Back in 2002, El Lapizito and Nathan Losado began discussing the idea of compiling all the footage and photos they had of Second to None, in order to make some sort of film about them. They wanted to show both the old and new schools of the Breakin’ world just how much this crew had accomplished and how far their influence stretched both in the UK as well as overseas. A first attempt was made but it did not hit all the points they were hoping so they shelved it.
In 2007, Nathan and Lapizito got Charlie Marbles onboard, an old friend from their home town of Bournemouth who himself was a first generation UK bboy and one of the founder members of UK crew “Born To Rock”. He was now a professional film editor living in London and working on commercials and music promos. What was originally proposed as a fairly low key, albeit hugely relevant film, soon started to grow in its ambition as Charlie suggested to take this opportunity to make a “European Freshest Kids,” and dig for every bit of footage and get every possible angle covered from the points of view of those actually involved in the underground European Bboy scene of the late 80’s to the mid 90’s.
Nathan headed up the interview department alongside Lapizito who kept the ball rolling with his contacts and diplomacy digging for that gold-dust footage that in some cases we only half knew existed. Our intention was to capture personal in-depth interviews with high level bboys and bgirls from around the world in order to pinpoint the moments and reasons why these last pockets of dancers linked up and how they built on each other’s influence. These interviews included new-school heads inspired to start breakin’ as a direct result of seeing the grainy VHS images of the seminal battles and game-changing practice footage as well as old-school legends who, newly invigorated to train, brought themselves back from sabbatical recognising that the phoenix was stirring in its ashes.
The film was not an easy task, eventually taking nine years to complete. This was due to it being an unpaid, zero budget, no compromise “labour of love”. The sheer enormity of it was staggering comprising around forty hours of VHS archive plus around sixty hours of interview and stock material for Charlie to load, organise and select through, in order to somehow join the dots to make a coherent story out of.
During the course of production and post-production a lot of blood, sweat and tears were shed. Tempers flared and friends fell out as the passion for the project turned into frustration and resentment and so editing halted for a period. Thankfully, we all came to our senses, buried the hatchet and came to the realisation that this was a collaborative process and that the film was bigger than the sum of its parts and so we got back to work… With renewed vigour.
Year after year we’d promise to put it out but it wasn’t fully ready and there was only ever going to be one chance to get it right so we kept stalling. This wasn’t only for the sake of Second to None themselves but also those other individuals, crews and collaborators involved who had entrusted us to represent them correctly. Despite our distinct lack of resources and time, we strived to create, what we think of as, a relevant bboy document that will stand the test of time within the universal hip hop archive for the benefit of this and future generations.
The Bboy Mercenaries comes correct. It has been made by bboys for bboys and bgirls. It has been done with a battle attitude and represents the truth and is a hardy proponent of the “Something out of Nothing” ethos indicative of true hip hop. It isn’t afraid to step on shelltoes and doesn’t give a fuck about hip hop politics. That being said it is humble, respectful and funky fresh dressed to impress, ready to party.
The soundtrack is made up of classic hip hop joints, rare funk 45’s and atmospheric 80’s soul and electro. Among the long list of artists who have contributed their music are: Man Parrish, DJ Supreme, Stay on Target, Blade & Renegade, DJ Format, Phill Most Chill, Tue Track, Wax Buzzard and Jabba Tha Kutt. There is some stunning photography from Missing Stewart, Brent Newitt, Dan “Duce” Lish and Dominic Tonutti plus artwork from shok-1, Siege52 and Rick Walker. Archive footage was found in numerous ways but also kindly donated by Kilo (SIN CRU), Tony the Pencil (STN), DJ Renegade and Swift-Rock (Battle Squad) and the Master of Ceremony is Cel-One from trailblazing UK rap crew The Guttersnypes.
Second to None carried on dancing through the dark days when most people turned their back on breakin’ as it became unfashionable, ridiculed and consigned to the rubbish tip. They carried on because they loved it and stopping hadn’t even crossed their minds. Here was something that these working-class white kids from Southern England related to on a cellular level, something that resonated deeply within each of them, something they would protect at all costs. This overwhelming urge to break was then amplified exponentially due to the heartfelt determination, competitiveness and energy between them within the crew, the very energy that kept them pushing the artform as well as the expectations of those that would follow them.
We hope you like our film, we made it for you, well truth be known we made it for ourselves thinking it’d be nice to have a record and show a few folks but it got completely out of hand. Now, here we are with this beast and now at last it is ready to be unleashed for your viewing pleasure.
All respect and love,
Nathan Losado, El Lapizito & Charlie Marbles.