You are either already familiar with krump and have watched at least a few videos of people krumping, or you have never heard of this type of dance and came here to solve the mystery of what it really is. Yes, as already mentioned, it’s a type of dance – street dance, to be more precise. But hold on, before we continue to introducing you to krump, a brief reminder about the elements of hip-hop is surely necessary. Hip hop has 4 main elements – DJing, MCing, b-boying and graffiti. We all know what DJing and graffiti are, so there’s no need to explain those further. You may or may not have heard about the term MCing, but even if you haven’t, you actually do know what it is, only “rapping“ and “rhyming“ are much more popular terms today. When it comes to b-boying, it mainly refers to the type of street dance often called breaking or breakdance, but it can refer to any type of movement and dance which came from the hip-hop culture, including popping, locking, waving, turfing, boogaloo and many others, while among them – krump.
Clowning vs. Krumping
Clowning is, in a way, a forerunner of krump. In the early 1990s, Thomas Johnson, better known as Tommy the Clown used to dance at children’s birthday parties and other entertaining events with his crew. They would paint their faces and dress like clowns since their main role on the events was to entertain the crowd with their dancing. Although it’s the beginning of krumping and very similar to it, clowning includes less aggressive and movements which are not that exaggerated in comparison to krump. Understandably, the competition between the dancers was not that noticeable as it is among the krumpers, since there were not many battles between the dancers, as they were usually working together to amuse others.
It is impossible to talk about krumping without mentioning Tight Eyez (Ceasare Willis) and Big Mijo (Jo’Artis Ratti), who are today considered to be the creators of krump. Both of them developed this style of street dance and brought it such energy, expression, strength and creativity that it still seems impossible to compete with them. If you haven’t heard of them, make sure to watch some of the videos of their sick kill-offs (the term will be explained in the next paragraph). Watching them dance feels like sound has transformed into human body – they are perfectly describing all the sounds present in the music through their movement.
- Battle – The competition in which two or more dances are freestyling against one another. The winner is chosen by the audience (hypers) or the judges.
- Biter – A biter is someone who watches other dancers so they could copy their moves.
- Chypher – A chypher is a non-competitive kind of freestyling. A crew (or crews) usually stands in a circle formation, while one person is dancing in the middle, and others are hyping.
- Hyping – The hypers are all the present people who surround the one dancing, supporting them, reacting to their movements and, well, literally hyping them to keep coming up with even better moves.
- Kill-off – In a battle, a dance is killed-off when the other dancer’s moves were so amazing that the hypers got thrilled to the point where they surround the dancer and the battle is over.
If you got interested in krump and want to find out more about its origins, make sure to watch the documentary movie Rize released in 2005 and directed by David LaCapelle, starring Tommy the Clown, Tight Eyez, Lil’ C, Miss Prissy and many other great krumpers. On the beginning of the movie, it’s noted that the footage has not been sped up in any way, which is a good indicator of how fast and energetic krump is. No spoilers, you are going to have to watch the movie!