Interviewing Smurf - The Spin Theory, MZK, Boogie Brats

Meet Smurf

If ever one bboy personified the rawness of hip hop culture, it is bboy Smurf! He has held it down for years as a bboy, popper, and graff writer, and more recently as your favourite hip hop host on The Spin Theory on YouTube. Smurf’s style is undeniable and his presence in the cypher is unmistakeable. Los Angeles street culture is embedded in his breaking and in his lifestyle.

His breaking and his approach to hip hop in general is clear, direct, and brutally honest. Smurf’s contributions to hip hop, through various mediums, have made him a West Coast pioneer.


Interviewing DJ Timber - Bad Taste Crew, MZK

Meet Timber

Born and bred in Belfast, Timber is without doubt one of the most accomplished DJs in the world of bboying. Working his way up from humble beginnings within the city’s local hip hop scene, Timber’s resume includes some of the most high profile competitions in the world, including Radikal Forze Jam in Singapore, Redbull BC One, and of course, Just Jam Intl in Newcastle. Timber’s commitment to his craft and attention to detail when it comes to music have earned him the respect of the most accomplished and dedicated bboys.

An official member of Ireland’s own Bad Taste Crew, he has represented Irish hip hop to the fullest on an international scale, perhaps more than anyone else from the island. His journey within hip hop has taken him far and wide, enriching his understanding of the culture and furthering the evolution of his musical approach.

Support your artists! For the price of a beer you can experience an hour of unadulterated, cosmic space funk! Get DJ Timber’s Space Funk mixtape here:…

Interviewing Focus - Flow Mo Crew


Here’s our interview with the legendary Bboy Focus from Flow Mo Crew, Finland. Catching wreck in cyphers and in battles across the world for over 20 years, Focus is one of the most respected and accomplished bboys of recent times. As well rounded as they come, he is a true student of the game and a cornerstone of bboying in the modern era.

In this interview he talks about the origins of the Finnish scene, the rise of Flow Mo, the ways in which modern approaches to bboying differ to those of previous eras, and the importance of paying dues.

For up and coming Bboys & Bgirls we encourage you to check out Focus’ online Breakin’ school The Bboy/Bgirl Dojo

Interviewing YNot - Rock Steady Crew


BBoy YNot, real name Anthony Denaro, is a bboy and multidisciplinary artist from the New Jersey,
United States. His journey in hip hop has taken him all around the world, earning him the position of
Senior Vice-President within the legendary Rock Steady Crew.

YNot’s approach to hip hop is multifaceted, working in design, music, architecture, and of course,
dance. Within bboying, his style is often imitated, but never duplicated. This is particularly true in
regards to toprocking, within which he is considered a pioneer. His musicality and attention to
detail, as well as incorporation of different styles of dance up top, have made him one of the most
influential bboys of his generation.

In 2020, YNot is still active in breaking and the wider hip hop scene. He is located in Arizona, where he
continues to teach and pursue his wider artistic and academic interests.

Interviewing Que Rock - Ready To Rock Crew

B-boy Que Rock

Meet Que Rock

Q Rock or Que Rock is an Anishinaabe b-boy, rapper, and graffiti artist from Nipissing First Nation, currently based in Toronto, Ontario. He and his siblings were raised with traditional Anishnaabe and Odawa teachings by a single mother who travelled quite frequently across North America working with families in crisis. His spirit name is Manitou Nemeen, which translates to Spirit Dancer, and was given to him by his Grandmother.

From a young age Que Rock danced at Pow Wows (a social gathering held by many different Native American communities) learning the traditions of Grass Dancing, transitioning into b-boying at the age of 12. He began educating himself on Hip Hop culture and at 17 was learning Hip Hop culture from the original Ready To Rock Crew.

From his reserve, Nipissing First Nation, Que Rock travelled between The Bronx and Toronto with his mother, a social worker. During this time he honed his skills as  b-boy, rapper and writer. In 1997 Que Rock became a member of Ready To Rock Crew and in 2000 he earned his status as a loyal member of the Mighty Zulu Kingz of the Universal Zulu Nation.

His first album “Smoke Signals” was released in 2012 followed by the video “Ghost Dance”, which was filmed on his homeland at their annual Traditional Pow Wow festival, earning him the “Friendship Award for Community” at the 6th Annual Taino Awards held at the Bronx Museum of arts. 



Check out Jack Bashful's latest project: Fictional Clientele.

Before we start getting to know you as an artist, it would be great to get a bit of insight into who you are as a person. Can you tell us a bit about where you are from, what you are at now and some of your ambitions for the future?

I’m from Lurgan, a place which is well known for all the wrong reasons. It does get a bad reputation, but I’d love to be able to change that and make it known for more than Neil Lennon and Buckfast. Although I think I might have a job on my hands.

At the minute I’m finishing a degree in French and Spanish at university, which is something I’ve been doing for nearly four years now. It’s been a great experience and it gave me the chance to live abroad and meet tons of cool people, but it’s something that I’ve lost interest in recently. It was something I was very passionate about when I was younger, but that passion was lost once I started taking music seriously. Regarding the future, the only thing I can see myself wanting to do is pursuing music. I’ve got no problem with working a normal job if it means I can free up the weekends and evenings to perform and write.

Can you tell us the story behind choosing Jack Bashful as your artist name?

This is a question I always struggle to answer. People always ask me this and I never seem to be able to communicate why I chose that name! Basically, I remember spending a whole night coming up with different names that I thought sounded cool. Jack always seemed to be the name of the main character of every film or TV show I watched, and I knew I would be able to rhyme a lot of things with it. Bashful came as like a testament to what kind of person I’ve always been, which is shy and reserved. But I wanted to be able to embrace that shyness because I can’t change it, so I may as well embrace it. When I’m on stage I can come off as confident and maybe even aggressive, but at the end of the day I’ll always be quiet and self-conscious.

At 21, your style is very refined for someone still relatively young. Have you been rapping for long and what was it that spurred you on to put out an official release?

The thing that inspired me to start writing was actually Ice-T’s documentary The Art of Rap. I watched it for the first time when I was 16, and at that age I think that’s when people are at their most vulnerable to influence, so it really inspired me. Watching that documentary made me realise there’s so much more to hip-hop than just good music.

I wrote my own raps in total secrecy for about 4 years, and I think the reason for the secrecy was because I was afraid of what people would think. I know I’d be discouraged when they told me I’d never get anywhere with it. There were times when I would tell my friends that I couldn’t come out because I was studying, when in reality I would be in my room writing rhymes and making beats. Having them think that I was studying was a lot less embarrassing to me than them knowing I was rapping. I decided to take it seriously and release an EP when I realised just how much I loved doing it. After years of keeping it to myself I thought that I should come out with it because I was finally happy with what I was writing. I knew that people would be judgmental, so I had to wait until I was ready before putting anything out.

 Who would some of your earliest influences been and how have they changed over time?

When it comes to writing songs, I would say that my biggest influences would be Earl Sweatshirt and Alex Turner. I know this is an odd mix but I think they’re two of the smartest and most interesting songwriters in music. I’ve always been a massive Arctic Monkeys fan and I think one of the main reasons I enjoy writing songs so much is listening to them. For some people their guitar riffs and catchy hooks might be their strongest quality but for me it’s always been Alex Turner’s lyricism. He just sounds so intelligent and witty and I’ll always be trying to recreate his style. Earl Sweatshirt is another artist that I’ve been influenced by because there’s just no one else in the world who raps like him. He’s so unbothered by choruses and mainstream formulas, he just raps. And always in crazy rhyme patterns. When it comes to rapping I don’t think there is anyone else who has had more of an influence than him, besides Eminem of course.

Some may see you and think you do not fit into the typical dress sense and style for what many in the country would automatically assume to be that of a 'typical rapper'. In your experience have people been surprised when they learned of your talents?

I know what you mean, but I think that works in my favour. People don’t want to see snapbacks and gold chains anymore, the same way they don’t want to hear outdated music. I want to bring something new to the table in every way, and if I dress like everyone else I wouldn’t be doing that. That being said I don’t spend that much time deliberating on my dress sense! But people have been surprised by my music, and I think that’s more because of my personality rather than what I look like. I think they find it weird that I would choose to follow an ambition that is so ridiculous despite being smart enough to know better. 

Keeping with the idea that you would not match up to people's ideas of 'rapper stereotypes', your lyrical content is no different. What's the writing process like for you and where do you draw inspiration from?

The most important thing for me when writing a song or even just a 16-bar verse is having a crazy beat. And I don’t mean crazy like gritty or over-the-top but just something that I can hear myself rapping on. I really like using obscure beats that I think most people would pass on, but I’m also a sucker for some hood shit. Excuse the term. When I write a song I never have a topic in mind, I always just go with the rhyme scheme and let it happen organically. This usually results in weird tangents, like just the other day I ended up writing a whole song about cowboys and Indians. It’s not the type of thing I imagine people including in their songs but sometimes the weirdest topic can be the most fun to write.

As someone who studies two languages at university were words always of interest to you growing up and do you think over time this lead to your decision to pursue rhyming more seriously?

When it comes to my experience of studying languages and rapping I would have to say that the two are pretty separate. Learning a language uses of a different part of your brain I think, and it’s more about natural ability. Rapping on the other hand is obviously a more creative, and anyone can be a rapper if they practice enough. You can practice a language until you’re blue in the face, but it won’t develop that natural ability.

You are based in Coleraine at the moment and as a result were lucky to have Danny Droppit from the DBMCs record part of your project for you. What was it like working in that environment and were the other guys around at all during the sessions?

Getting the chance to get down to the Rat Lab was a great experience and it definitely made me want to step my game up. I’ve been to a couple of recording studios before, but they were ran by people who have more of a rock and pop background, so being in a hip-hop environment was a relief. I think that getting directed by Danny helped with the overall sound of the songs, he gave me pointers about delivery that I found really helpful and I think it improved the tracks we recorded. I did have some brief interactions with the other lads and I even got to hear some solo stuff from the Evol MC. Hearing that really put me in a bad mood though because it sounded way better than the stuff I’d recorded! I’m really excited to hear whatever project he drops, and I’d love to work with the DBMCs in the future. They’re definitely one of my favourite groups at the minute. TYL is a classic already.

Tell us about the new project, Fictional Clientele. Why did you choose that title?

The reason behind the title is to do with the audience I was aiming at. Hip-hop isn’t as popular as it should be in Ireland, and I sort of felt that the music I was making would fall on deaf ears. I thought that the only person I could think of that would enjoy the kind of music I was making was myself and a handful of other people. I was making music for an audience that didn’t exist, but I made it anyway

Looking at the producer credits it was great to see IAMIAN on there! He is making waves down in Limerick. Could you tell us how that connection came about and also a bit on CBAKL, a name I was unfamiliar with until now

I came across IAMIAN through Facebook actually, after seeing someone posted the links to his music in the IHH group. I was looking for talented producers to supply some instrumentals for the EP, and he was definitely one of the standouts. I like to keep the Irish connection with my music so having beats from him and cbakl on the tape is something I’m proud of. That collaboration came through Instagram, he reached out by showing support of what I was doing, so I asked if he’d fancy collaborating. He sent me over three beats, and I got to work on them straight away. I’m really happy about having an input from such talented producers so early in my career.

Now you have your first release under your belt, have you already gave consideration to what comes next from yourself music wise?

Absolutely. I’ve really been getting in to making beats recently and I really want to release an instrumental album or beat tape. I’ve always lacked confidence when it came to producing but I’ve got a lot better at it, and I get so much enjoyment out of it. I’m also hoping to release another EP in summer, as I’ve already got a few tracks that are ready to be recorded. I want to release as much music as possible by the end of the year.

Anything you would like to add?

I’d just like to say thanks to you for taking the time to interview me, I’m really honored to be involved with what you’re doing at 5thElement. I wish that I could have been exposed to the sort of thing you guys have planned when I was younger, I think it’s such a positive way to get young people into hip-hop. Keep up the good work!

You can catch Jack Bashful performing live in Belfast at the city's leading hip-hop night Elixir on the 19th May in Voodoo. Full details can be found below

 Elixir #6 featuring Gasp