Sans Limite/Ready to Rock. I took my luggage all around the city of Paris, and was dead tired. The tour was now officially over.
First and foremost I would like to thank Olivia and Rebecca for putting up with me most of the trip! Laurynas and Nicole (No Easy Props) for contributing to the tour and being wonderful promoters! Ivan for being inspiring as always! Michele and Branca for being there for a good portion of my trip to Switzerland too! Shout outs to Mercy, Salesh, Ronnie, Renegade, MK, Sacha, Donny, Teki Tekua, Shaynah, Niek, Xisco, Menno, Paulskee, Alien Ness, Blanka, Mr. And 7, Ash, Caleaf, Flying Buddah, Rossy, Foxhound, Crazy, Storm, Cros, Mario Bee, The Godfather, Buz and everyone else for the good times!
Photos courtesy of: Stev Bohnage, JD-Pictures.com, Etien Photography, and Helen Ree