SB: Tell everyone briefly about yourself.
CL: I’m born and raised in the Bronx, although I lived in manhattan for 4 yrs of my youth. I currently reside in the North East and Puerto Rico. I’ve been part of the Hip Hop game since the age of 10 (1977).
SB: Take us back to the 70’s and 80’s and tell us how “Crazy Legs” all began, the nickname and the person.
CL: Your question requires me to write a book. haha. I had the opportunity to be a part of the first presentations on Hip Hop as a culture. Although they weren’t labeled as such they still represented every element that eventually became Hip Hop as we know it.
I’ve had the good fortune of seeing a lot of the world and learned to appreciate the cultural differences that the world has to offer. My travel has a lot to do with who I am and my perspective towards life. I’m a proud Puerto Rican, a father and leader of the Rock Steady Crew.
However, I got my name while going to Junior High School 52 in the Inwood section of Manhattan. A girl by the name of Arlene Rosario saw me doing my thing and she said, in her flavorful way, “he got some craaaaazy legs”. So that name stuck, because all of the cheerleaders in the school started calling me that and the rest as they say is history.
As for the 70’s? All i can say is that The Boogie Down Bronx was also the Burned Down Bronx, so we basically had nothing to reach for or look forward to. Except for the New York Yankees winning the World Series. Every weekend was pretty much a neighborhood party at my house. My mom was the Ultimate Cool Puerto Rican Mom!
SB: Did you ever think what you were doing on a street corner would one day be such an integral part of hip hop history or have such an international following as it does today?
CL: The funny thing is that I can’t ever remember actually dancing on a street corner. What people have to remember is that there were no real social programs or many community centers that were available to us and budgets were pretty much non-existant for such programs. Whether it be for music, dance or any thing else. the fact that we were hungry and creative was pretty much all that we needed in order to become talented with in our ghetto games.
SB: Now b-boy dancing has been featured in films since the 1980’s such as Wild Style, Beat Street, Krush Groove, up to recent films like all the Step Up films. Do you think it will eventually fade out or continue to be a major part of dance and films into the future?
CL: B-boy dancing has been rockin’ with and without press and films for almost 40 years. So that in itself should say a lot. I also didn’t get in to this art form, because of the possibility of a gig, so it’s a non issue to me.
SB: How do today’s break dancers compare to the b-boys of the 70’s and 80’s?
CL: I actually don’t spend my time comparing todays dancers with dancers of the past. Each generation has it’s pros and cons. I’m all for the new school adding something to the art.
SB: For those that don’t know, explain why July 26th is so special?
CL: July 26th in NYC was Proclaimed “Rock Steady Crew Day” by Mayor Bloombergl; but the following year his office didn’t answer our call when we weren’t being allowed to get a permit for the RSC anniversary. So we ended up moving the free concert to Newark, NJ where they welcomed us with open arms at the Lincoln Park Music Festival. So that issue actually lessened the importance of that day to us.
SB: Now you have received numerous awards, you do a lot for the community and today’s youth, tell us about those programs. Especially the documentary that just aired called “Bouncing Cats”.
CL: I actually throw food drives in NYC and San Francisco every year. I’ve been doing the ones in NYC for about 17 yrs and on my birthday. I’ve been involved with organizations like the Point C.D.C in the Bronx, El Puente Academy for Peace And Justice, The San Francisco Food Bank and numerous other organizations that provide services for their local communities.
Bouncing Cats is by far the most important project of my life. I highly recommend that everyone reading this , checks out Bouncing Cats in order to see what it is that I’m talking about, and when it will be airing on TV again. It’s a story about how people have used Hip Hop as the tool in order to help each other to become self-sufficient, empowered and bring hope to people living in displacement camps, because of genocide, slavery by the Lords Resistance Army and government corruption in Uganda.
SB: Is there anything you regret or wish you did differently back then as you look back now?
CL: More education never hurt anyone!
SB: What advice do you have to today’s youth who want to follow in your footsteps?
CL: Follow in my footsteps, but learn from my mistakes and make your own path. I’m am in no way a perfect person. So be careful. Some of my footsteps can get a person hurt. I’m still come from the Bronx and for a big part of my childhood, I surrounded myself with a lot of bad people. I was one of them . I’m just happy to be on the opposite of those tracks now. I guess I never got caught or I worked my way out of some bad situations. But the lesson was learned and my life if very different now.
SB: Where will Crazy Legs be in 5 years?
CL: HA! Hopefully getting massages on a regular basis and on the beach in Puerto Rico.