After nine days of showcase, elimination and judges’ decisions, the final two teams for the MegaCrew Division in the World Championships for Hip Hop International came down to Korea’s Lock n Lol and New Zealand’s Royal Family. While both teams brought out an immense amount of talent, beautiful visuals and amazing concepts, Lock n Lol took the gold medal despite general sentiment that the medal should have gone to Royal Family.
Whether you’re a fan of one team or the other, the major point that we, as the audience, have to pay attention to is the fact that Lock n Lol is a team built completely upon foundational locking. This means that they train extensively within their particular style paying attention to their roots, culture, lifestyle and basics — which is a lot more than what many hip-hop choreography teams can say, who stress more of a cohesive, moving unit and flashy moves for performance based showcases rather than truly understanding the street dance that they attempt to portray.
When Lock n Lol won, the freestyle community received the news with elated mystification. As the choreography world came to the front within the past decade, the beauty of freestyle and authentic cultural portrayal was pushed to the back burner. The debate as to “Who’s killing hip-hop?” between the hip-hop choreo community and the freestyle community has always been and continues to be tense at best. But what we have to realize with Lock n Lol‘s win is this: there may be a hidden truth about the combination of choreography and freestyle. In fact, if we took the “hell week” driven rehearsals and driven team mentality of choreo teams and coupled it with the hardcore determination, individuality and knowledge of freestyle — there is the possibility that what might be created is a super team.
I like to imagine that Lock n Lol might have just opened up a door for us to view the relationship between choreo and freestyle with a clearer focus — to examine the pros and cons and most importantly, to broach the truth that very well may be that we’re stronger together rather than separated. Pride aside, hip-hop dance is changing. It’s evolving. There is little room for OG mentality versus new school mentality. Hip-hop dance is becoming more accepting just as it’s becoming more vocal in education of authentic culture. We’re at a good place for positive change. Let’s let Lock n Lol serve as the example. This win very well may change the dynamics of future teams by encouraging them to engage with their elders, in just the same way that it may force the older cats to be more receptive to receive the newer generations. And with that combination, we may see a quicker route to reconnecting hip-hop from this disconnect and making it stronger than it’s ever been before.