Intro track: Foothill by Nafla (Instagram @nasungcityboy)
Outro track: 111% by Dok2 (Instagram @dok2gonzo)
Filming, Photography, and Editing by Chris Lyon (Instagram @chrislyonsf)
HiphopKR was recently invited to attend this year’s R16 International B-boy Championships held in Seoul, Korea. Seven B-boy crews, representing their respective countries, have made their way to the World Finals after having fought their way through a total of thirty-three tournamants in over 20 different countries. The competition consummated with a final day of showcases by the world-renown B-boy crew Gamblerz, a pronunciation of the 2015 B-boy champions, and a performance by hiphop artists Dok2 and The Quiett.
The event was initiated with a short showcasing of each team’s abilities accompanied by an introduction during a preliminary press conference on the Friday preceding the main program’s activities. It was evident the competition this year would be fierce. Not only was this a collection of some of the most talented B-boy crews in the world, but there was a clear showcasing of new, upcoming young talent. The group hailing from the Netherlands featured a member who in appearance looked to be no older than 15, but showed no signs of insufficiency when it came to his abilities.
As the day of the final championship grew closer, the buzz surrounding the event grew as well. Organized exhibitions along with good-natured, spontaneous dance battles took place outside the arena. The atmosphere seemed to channel the city’s enthusiasm as live DJ’s and local street fashion designers represented their craft.
On Sunday, the final program kicked off with a dynamic performance by popping and locking duo Khan and Moon followed by an introduction of the featured participants and DJs. With the crowd’s anticipation growing in the performance hall, the MCs briefly ran through the criteria by which the teams would be judged. There would be a total of five categories to be used for evaluation: foundation, originality, dynamics, execution, and cypher elements. The winner of each battle would be determined by the first team to win the best out of five.
Russia was the first to come out swinging against China, as they dominated in all five categories and moved on to the semi-finals. The next battle showed a more balanced competition on both ends with the Netherlands facing up against Kazakhstan. The Netherlanders shined as they brought charisma to the stage with their performance. Although Kazakhstan was able to put on an impressive display, it wasn’t enough to propel themselves forward as the Netherlands continued on to win 3 out of the 5 categories.
Next up in the preliminary rounds were two battles pitting the USA vs Taiwan and Korea vs Australia. Much like the first battle, the rounds ended in a blowout by the USA and Korea despite Taiwan and Australia’s efforts. Progression through the semi-finals moved quickly as the Netherlands fell to Russia and the USA was able to pull ahead of Korea in a close match by a mere one-point difference. During the interlude that followed, the legendary Korean B-boy crew Gamblerz took the stage in an electrifying performance that left the crowd hyped for the upcoming battle that would decide which team would hold this year’s title.
Representatives from both country’s best B-boy crews faced off in the finals as the USA and Russia took center stage. The crowd reflected the energy in the building while the two crews showed off their skills in their best performances yet. When the cypher came to an end, there was no clear winner as the judges wrapped up the decision making process. Both sides had put on an amazing display after climbing up tournament ladders and surviving multiple rounds of eliminations. Team USA featured B-boys such as Morris and Kareem of Fallen Kings who had both won the UK B-boy Solo championships in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Their opponents were comprised of some of Russia’s B-boy heavyweights including Alkolil who held the most recent 1st place title in Battle of the Year International 1 on 1 championships in 2014. The nights MCs took the floor once again and the judges prepared to present their decision. Although the night had been full of amazing performances from all the teams who took the stage, the Russians ultimately were the ones who pulled through to be presented as this year’s champions.
As the event was coming to a close Dok2 and The Quiett made an appearance with a final concert to wrap up the evening.