Friday, July 24, 2015

Chapter-I The Source: Myth's Roots [1970-1988']

First Blood

Myth-Ra Raised  was born 5-1-70, in Montclair, NJ. He was the 3rd of 4 children from his mother and the first born from his father. The two elder brothers had different fathers from each other and, Myth-Ra and the youngest.  It is said to that Myth-Ra and the youngest have the same father. Myth-Ra was named D'Artis A Alexander by the one said to be his physical father, Robert E. Alexander [deceased]. It is all a mystery to Myth-Ra. His said father was from New Jersey, his mother is from Portsmouth, Va. It was a short stay in New Jersey. At one time he and a 5 years older sibling were in a shelter, in New Jersey.
 " I remember darkness, walking outside of a big white house or building, where there were a lot of kids. I remember feeling a lot of negative emotions: unhappiness." His mother would visit ocassionally. " I remember my mother visited, I was happy to see her. I cried from the thought of her leaving. After the short stint in the shelter the family regrouped then moved to Virginia, where the mother originated [the father stayed with the family off and on for a couple of years disappeared and latter died from pneumonia, so he was told]. "I had an excellent feeling towards my father and the paternal side of the family. I always asked my mother questions about my father and his family, I loved going through the family  albums"
The amount of time D'Artis was in New Jersey was extremely short. After a couple of brief settlings, home for D'Artis Anthony Alexander became Twin Canal Village, in Virginia Beach, Va. There he was raised from 8 to 19 years old.

Twin Canal Village 78-89'
' from 78-89 [An avid breaker from 81-82 to 83-84] Myth was a natural when it came to dancing or  anything creative. " I Breaked [ I was the best variable break dancer in the neighborhood].. I was the one that took breaking seriously, doing moves like knee rock to the backspin to the headspin freeze or I'd pull my pants down while spinning,. I had the rawest foot work out there, around period. And I had one of the nicest headspins.  I'd dive into the back spin then freeze or pop out or go into a head spin. I'd do 1990s [ 1 hand hand stand spinning to a headspin] , I was known for doing Egyptian routines with my brother Jerry, ending with a flip to pose, he'd spin me on top of his head my stomach was on top of his head legs and arms straight. I had a solid 6 pack then. I'd step into my brother's hands and back flip. I had all kinds of moves. I won talent shows with different crews. We'd battle in [schools, malls  and neighborhoods]. The best groups were big and had somebody with a hot move. 

The best groups were big and had somebody that mastered a move 
The Body Breakers: I was known as Devastating-D as a breaker [Black] was the headspin, foot rock, variable guy; my older brother Jerry or ' Driver ' [Black]: was the elbow spin [rarely seen people do this move], acrobats and flips.. He also had a nice windmill: regular, heads flare and a diplomat; [my main man & my favorite all around] Damian '  or Keith ' [Black]: did a lil of everything [the most creative entertainer in the group]; Tony or ' Pretty Tony ' [Black and White]: popper; The Twins ' Charles & John ' [Latino]: crabs: regular and the skip, windmill, headspin, poppers -personality/entertainers [young and short and the girls called them cute]; Keithie [white] The youngest in the group. Blonde hair blues eyes ' girls loved him ' known for the super swipe, poppin, personality. he was about the same age as the twins but he was one of the originals too. He was one of the first Skaters I seen [ the twins turned into skaters too]; 'The God Father [Mexican Los Angeles] popper breaker/supreme entertainer.. He made a crunch sounds with his teeth while popping his body, and his right hand man was Derrick - I'ma call him ' Detroit ' because this brother and the God Father weren't running and were talented, [Black] windmill/breaker and the owners of the group were 2 brothers: John & Henry [white and filipino]: windmill KINGS.. John had a tight head windmill, while Henry had the regular windmill and the skip flare or windmill... * we use to call the windmill flare back in the day until people actually started flaring. But his was the fastest, sharpest and smoothest I have EVER seen to this day.. legs were perfectly straight. Literally, papper and stuff in the room would start flying - phenominal, and finally their ace, possibly a partner as well Jackie ' Super Swipe ' [black], we called him Super Swipe because he had the best superswipes - perfect! and he was the graffiti artist. They had a manager Danny [he looked white and filipino.. he was intelligence, and his brother lil brother rode with us in the trunk of the car] that got us in bars and they made a KILLING. Every single week the same bars between 12 & 2am. Bikers types use to throw tips on the dance floor. We'd go to projects and battle.  We'd competed at Norfolk State University.. They were among the SUPER GROUPS. And all of the SUPER GROUPS were connected to Martial Art Studios: Kung-fu or Karate. They were super fit!! "

Large Bars Body Breakers performed weekly for pay

And one more name I forgot.

Super Groups

Body Breakers 
oringinally based in Carper Apartments, alot of members myself included took martial arts with Marvin Wallace ' Tung Lung '

A&M Breakers: 
I remember Donald, a memberin the group. I believe they came out of Wing Chung Studio

ABC Breakers: 
' Marvin Wallace ' Repping Plaza Apartments/Plaza: Kung Fu Instructor: Tung Lung, He taught classes free outside at Plaza Elementary, Hip Hop Dancer. I'd call him a Community Leader.
Definitely a forefather.
and ' Leonard ' [ Black  ] the leader of the Clones I don't know if they were a gang organization or what but they were highly respected. Leonard is a forefather.

Tony was a fore father. He was a well respected martial artist. Vague memory but he was well respected.

The Street Breakers
Street Breakers, from Newport News were ran by the Gilbert brothers, my brother was cool with them. We got kicked out of the house in 84' and moved to Newport News. They were the most organized crew I seen. They made it happen. We performed at roller rinks. They had the best routines, best outfits: they had the tights like New City Breakers in Beatstreet! They supplied power to buildings where they did their thing.. I forgot what it was but.. it was like some New York  stuff. We were on base Ft. Eustis, I think some of them were from New York.. They had a nice size crew. DJs, and a following! Newport News was very supportive!
The Law Breakers
The Law Breakers were rivals to The Street Breakers like Rock Steady were rivals to New York City Breakers. They had the smoothest uniform. it look like it was Cashmere, light green.. pimp! They were dope like The Street Breakers. We never spoke but they were real. 

These two crews may not have had the best technical breakers but they had the best routines by far. They were women pleasers, entertainers.. They incoporated dances like the whop, later came the DC Whop into their routines. I took the routine home with me when I moved back to the beach and we won 3rd place in a junior high talent show. 

I think I've seen some of the best, at least locally but many of them were from around the world. and theydon't let anyone in their circle.

John Pickens and Erin Polly were the best solo talents. john being more Classical mixed with Hip Hop and Erin Polly being more street. He will take your move and do it way better than you! Both were poppers! There was a lot more.. 

DJ Doc Best DJ..

Thrillers was the best group of people..

He continues. [An avid skater from 84-85 to 86-87]" I was a descent skater, and was respected locally. The first boards I got for Christmas was a white Mark Gonzales and a purple John Lucero deck, with independent trucks.  

I played the sax in the school band for a few years, and I usually sat first chair. I went to All-City. I played guitar. I had a few guitars including, 2 Ibanez guitars: one of them was pink and  the other was black - (twins). I played a little drums. In the house there was a drumset, an organ, bells, maracas, bongos... I was in the school band and I also played in a group - The Thrillers. I remember waking up early saturday mornings to sell Krispy Kreme donuts to get equipment for the group. I couldn't bring any instruments outside of the house accept for one raggedy ass guitar. I couldn't have company in the house.I could have created my own group because I had the instruments. The band mostly breaked  

I took karate and won 1st placed in a Chuck Norris tournament, and got 4th place.. I lost because I lost focus. I lost to a short red head kid, I couldn't snap out of an awkward situation."

 He carries on..
"All of that and more before I got into high school, I was very creative"

"I loved breaking before I heard of breaking, I came out of the womb with soul. One of my favorite songs was 'Ring my bell' by Anita Ward, I'd go into a trance dancing to that song, especially during the break."

"It was the freedom. I enjoyed being creative. I felt like I was free from earth's matters. My imagination took me somewhere else. Most everything was created in solitude, by myself."

Within the Shadow
"In Twin Canal I became aware of order, and basic social principles on a community level. I learned the importance of cooperation on a community level. Twin Canal is where I broke out of my artistic shell. I interacted a lot more. I used to spend a lot of time in my head, imagining all types of things; I was more imaginative than talkative. Twin Canal is the place where I started the development of my creative process. I played alone a lot but I'd also participated with squads. It was there I developed self awareness. First you, then your momma, then your household, then your court, then the neighborhood. And don't bring no disrespectful people in the neighborhood, because you will be held accountable"

Example of Scatting

Myth-Ra Raised goes on.
"Everything I did, I practiced alone 90% of the time. I enjoyed practicing." And that is the truth. Myth practiced breaking in the neighborhood laundry mat.  "I was self motivated. I'd share time with a variety of different people who each had different interests or talents. I did get excellent tips from greats. The most influential were Damian from the Body Breakers and Chico whom both told me to put more imagination into my work and to practice on transitions between moves."
Myth-Ra reached blue belt in karate. He trained hard. Starting between the age of 6 or 7 and continued some sort of martial art training until he was 13 years old. When he started breaking, he was flexible and very sharp. Before he knew of break dancing, he was breaking [dancing on the floor doing dragon kicks, russian kicks]. 
"I really felt music deeply. Every person, room, situation had a different beat, vibe, rhythm and the house was full of instruments: bongos, bells, maracas, organ, drum set, guitars.. I played the sax in school, and spent a lot of time sitting first chair. I went to All-City every year and it was more than just having things, because other people in the house had access to the same things I had access to, but they did not choose to use them. I love music, but not just Hip Hop or R&B, I enjoyed all types of music. I was self -motivated.
 I always rapped. I started off scat singing. I put together quite a few songs, using a drum set;  an electric guitar that I used for the rhythm, lead and bass parts, because I didn't have a bass guitar; and the last main instrument was an organ. I'd record using a tape recorder and a dictaphone. I'd use the dictaphone to record material while the recorded material streamed from the tape recorder. I would record the drums first; second I'd record me playing the organ while the drum set was playing out of the recorder; third I'd record me playing the guitar while the recording of  the drums, the organ and the guitar played; and finally I'd rap or sing while everything played together. Occasionally, I'd do a guitar solo. I'd fill cassette tapes with songs, front and back. With songs like "Follow the Spade "" Deja Voo "" I see Red "" D'Artis The Overlord " I kept it to my self, well I tried to. I went out and people had my cassete, playing and singing words to my songs. I took my tape back. I was very upset, but it felt good that they knew the words and was having a good time singing it [like they had it for a long time]. The thing is, how they got it." D'Artis looked heated.

Myth-Ra Raised Roots A

Myth-Ra Raised Roots B

Readings and Influences
I always read socially conscious books. Early on, I read: ' Crisis between Black & White ', ' Message to the Black Man ', ' The Death and Life of  Malcolm X ', ' Black Power ' and other books. I believe I started reading these books, well before I was into Hip Hop. There were Edgar Cayce books in the library, as well as Scientology books. Our next door neighbor, Scope,  was a Hebrew Isrealite, so information trickled down to me through my mother. I remember a green pamphlet that started off with " Shalom ". There was a thick bible with pictures in it, with notes at the bottom. The neighborhood had quite a few Jehovah Witnesses, but most of the people were Christians, so I was warned not to speak on any type of black conscious teachings and I didn't until Public Enemy came out in 87'. I thought it was socially acceptable to speak on black consciousness since everyone was bumping the music. I was mistaken. I remember listening to Bishop Willis, a Christian talk show hosted on WOWI 103 morning program, squabbling with a Muslim caller  'on community issues and right after he called a Christian woman called in and said ' not another Muslim. ' I got the message. A few years passed, the music and cultured changed from DMC to Rakim, P.E. and EPMD. So Hip Hop brought in conscious teachings, fashion and such. I enoyed reading encyclopedias as well. I read books on animals, dinosaurs, Marvel comics books, DC comic books. I enjoyed anything educational, Sci-fi, and my last few years in the neighborhood, I got into metaphysical books because of a paralyzing sleeping disorder that I had most of my life. " When I became more aware of it, it made itself more felt ". I began diagnosing self. During this period I got high, tripped, and tried Robitussin DM [Robo-ed]. They could have played a part in enhancing the strange feelings and visions: "The Shadow" but I had the paralyzing experiences all of my life. I fought it one time.. I had to sleep with a curling bar by me and a bible under my pillow, to feel peace. From the experience, my spirituality intensified with my research.  
Socially, life was great. I had a diverse group of associates.  

From  approximately [76- 80] Karate made it to blue belt under Sensei Don Page - he taught made me tougher; [79-81] Sensei Pitts brought Hip Hop Rappers Delight - he taught me sharpness: to mix martial arts with music in Katas, Sensei Hoggro polished things off/movies. 
[81-83] Sensei Marvin Wallace put everything into play with full contact fighting, conditioning. John Pickens Supplied the first and only group I 've ever been in ' The Thrillers ' I played guitar for The Thrillers but never performed musically, but we breaked with them. I helped build a name for the group. and on the weekends early in the mornings, we'd knock on doors to sell Krispy Kreme glazed donuts for equipment. I took judo at the Kempsville Recreation Center [78-80]:
First place trophy at my first karate tournament, went to finals and got a plaque [wasn't focused]
Was into gymnastics as a kid and won ribbons..
I was in band in elemetary school 6th grade: sat 1st chair- I played the saxophone.
I was ok in school
Junior High as well [82-85]
I usually sat first chair in band. I was known for breaking,. I attended Kung fu classes but it ended around 83',  84'. I street skated [Mark Gonzales, John Lucero were my first boards]. I performed with a close associate in a hotel Ballroom [x-mas Gig] in 87 then afterwards we went to D.C. and hit the "Foxes Playground ", my first strip club, all nude.. hit another club downtown and the strip. That was one of the best times ever.
I went to Old dominion jobcore for a couple of weeks, had to leave because people were gettin in trouble from  big fights.. I went home before my name popped out of a hat [arrested for nothing]
88' I got me a car, it broke down.. I join the Army National Guard to fix it.. 

occasionally I would work with my mother at a restaurant " Tortillia Junction 80 or 81', Volunteered at Animal Kingdom [pet shop] 81', participated in Stama/Stop programs - summer jobs for low income for about 3 years 81-83', worked at Burger Kings 86', Chi Chi's 86-87'

Chapters: 1 l 2 l 3 l 4 l 5 l 6 l 7 l 8 l 9 l 10 l The End: New Beginnings

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