When most people think of hip-hop, they think of the art of rapping, MC’s spitting rhymes into a microphone. Others think of the luxurious lifestyle many rappers brag about in their songs, the aura of cool brought on by flashy cars, scantily clad women, and excessive jewelry that seems mandatory for those seeking a career in hip-hop. But hip-hop is so much more than rapping and being cool, as professor, educator, and rapper A.D. Carson, Ph.D., was quick to remind me MCing, breaking (breakdancing), graffiti and DJing are considered the four pillars of hip-hop; the four subcultures in which the spirit and art of the genre spawned. My first impression of B-boy Fidget intertwining breaking and rapping at the Nectar Lounge was how new it was. But that point of view lacks historical context. B-boy Fidget’s act is an ode to the origins of hip-hop, a renewed page from the original manuscript laid down in the South Bronx, New York City in the late 1970s by Cool Herc and so many other OGs.
Exercise Your Hustle Muscle
B-Boy Fidget was born Marcus Sharpe in 1984. A Seattle kid through and through growing up going to shows at the Showbox and attending Garfield Highschool. While he never obtained his diploma and is only a couple credits short of a college degree due to a running start debacle, Fidget quickly proved that educational receipts weren’t enough to hold down his “hustle muscle,” as he calls it.
Something he probably strengthened as a teenager when he was rehabbing a serious back injury that doctors said he would never recover from. Years of physical therapy, physical diligence, and a disciplined gym regimen – cut to him breaking like a 25-year-old at the Nectar Lounge last December and it’s plainly obvious they were wrong.
Fidget has only been back in Seattle for about three years. He took a 10-year excursion into Atlanta where he took his music and hustle to new levels. He still owns the studio where he worked with incredible artists like 2 Chainz, Usher, Bizarre (of D-12), Black Eyed Peas and Tech N9ne. Fidget breakdances in the “Watch Out” music video with 2-Chainz’ meme’d out head over Fidget’s body.
Besides collaborating in large and small ways with some of music’s biggest names, Fidget learned how to grind the independent music industry and saw firsthand the commercial viability of being a hometown hero. You don’t need to be Kendrick Lamar to make it in hip-hop, you just need a dedicated fan base of people who fuck with your brand, buy merchandise, music, and concert tickets. “There’s no wrong when it’s art,” he says.
He came back to Seattle with a decade’s worth of work and his own recording studio under his belt. On top of the music, Fidget has his own merchandise line that’s been 10 years in the making. F-Rock is short for Fraggle Rock, which is the name of Fidget’s break-dancing crew. Slinging dope hoodies became a consistent method of generating enough income to fund his music endeavors.
Taking that one step further he started F-Rocking Printing to create his and other’s merch, which created another layer of self-sustainability and creative freedom. “It kind of came together organically,” he explains. F-Rock Printing has had its fair of commercial success as well, even producing 40 percent of the world’s head spin beanies at one point. “We have a stronghold on the breakdance and b-boy market,” Fidget states. From snug royal blue hoodies to bright red fashion-forward joggers, this is dancer-friendly streetwear with some break-crew flavor.
Fraggle Rock and Rap School With Vitamin D
F-Rock and much of Fidget’s persona and dress are heavily inspired by the ‘80s and ‘90s. From the Bruce Lee and acid wash t-shirts he sells, to his own perfectly leveled flat top and flashy wardrobe choices. After his mom introduced him to dance when he was young and the help of his older brothers who took up dance as a hobby when they were younger, it just stuck.
Dancing became incredibly communal, especially after spending ample amounts of time at the Jefferson Community Center where kids from neighborhoods all over the city would rally twice a week to breakdance, trade moves, and form crews. After falling in love with it, he delved deep into hip-hop and it’s easy to see why his connection with those decades runs deep and bleeds into his wardrobe choices, merchandise offerings, and musical sounds to this day.
“There’s no wrong when it’s art.”
Fidget learned a lot about hustling and collaboration in Atlanta’s music scene, but he learned the fundamentals in Seattle from legend Vitamin D. Some credit Vitamin D as creating the “Seattle sound,” which in my ears is a heavy emphasis on sounds like classic string instruments and heavy piano. Black Umbrella Artists like Raz Simone, Sam Lachow, as well as producers like Jester are just a few of the many representations to this classic Puget sound that Vitamin D is no doubt a founding father of.
Collaboration Over Competition
After a decade of collaboration down south, Fidget believes Seattle’s scene is following suit. “Everyone’s thinking bigger,” he says optimistically. He ponders what collaborations with Raz Simone and J-Park would look like and commends the talents of other artists around the town like Kung Foo Grop. Fidget taught J-Park’s producer Cha Cha how to make beats, and J-Park is a fellow b-boy, so some kind of collaboration feels destined somewhere down the road. Fidget did hint at some tracks he created with his mentor Vitamin D, be on the lookout for those in the future.
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