Growing up, my generation of the U.K Bboy scene were always aware of SIN Cru: we saw them at events and battles, and heard them spoken about by promoters, O.G’s and Arts organisations alike. My crew Trinity Warriors knew of SIN Cru’s Urban SINfonie as a U.K battle event through channels like the now obsolete UKBboy.info and Facebook posts.
In 2010, I caught a train to Cambridge and entered Urban SINfonie Poppin Battle. I was injured and unprepared. I wore a full red Dickies two-piece suit like I was a West Coast Blood. Bboy Freeze from Ghost Cru stood behind me while I battled, which strangely made me more nervous, and later, in a young and toyish move, I called out Kwikstep in the cyphers.
In 2011, I drove to Urban SINfonie 2 on 2 Bboy battle and entered with Rico as Trinity Warriors. We had all shaved our heads that year, like we were in the army or something, and I looked like I’d escaped a mental asylum. We spent all our time between rounds in the circles.
Both times I left feeling like I’d been out of my depth: the size and level of Hip Hop at these events were different to what I’d experienced in Derby. Every crew has their own bubble they create and ours had always been around battles, performances, hanging out and training, and the ever present MCs in the crew who rapped Hip Hop and Grime. In Cambridge there were graffiti displays, rap and beatbox showcases, a whole Poppin’ scene with OGs like Mach-1 and Zia, and crazy antics shared from SIN Cru’s youth development and surrounding Hip Hop festival SOHHA, giving us a glimpse into SIN Cru’s day to day flava – absolutely barmy. To give you an idea of what I mean, there was a moment during the event when SIN Cru stopped the cyphers and to bring a group of young people on to the lino to perform Hip Hop karaoke. At the time I remember Freeze looking over at me as if to say ‘I am completely lost.’ Now ten years later, I have bought in to the madness and I see it not as a weakness but as part of the signature SIN Cru style: uncontrollable, funny and non conformist.
This was all in an era when local hip hop events were abundant and it felt like every city had its own crew, scene, style and agenda. Urban SINfonie allowed some serious growth and development for me as a young Bboy. It brought together International pioneers like Ken Swift and the 7 Gems, and Poe 1 from America, Maurizio and Freeze from Europe, and under appreciated U.K O.Gs including Pervez, Lonestar and Skam. At the same time SIN Cru hosted youth battles to connect with other young crews like Shaolin Shadows from Leeds. As part of SIN Cru’s 25th Anniversary, I’ve been looking back at what made the company important to me and valuable to the wider Hip Hop scene. Watch out for the return of Urban SINfonie in 2020