LOCKSPIRATION posts will feature lockers from all over the world who have inspired me in some way. I wanted to start by making a post dedicated to my FIRST locking teacher: LICORICE LLOYDD and his group the FANTASTIC POPPERS.
Licorice Lloydd and his brother Boogaloo Storm are from Toronto, Canada and they have been dancing since they were kids in the 1980’s, with a particular love for popping and locking. In 1996 they formed the Fantastic Poppers and began their mission of spreading knowledge of Funk style dances around Toronto.
During this time b-boying was beginning to regain popularity and there were a number of events, battles and showcases where they would appear to promote the lesser known styles of popping and locking. I first met Lloydd and Storm at Dyzee’s legendary event, Back 2 Da Underground, in 2002 and by that time they were already very active and had a reputation of being a source for locking and popping knowledge. When we first met I was 4 years into the breaking scene but was starting to find an interest in locking. I’ll never forget the day we met and both Lloydd and his brother were so welcoming of someone who wanted to learn more about locking, they showed me some basic moves right on the spot and they even gave me some buttons!
One day Lloydd invited me over to his place and he explained to me a lot of the basics of locking as well as showing me footage of The Lockers for the first time. After that, I was hooked on locking! We stayed in contact and would train together and get down at various local events and parties. There was a point when I was trying to learn many dance styles including breaking, popping and locking all at once and began to spread myself thin. Lloydd was the one who encouraged me to focus on locking. He eventually invited me in to be a member of the FPs and was instrumental in connecting me with Loose Canon, my first locking partner. Personally, Lloydd has been a very huge inspiration and mentor in my dance career and I am very grateful for all that he has shared selflessly over the years. But there is so much more Lloyd and Storm have done over the years to influence the Canadian (& International) funk styles scene.
Before the Internet & Youtube made learning about street dance more accessible, it was hard to find footage or instructional videos on how to lock or pop. The Fantastic Poppers released a series of VHS tapes (and eventually DVDs) dedicated to these styles. With the exception of the tapes released by the Electric Boogaloos (another big inspiration!) during the late 1990’s, or the trading of personal footage, it was rare to see such tapes. I know many people in North America and even Europe and Asia consider these tapes to be some of their first glimpses into the world of locking and popping.
Once the FP’s got a website up they began posting small clips online. Again, this was before Youtube so they had to deal with bandwidth issues from too many downloads on their own! This is one of my favourite clips of Lloydd getting down at Back 2 Da Underground during a Funk styles showcase in 2001.
FUNK FO YO FEET was an annual event organized by the Fantastic Poppers. The first edition was in 2002 and I believe it was the FIRST stand alone funk styles dance event in Canada (possibly North America) that was dedicated to just popping and locking. Many events at that time were coupled with larger b-boy events (B-Boy Summit, Freestyle Session, etc). FFYF had a popping battle, locking showcases and plenty of get down time in the early years. As the locking scene grew, a locking battle was eventually added as well. It brought together a lot of dancers from Toronto, Montreal and other parts of Canada and the USA! Many memorable battles took place and some of the freshest music was heard courtesy of Toronto’s DJ Son of S.O.U.L.
Here’s a promo video from the 2005 and 2006 editions:
One of the other major contributions by the FP’s was BUSTIN OUT, a full 2-hour theatre show that featured popping, locking and b-boying. There were two performances in 2005 which featured many of the Toronto scene’s top street dancers and other special guests. Some known crews involved included: Supernaturalz, Rhythmatic Funk Movement, Boogie Brats, Ground Illusionz, and the Fantastic Poppers. Below is the show’s poster as well as a promotional video.
On top of all this, the FP’s held monthly drop-in practice sessions, taught classes, judged battles, distributed CDs & clothing, and even appeared in music videos like this one below!
More recently, Lloydd has been working on music and has made some fresh videos as Dr. Funk Lloydd.
I think it’s safe to say the Fantastic Poppers are true contributors and ground-breakers for locking and popping in Canada. Their work needs to be remembered and if you ever see them at a jam, be sure to show them love and thank them for all they have done!
Much love and thanks Licorice Lloydd and Boogaloo Storm!