Meet the 7 members of the Electric Boogaloos
© Jason Halayko/Red Bull Content Pool
They're without a doubt the one crew you can't ignore when talking about the street dance style of popping. These are the crew members that pioneered the style.
Hot off the hype of breaking and locking in the early '70s, a dancer by the name of Boogaloo Sam was inspired in Fresno, California, USA to create something totally new. Fixated on the Soul Train dancers he’d watched on television and the moves of famous crew The Lockers, ‘Boogaloo Sam’, his brother ‘Popin Pete’ and cousin ‘Skeeter Rabbit’ formed The Electric Boogaloos, who'd soon become one the most iconic dance groups in history.
Putting a fresh rhythmic and animated spin on locking, the Electric Boogaloos propelled popping and funk culture to the masses. Their signature style inspired new genres, such as creeping and tutting, as well as a long list of legends to hit the dancefloor – and in many ways outshone its locking predecessors.
While popping’s history books today may have several different versions claiming to be the original story of how the dance form truly came to be, few can dispute the phenomenal impact during its rise that the OGs of the Electric Boogaloos had on the scene and the popping heavyweights from 1977 onward they helped put on the map.
Here's the lowdown on the members of Electric Boogaloos:
1. Boogaloo Sam
Credited as the creator of popping and boogaloo, Sam Solomon aka ‘Boogaloo Sam’ founded the Electronic Boogaloo Lockers, later known as the Electric Boogaloos, in 1977. (The name ‘Boogaloo’ apparently coming from a song by James Brown of the same name) .
With iconic poppers such as ‘Popin Pete’, ‘Skeeter Rabbit’, ‘Suga Pop’ and ‘Mr Wiggles’ of the Rock Steady Crew dancing in Electric Boogaloos there was little doubt that they would become a huge success. Booglaoo Sam himself appeared on Soul Train, and featured in numerous music videos and crews across the globe. Like Canada’s Streetscape, the Electric Boogaloos received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Choreographers Ball in 2012 presented by original member of The Lockers, Tony Basil.
2. Popin Pete
Timothy Solomon aka ‘Popin Pete’ started learning how to dance from his brother Boogaloo Sam in 1978. A natural popper, he went on to innovate styles/moves like crazy legs, ET, spider man and sleepy style, and is respected as a pioneer of the scene. And all before catching the eye of Michael Jackson, who he’d work with for over two decades, landing choreography and performance credits that include Thriller, Beat It, Ghosts and most recently Yeah x3 with Chris Brown, in which he dances with Brown outside a store bearing his moniker.
3. Mr. Wiggles
Some of the luckiest of dancers manage to battle their way into a crew, but very few can say they danced in two. Not just any two at that, but two of the greatest. Holding down a spot on the South Bronx’s legendary B-Boy crew before crossing the country and putting his popping skills to the test as a member of the Electric Boogaloos – Wiggles is still headlining workshops today.
4. Skeeter Rabbit
The late, great Skeeter Rabbit started out dancing as a young kid growing up in the streets of Los Angeles. Having started out as a locker Skeet was first turned on to popping by his cousins Popin Pete and Boogaloo Sam, who showed him the ropes and recruited him to Electric Boogaloos, where he quickly made his own mark as a pioneer and left a legacy on the scene.
5. Suga Pop
A firm fixture of the Electric Boogaloos and busy throughout the scene, Suga Pop worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. From Michael Jackson, James Brown, and Lionel Richie to Sheila E in the 1980s and 1990s, Suga Pop toured as a dancer and on TV in performances such as Herbie Hancock's Rockit at the 1984 Grammy Awards and danced in Janet Jackson's That's The Way Love Goes, all before trying his hand as a music producer. He also performed with and/or produced hip-hop acts such as A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Cypress Hill, Brand and LL Cool J.
6. Pop N Taco
He might not have been an offical member of Electric Boogaloos, but Bruno ‘Pop N Taco’ Falcon shared the stage with the OGs from the crew many times, and is quick to wax lyrical about how heavily the Electric Boogaloos and poppers like Popin Pete and Skeeter Rabbit influenced him whenever he gets the chance. A legend in his own right, Pop danced on both Breakin films and gave lessons to Michael Jackson often. He went on to dance in Smooth Criminal and Moonwalker and performed live with MJ, as well as Lionel Richie and in Chaka Khan’s I Feel For You.
7. Boogaloo Shrimp
Gaining attention for his moves and unique style MIchael Chambers' sister decided to make her brother a custom coat with his dance name ‘Boogaloo Shrimp’ on the back. Though he wasn’t an official Electric Boogaloo member, Boogaloo Shrimp swapped moves and shared ideas and styles with Popin Pete and Pop N’ Taco throughout his career. Appearing in several music videos, television shows and on various tours, overshadowed of course by his hugely famous role as Turbo in both Breakin’ films. Boogaloo Shrimp’s dancing had an impact so huge a documentary of his life is currently said to be in the works.