DJ Steve “Breeze” Brewer
I stopped by The Dating Game last night for Lil Punkin’s Monday night set to hear the legendary Steve “Breeze” Brewer throw down in the booth. Since I’ve started dancing I’ve always been able to depend on Steve “Breeze” to play some of the best classic Steppin music you’ve ever heard in your life. That is not to say that Steve can’t play New Skool music, he’s just one of my favorites (along with Mellow Khris, DJ Sam Chatman, and DJ Darren) when it comes to playing the classics. So you might imagine my amazement when I heard about 5 new skool records in a row.
I walked into the booth and asked Steve “What the hell is going on tonight!” (Playfully of course) Steve laughed and said, “If I play the classics I’ll clear the floor in here.” I was stunned by his response because outside of Dominique Robinson, Dwain Saulsberry, and Keisha Brisco there wasn’t a single other soul in the place that would seem remotely close to being called new skool.
So Steve and I embarked on a social experiment of sorts, where he picked the New Skool songs and I picked a few of the Old Skool songs, and we watched what happened to the floor. What I saw was absolutely astounding. Steve was playing a new skool instrumental record and the floor was packed. The very next song he put on was E. J. Johnson’s (Lead singer of Enchantment) song “It’s True (I Love You) and every single couple left the floor except for one. The very next song Steve put on was K’Jon’s “Beautiful Thing” and he said, “Watch what happens T.” It was amazing … in seconds the floor was packaged again.
I said, “Steve, you have to play popular classics for this kinda crowd.” Steve said, “Okay, I’ll put on the Whispers’ ‘More of the Night.’”. The floor actually packed pretty good with this record. Steve followed it up with The Whispers’ “Dirty Dancing” and the floor stayed packed. Steve said, “Okay T, maybe you’re on to something.” Then I suggested, “Don’t Tell Me, Tell Her.” Steve put it on and the floor emptied except for 2 couples. Steve put another new skool record on and the Steppers ran back to the floor. I then suggested my all-time favorite record, “Fazon” by Sopwith Camel and Steve said, “You’re going to empty the floor on this record.” To his surprise, the floor packed again.
Even so, Steve definitely opened my eyes on the influence of new skool music on this generation of Steppers. While the Old Skool records were hit or miss, the new skool records kept the floor packed … even with an older crowd. Steve said, “I like to see people dance and have a good time, so I play what keeps the floor packed.” I had no choice but to agree with him after seeing for my own eyes what the music did to the crowd. The conclusion we both came to however, is that even among a crowd that enjoys new skool music, there is still room for great classic music, as long as you play the right songs.
On the other hand, I now realize that the reason the DJ’s don’t play the music I grew to love when I first started Steppin in 2000/2001 is because the masses of Steppers don’t appreciate it. Being labeled “Old Skool” these days seems like a death certificate for a DJ and since many of the vets still want to make money for their craft, they’re forced to conform. DJ Nick, who was also in the booth during our experiment said, “As the times change, the music will evolve.” I said, “So what happens to all of the great Steppin music?” Steve “Breeze” replied, “It’s going to disappear?”
I knew the answer, but it hurt me to hear him say that. Am I the only Stepper that’s sad about this? Am I the only Stepper from the New Skool era that loathes looped instrumentals and remixed classics?