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The History of VII GEMS


VII Gems was started in 1997 to be a special battle chapter of Rock Steady Crew led by Ken Swift, but ended up becoming its own entity and movement. The concept for the group was all about battling, win, lose or draw. Inspired by the Kung Fu movie "The 7 Grandmasters" released in 1978 (directed by Joseph Kuo) in which the main character, an old Kung Fu master about to retire, embarks on a journey to challenge other Grandmasters to prove his skills in multiple styles.


A big part of the inspiration for VII Gems dealt with mastering different styles. In Breaking, usually a person was known more for mastery in one style, .ie. spins, air, freezes, footwork. The objective initiated by Ken Swift for the group was to master each other's specialties, or styles, that they were weaker in to be able to respond to any moves thrown at any of them individually. As things moved forward for the group, it was clear that there was important traditional information about their styles and dance culture that many people around the world were not aware of.


They realized their need to pass along this information-- or "Gems" of knowledge to those whom were eager to learn-- which also mirrored the traditions of martial arts training shown in the movie. Ken shortened 7 Grandmasters, first to VIIGMS, (shortening Grandmasters) but then finally into VII Gems. Over the last 20 years VII Gems has molded itself into an exclusive all city and international Hip Hop movement of dancers, DJ's, writers and MC's dedicated to the preservation and traditions of Hip Hop Culture.

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