FATLACE recently had the chance to sit down with young veteran B-Boy (Breaker), Kareem. In the interview below, Kareem talks about his early mentors, accomplishments, gives advice and insight, and also talks about his journey into becoming a physical therapist.

Kareem @ Chelles Battle Pro 2014 (France)
Kareem @ Chelles Battle Pro 2014 (France)

(FATLACE) Go ahead and Introduce yourself man: 

(Kareem): Yo, What’s  up! My name is Kareem, I’m a B-Boy born in Richmond, California but raised in Sacramento California.

How long have you been dancing and who were your early mentors? 

I’ve been dancing now, for 17 years. My main mentors have been Paulskeee, Gerald, Ajax, Iron Monkey, Charles, Momo, Machine, Cros1, Reveal, and Erik.

Word up…Definitely some influential people in the game. Ok, so you’ve been dancing for a while now and have won a lot of battles and competitions…but what are some of your most memorable victories and experiences in your career as a B-Boy? 

I think the most memorable victory has to be winning Battle of the Year and winning UK B-Boy Championships. Those victories were great but I think what holds a higher level of appreciation to me is just realizing that I get to travel the world and get paid to do it and all because of dancing.

Dam dope, congrats! So who would you say inspires you today? (Older B-Boys and Newer B-Boys…or even non-dancers)

When I first started dancing crews like Rock Force, Soul Control, Climax, Renegades, LA breakers, Massive Monkeys, Havikoro, Flying steps, Enemy squad, Battle squad, all of these crews helped motivate me when I was young and I still continue to get motivated by these crews. But I think now, I get a lot of my inspiration from seeing little kids dance because you can really see the joy they get from dancing.

ILLEST Sponsored B-Boys, Kareem and Morris, after winning Full Force 20th Anniversary, 2on2 Battle.
ILLEST Sponsored B-Boys, Kareem and Morris, after winning Full Force 20th Anniversary, 2on2 Battle.

Nice man. With that being said, how do you feel about the scene today? (Digital Era, and Sponsors/Investors) and how do you see it changing in the next 5 years? 

I think the scene is great, however things have changed a lot though. I really appreciate the VHS era (pre YouTube era) when you didn’t get footage of the event until a month or so after the event happened. I fee like people were more original before YouTube came into the picture. It was harder to copy someone else’s moves because you didn’t get a chance to really study someone. But I really like YouTube for that same reason… it helps dancers get exposure faster. Also, the sponsors that are coming into B-Boying are really great. This dance is just as hard as BMXing , skating, racing or any other kind of sport. Being able to get assistance from a sponsor to be able to pay for training time is a great thing and to get assistance with clothing is also great.

So tell us what have you’ve been up to? (Last Couple years to now) And what are you currently getting ready for? 

These past couple of years I’ve been a full-time student for physical therapy and traveling a lot as well. I moved from Sacramento, California to Las Vagas, Nevada two years ago to attend a physical therapy school. When I first got to Las Vegas, I got offered a part-time contract for one of the Cirque Du Soleil shows on the strip of Las Vegas. I’ve been performing as well as preparing for battles and going to school. I just graduated from school December of 2014 and since I’ve been since then, I got offered to go to Australia to do another theater show for 5 months. So right now Im preparing to go live in Australia for a few months.

Haha dam, you sound busy. What inspired you to get into Physical Therapy?

The reason I got into physical therapy is because I had a really bad rotator cuff injury when I was 16 years of age. Doctors told me that It was going to require surgery. But I also I consulted a physical therapist  and he told me that if I would get surgery, I would not be able to bare weight on my shoulder like I need to. But if I wanted to dance with no restrictions, it would be best if I received physical therapy, instead of surgery. So I did physical therapy for six months and after that I was injury free. So in a nutshell, physical therapy saved my dancing career and I realized that I would like to help people the same way my physical therapist help me with my shoulder injury.

Dam, that’s awesome man. So where do you see your self as a B-Boy in the next 5-6 years? 

Ummm thats a really good question, I honestly don’t know. I feel that I will be judging and teaching a lot more and will probably not battling actively as much.

What do you feel personally needs to change in the B-Boy Community in order for things to progress effectively?

I feel that B-Boys need to stop putting each other down so much out side of the battles. Ya, in battles we are supposed to try to clown and smoke each other, but doing this outside of battles is just ignorance in my opinion. And also, we as a whole need to have more of a business mindset, instead of trying to say whats real and whats fake. A whole lot of dancers try to dictate what is supposed to be “Real Hip-Hop and what’s “Fake Hip-Hop”. For me I don’t really think anything is fake or real. Hip-Hop for me is just being you. Can’t necessarily say whats fake and whats real. I feel the people who are trying to dictate whats real and whats fake, is what really needs to change in B-Boying.

Nice. Any advice you’d like to give new B-Boys/B-Girls or those that have been in the game for a while and want to better establish their name?

I feel the best advice I can give to anyone is, just to have fun! Anyone can establish a name. What really matters is how your name is looked as. Some people can have a name for being a friendly person, being a dope dancer, or being a person who gossips. It really depends on what kind of a established name you want. But ultimately having a good time and enjoying the dance was the key for me to establish the name I have.

Good stuff man. Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us Kareem. One love!

Kareem: Thanks for having me! Peace

@bboykareem @donovan_707