If you follow anything with the Bboy lifestyle and culture, then you know about Lean Rock as one of the top DJ’s and world renowned Bboys. As he mentions in the interview, he was “born into hip hop,” and continues to learn and grow by applying the lessons of the lifestyle and culture. Born rocking a beat in his heart, the influence of his father, Leanski, and his crew, Floorlords, Lean Rock travels the globe spinning beats, rockin the floor, and spreading the love of Hip Hop culture.
We hope those who read this article both young and old are inspired by the knowledge and words of Lean. He is a valuable Hip Hop head at a very young age, many bboys and bgirls should look to him as a great example of how to live the lifestyle!
Truly it’s an honor to have the interaction with Lean Rock and all the knowledge he has gained by being such a moving force in the culture. We are blessed to cross Lean’s path this coming week in France as he will be starting his European tour spinning at Chelles Battle Pro, Just4Rockers, Juste Debout, and more. We wish nothing but happiness and blessings on Lean Rock on his travels and upcoming tour dates.
Tell us about your influences growing up in Hip Hop culture such as your father, The Floorlords, and the Boston community
I was born into hip hop and I was pretty much born a Floorlord. My main influences were my family and my crew. I would have to say I get influenced by different people from day to day. I’ll never stop learning or growing. It’s a small but big world…. there’s plenty to learn.
Age 7 you became a member of The Floorlords and began battling against/with older bboys, how did that help you develop your skills?
I used to love battling. It was in my blood. I didn’t really fear to battle. I knew people were obviously better than me but I knew I could beat them on a good day or on their bad day. I might have got a little nervous from time to time but once I hit the floor I was good to go. I think I used to get more nervous performing with my group. When you’re battling, you onlyhave 1 person in your face or a few people you have to worry about. When you’re performing you got to face a large group of people. We did shows all the time, so it wasn’t so bad. I played basketball when I was younger too, so I grew up around a lot of competitive kids… so the mentality I needed for battling was there. I idolized Jordan. I don’t think there was anyone more competitive than him. I studied him and used the same mentality towards my dance. I loved the challenge. The feeling and the thought of burning someone 3 times, 4 times, or 5 times my age was crazy but it did happen a few times haha.
How has the Hip Hop culture, specifically being a Bboy and DJ, helped shape your life?
I don’t know what I would be doing without Hip Hop. Hip hop opened doors for me to make a living, see the world, and it actually opened doors for me to get into college. I live it every day. It’s on my mind all the time.
What are some of your favorite moments as a Bboy (battles, performances)?
My favorite moments as a bboy are the moments when I just vibe out with my friends and my crew. My favorite moments as a dj are the moments when I see dancers GOING OFF to the music I’m playing. Simply just the good vibes… those are the best moments.
What would you say to Bboys and Bgirls trying to develop their dance?
Study the history. Be a student. Be original but keep it funky. Learn all the aspects of the dance. Don’t get too comfortable working on just 1 aspect of the dance. Be universal. See the world. Test yourself. Be hungry.
How important is it to help develop youth in the culture?
The youth are the past, present, and future. This culture doesn’t exist without the youth. I don’t think there is anything more important. The culture dies without the youth, because it’s the youth that keeps it alive.
At what point did you start getting into DJ’ing? Do you remember your first set?
The first event I ever spun at was Ken Swift’s “Raiders of the Lost Art”. It was a small event in Boston. It was more geared towards the circles. I don’t really remember much about the event. I do remember El Nino winning the event, me spinning vinyl, and 7 Gems rolling deep to Boston.… that’s about it lol
Being a Bboy first, how did that help develop your DJ skills?
I would say just knowing what to play and when to play the record. Being a dancer simply helps you understand what records make people move.
You’ve DJ’d a number of large events (R16, Battle of the Year, IBE), any of them standout?
Yeah I pretty much spun for most of the big bboy events. They’re all amazing events, but as a DJ… Battle of the Year probably stands out the most. I never felt so much energy spinning an event before. I mean there were about 15,000 people in attendance just to watch bboying in a big ass arena. It seemed like it was mostly general audience. They were all into it though. To hear people screaming your name like your some pop star was really crazy. I never knew so many people knew who I was lol It just goes to show how universal and how much hip hop is appreciated in some places overseas.
You have a European Tour coming up in March, tell us about that.
I just love traveling. My best trips are always my trips to Europe. I hate traveling somewhere really far for just the weekend. I like to sulk in the culture, and get a feel of the places I go to. So I’ve been doing Euro tours every year since 2010. Sometimes I’ll even do 2 or 3 Euro tours a year. The European community embraces the hip hop I love most more than it’s embraced in the states. America is always on some new s*** or worried about the next trend. We take a lot of things for granted over here you know. There’s definitely a lot more support for the arts in Europe period. I just feel like every time I go on the Euro tour I accomplish something major. I don’t know what it is, but they get better and better every year. This year I will be spinning at Chelles Battle Pro, Just4Rockers, Juste Debout, Rockin Champ, Breakjunkiez, and a few other events in the span of a month. Therefore I will be in France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and Holland for the month of March.
Any advice you would give to up and coming DJ’s
The same advice I would give to up and coming bboys… just with a little twist. Study the history. Study other djs. Be a student and keep an open mind. Be original but keep it funky (whether it’s your selection or skills). Don’t get too comfortable working on just 1 aspect of djing. Be universal. Learn it all. See the world. Get yourself some experience, and don’t be afraid to educate the people with music they never heard before.
Having an good understanding of the Bboy scene right now, do you feel there is anything missing or misunderstood?
There will always be something missing or misunderstood. That’s just life in general. Life can always be great but it will never be as perfect as you want it to be. Perfect is different for everyone just as normal is different for everyone. People just have to be passionate about their craft, have fun with it, and keep studying. That’s all that needs to be done.
What words of inspiration would you give to dancers looking to grow?
You have to travel. You have to test your skills and get inspired by other dancers. If you stay home and you’re not doing anything with your skills… then you will most likely improve slower or just get stuck. What motivates us are the challenges in life. We all need challenges to become great or greater.
Any shout outs you want to give
– Lean Rock