“In the late 80s you could guarantee there would always be albums you would love. These days you have to dig deeper to find artists who grip you like Rakim or Kane, but they are about”
Continuing the monthly series for Dirty 30s ‘Masters of the Old School’, I was lucky enough to interview DMW (Dangerous Mouth Works), beatboxer, b-boy and master of the elements. We met up for an hour or so but we felt we could have chatted all night. An interview with DMW is impossible to find, in fact THIS IS THE FIRST!!
If you have spent time around DMW you will be hard pushed to think of any b-boy with more all round natural talent .
Zulu Monk One describes DMW as “one of the most naturally talented hip hop greats in the city of Leeds. His mastered crafts within the elements of hip hop are undoubtedly bboying and beatboxing, but he’s also gifted when touching on the 1’s & 2’s – not many could match his selection and tastes for tracks, let alone his precision to cut up.”
“He is a true example of someone who walks, talks and breathes hip hop culture,” adds Bboy 10 Tonn.
“Seriously talented and humble. People like DMW are both rare and important to the scene” Chinny – Alfresco Festival Promoter
About to celebrate his 40th birthday this Saturday, 11th January 2014 @ Speak to the Streets, Boar Lane, Leeds we look back at his three decades of hip hop.
Like so many bboys from the 80s, it started at school, where D attended with his friend Skinnyman. “The average age of a b-boy was 8, 9, 10,11 years old” says D, laughing. “Skinnyman was a b-boy back then but later on toasting over Ragga. He left Leeds during middle school but came to visit now and then and we used to jam beatbox and lyrics.”
When asked if DMW had to practise: “Of course. we were inspired by Breakdance, Shalamar on Top of the Pops, Hey You video from Rock Steady Crew, Beat Street and a programme after school called “Sounds Good” with UK b-boy battles. We practiced the moves at school, in the house on carpet, moving back the ornaments and cabinets…”
For D and b-boys of the early 80s, it was all about electro – bboying to the sounds of Man Parrish – Hip-Hop Be-Bop, Herbie Hancock – Rocket and Hashim – Al Naafiysh to name a few . “When I saw it [HIPHOP] on tv it was the first time I could really connect; people who looked like me, roughly the same age as me. I remember thinking: ‘This is it – no more Top of the Pops, Adam Ant and Shakin Stevens!”
1985 – DMW is born
Events around that time
DMW’s first b-boy event attended was at The Queen’s Hall, Leeds around 1985, where he recalls the dance floor was on scaffolding with boards on top. He recalls Dirty 30s host, 10 Tonn won the solo battle.
He also starts reminiscing about Break Machine coming to Leeds at Radio Aire and Joseph Mills putting on a better show by himself with his powerful bouncing windmills. And another great bboy D recalls was Nicky Bent Henriques, also known for his hype dancing, along with David Hall.
So back to 1985, it was this year that Dangerous Mouth Works was born in beatbox. He was introduced to it by his brother who lived in America, “He told me that was the big thing happening” explains D. Fatboys became his favourite, – “just such a heavy bass sound with Buffy, he was raw!” – along with Dougie Fresh, he was inspired to make his mark.
“There weren’t too many in Leeds beatboxing – Boy Wonder (previously of Nightmares on Wax) and Simon Hilton (ICL), but can’t tell you of many more”.
1987 – Bboying starts to disappear in the UK
Hip Hop was changing. “Breakers were being laughed at. By 87, I started high school and breaking had stopped completely. Partly because we let the media dictate to us what’s hot and what’s not, but crews like 2nd to None and Bboy Evo were still on it, as I found out later.”
“So I just dropped the breaking from my life but did the odd move here and there, and just kept beatboxing and listening to Hip Hop, gettin into British Hip Hop, recording radio shows like National Fresh, hundreds of tapes, the golden age for me was this period from 86 to 96.”
1995 – Bringing the culture back to Leeds
“After some time out, I was given a copy of Battle of the Year from DJ Weston and could not believe what was happening in b-boy world – it had moved on so much. Continuous non-handed headspins! And mad combinations. Normal now, but not then. It made me want to break again, so me and Weston started training”.
“When Fresh Jive started in 98, me. Weston and Aidy had a weekly audience to show our old skills to. And it all kicked off again – we started doing b-boy shows across the north. We couldn’t believe this thing we loved so much as kids was back on!”
For the next 12 years, DMW continued to perform, judge, do workshops and beatbox shows alongside artists such as Donald D, Kockee K, Lil Tim, J Bravo, Rhianna Kenny, Tozz 180 (RIP), Daddy Speedo, Afro Physics, Ranks, Lee Kenny (The Pride), Breaking The Illusion and was a part of Junkyard Tactics. Friends also remember how he gave Rhazel a run for his money as he just gasped in amazement when he heard D on stage and wanted to know his name desperately. He was also reportedly the first to ever to beatbox Billy Jean in Monk Ones house around 95.
Here and now
DMW doesn’t break now because of a back problem, but does beatbox and Hip Hop education workshops with Invizible Education around Yorkshire.
You can still find him beat boxing in the cypher and passing on his wisdom to generations young and old. “I like to pass on what I’ve learned and educate fellow people who are interested in Hip Hop culture, rather than being on stage. It’s more rewarding for me”
What was the first hip hop record you bought?
Run DMC “King of Rock” & “Fat Boys are Back” from Jumbo Records (when it was in the Merrion Centre).
Do you like the battles?
Yes that’s what helps Hip Hop progress! As long as it’s fun, no violence.
Why is Dirty 30s important?
Old skool b-boys still have their ground to compete.
What makes a good teacher?
Having knowledge and patience and making it fun.
Why do some artists make it “big” and some don’t?
Looking from the outside, it’s down to the individual setting their own artistic agenda, you set your own agenda to make you happy.
Do you listen to new hip hop artists?
“Yes i do. In the late 80s you could guarantee there would always be albums you would love. These days you have to dig deeper to find artists who grip you like Rakim or Kane, but they are about”
DMW: Top 10 UK tracks
- London Posse – Money Mad
- Hardnoise- untitled
- Hijack – Style Warrior’s Revenge
- Blade – Forward
- Demon Boys – International Karate
- Cash Crew- Ghetto Circumstances
- Gunshot- Interception Squad
- Mc D-Government Piss Off
- Skinnyman – Day to day basis
- Hijack Production – Burial Proceedings in the Coarse Of Three Knights
Who are some of the people you have admired from each element?
- Writer- Aerosol Arabic
- Dj- Dj Supreme
- B-boy- B-boy Evo
- Beat box-Kenny Mohammed
- Mc-Mc D
Finish this sentence.
Back in the 80s I wore……………………. Adidas tracksuits, Nike wind runner tops and bottoms, Nike tube socks, Nike trainers, Nike headbands, Nike wrist bands, Puma trainers Woven laces, Farrah’s Kangols, Avia boots, Stop watches, Joe blogg jeans, Pierre Cardin ,jumpers Polo shirts and Africa medallions.
“Thanks to these people for encouragement to represent skills and platforms to teach/train and perform. Zulu monk 1-for always being there to push and build confidence in me with my elements. Clive Walker- for recording me those early Electro tapes. Anthony and Richard Newby and Marcus Aion (hyro) Graf- being one of the first households to have satellite and recording those early Yo mtv raps and lending me the videos so I could see the freshest vids of the Mcs I was listening to. Bboy/Dj Weston – giving me those early battle of the year tapes to revive the bboy in me, then becoming my training spar and then us becoming a bboy duo doing shows all over. Bboy Shaun Clark – training spar and lots of bboy shows. T breaks – for giving me a platform to show my bboying and beatbox in the early days of Fresh Jive. Richard Watson – for giving me the opportunity to teach bboying to many kids all over Yorkshire. Mani Ray – for giving me the platform to educate and teach hip hop to many young people, Scott Akoz for capturing those HipHop moments
Shouts to Tha Office, Ghetlow Pirates, 10 Tonn, C.A.G, Kockee and LP, Pro Optic, Brettski, DJ Countdown, DJ X, Richard Franks, Wayne Sealey, Newby, Ranks, Skinnyman, Linchey, Steve Johnson, Chinny, Shaolin Shadows, MC Margo, Joe Kewley, Firus Phonics, Part 2, Bgirl firefly and Roy for having me onboard for those beatbox classes
And Big respect to the predesessors
Daddy Speedo (Leeds First Hip Hop MC), LSK, Tom Nice Things, Ed Meade (Oddball), Iqwon…
TOZZ 180 Rest in Peace
Sorry If i’ve forgotten anyone,
Happy 40th DMW. It was a honour and pleasure to have chatted to you for this piece.
The DMW birthday celebration takes place in the daytime at Speak to the Streets – Trinty Church – Boar Lane. Leeds 12.30 to 5.30pm
Look out for February’s Masters of the Old School interview