Breaking (breakdance) music: Where to get music for bboying/breakdancing.

Breaking (breakdance) music: Where to get music for bboying/breakdancing.

Bboys – known by the media as “breakdancers” – originally danced to funk breaks. The “break” is the part of the music track where the drummer “breaks loose” and is usually the most intense part of the track. Often there are few or no vocals, just intense percussion and maybe a heavy bass riff and simple melody to accompany it. Because the “break” is such an intense part of the track, people started dancing to it in all kinds of crazy ways including getting right down on the floor. Legend has it that this is why DJ Kool Herc (considered by many as THE father of Hip-Hop) experimented by getting two turntables and mixing the break of one track straight into the next. This meant the intense dance could develop into what we now call bboying or breaking (break-dancing in the media), MCs could rap over the instrumental breaks, and the beginning of what we now call Hip Hop music was born.

BBoys/breakers/breakdancers now have a huge canon of songs that they dance too, and it expands all the time thanks to the hard work of underground DJs digging (swapping records, sifting through charity shops, beg borrowing and stealing from anyone with a music collection) for undiscovered records from that musically amazing time period. There are also ton of Hip Hop tracks such as Don’t Sweat the Technique and Scenario) that are consisdered part of the bboy canon.

Anyway, enough history. I expect you’d just like me to hurry up and give you the breaks!

If you are an aspiring bboy or bgirl then it is a good idea to do some of your own digging – whenever you hear a song you like, try to find out what it’s called – ask the DJ, they might tell you (if its not one of their super secret songs that only they play). If you like a track, try to find others by that artist. But to get started, try out some of these albums below:

Music for breaking/bboying/breakdance – Albums:

Various artists – Ultimate Breakdance
Various Artists – Ultimate Breakdance – US version

If you’re new to breaking, save yourself some time and just buy this album. Ultimate Breakdance is unsual as its not “underground”, but all the tracks on it are legit original bboy tunes. My favorite is the Erik B and Rakim remix of Bobby Byrd’s I Know You Got Soul.

James Brown – 20 All-Time Greatest Hits!
James Brown – 20 All-Time Greatest Hits! US Version

Any bboy or bgirl (breakdancer) worth their fat laces will tell you that James Brown is the MAN when it comes to breaking music. Many of the original bboys cite his powerful stage presence and funky, dynamic dancing as their first inspiration. Its unlikely you could go to any bboy jam and NOT here one of the songs from this album.

Electro: the Definitive Electro and Hip Hop Collection UK only

Another great collection for the beginner bboy. Again there are some hardcore classics on here like Erik B and Rakim’s “Paid in Full”, as well as some of the lesser known and maybe slightly cheesy tracks from when breaking exploded in the 80s “breakdance” fad, like RSC’s “Hey you we’re the Rock Steady Crew”.

For US readers, this album is a good alternative:

Breakdance Classics – Oldschool Edition

Music for breaking/bboying/breakdance – Funk:

James Brown Breaking (breakdance) music:

James Brown -20 All-Time Greatest Hits!

This one is in the Breakdance Albums section above, but its so good I’m gonna put it in twice! If you only had 1 hour to learn about bboying, you could do a lot worse than just listening to this album! James Brown RIP.

And some singles:

James Brown – Give It Up Or Turn It Loose

James Brown – Soul Power (Parts 1 & 2)

James Brown – The Boss

James Brown – Mother Popcorn

James Brown – I Got The Feeling

Other funk music for breaking (breakdance):

The Mexican (feat. Babe Ruth) (Deekline & Tim Healey Mix)

Bobby Byrd – I Know You Got Soul

Love the Life You Live (Album Version)

Music for breaking/bboying/breakdance – Hip Hop:

While bboying (breakdancing) was originally danced to funk breaks, these funk breaks were also being used by MCs to rap over. Because they use original funk breaks, or at least have the same musical structure and *feeling* to them, a lot of these earlier Hip Hop records are danced to by bboys and some have become real classics.

Hip Hop Albums for breaking (breakdance):

Paid In Full – Eric B & Rakim

Not every track on this album is for bboying, but its as real and raw as Hip Hop gets, so don’t just skip the ones you can’t break to!

Erik B and Rakim – Follow the Leader

Same as above, not all of these are straight up breaking tunes, but definitely an important part of any bboy or bgirl’s music collection.

Beastie Boys – Ill Communication

More classic Hip Hop and a couple of great breaking tracks by the Beastie Boys.

This page will be updated all the time, so be sure to add it to your favorites!

If you found this page helpful, please share!