Born Curtis R. Brown on April 18, 1960, in the Bronx NY, Grandmaster Caz got his start in Hip-Hop in 1974. Originally known as DJ Casanova Fly, he teamed up with his high school friend Louie Lou aka DJ Disco Wiz and began his storied journey through the annals of Hip-Hop history.
Caz and Wiz were in a Bronx park having DJ battle in the summer of 1977 during the NYC Blackout! In 1978 Caz would pen the lyrics that would eventually be used in Rap music's first hit song "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang, inadvertently making Caz "Hip-Hop's first ghostwriter.” In 1980 Caz became Captain of the legendary Coldcrush Brothers and they proceeded to become one of the most influential groups in Hip-Hop history. Everyone from Run DMC to Big Daddy Kane, Will Smith, Rakim, Tupac, Nas, Biggie, Wu Tang, Freddie Foxx, Jay-Z, and more credit Caz and his Coldcrush Brothers as early influences and some have made their declarations on record.
"I'm overchargin ni**as for what they did to the Coldcrush" – Izzo lyrics by Jay-Z
"I remember Mr. Magic, Flash, Grandmaster Caz" – Tupac Shakur
"Aint Nothin Like The Old School" – Tupac Shakur
"Shout out to Grandmaster Flash and to Caz...." – Jay-Z on "I Do It for Hip-Hop" by Ludacris featuring Nas, Jay-Z
Dedication from Will Smith aka The Fresh Prince on "Live at Union Square"
Caz’s Coldcrush Brothers recorded the “Weekend in 1981” single on Elite Records, then proceeded to make their film debut in the Hip-Hop movie Wildstyle. They traveled to Japan and introduced Hip-Hop to a whole new audience. Caz recorded a few singles with the group on the Tuff City label as well as solo singles and eventually the album "The Grandest of Them All."
Since the resurgence and interest in the early days of Hip-Hop, Caz has been a frequent panelist, speaker, historian, and ambassador for the culture and an example of steadfastness and longevity. He has continued to re-invent himself and remain current in skill, know how, and old school swagger and was featured on Grammy winning artists’ Macklemore and Lewis's first single on their 2016 Album. The song Downtown went platinum and the video featuring Caz, Melle Mel, and Kool Mo Dee won a European MTV Video Award.
For 18 years Caz has been taking tourists from around the world on his Hush Hip-Hop sightseeing Tours of NYC and is Host of the Tools of War Summer Park Jams. Caz is in constant demand for interviews from media outlets around the world and collaborations from artists. Caz published a book of his lyrics aptly titled "Written" and appeared in rapper/actor Ice T's directorial film debut "Something From Nothing, The Art Of Rap," which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. Caz is prominently featured in the Netflix Documentary "Hip Hop Evolution" and his Casanova Fly persona is featured in Netflix series "The Get Down." He's been voted #11 of the 50 Greatest MC's by Blaze magazine, 6th Greatest of all time by Kool Moe Dee in his book "There's a God on the Mic," and voted #1 of the great MC’s starting from 1979 by Complex Magazine. Caz is widely regarded as one of the best mf'rs to ever do this sh*t. (Ice T, The Art of Rap!)
Caz has been recognized and acknowledged by the Hip-Hop community and industry for his many contributions to the culture. He is a member of the DMC Technics DJ Hall of Fame, The Zulu Nation Hall of Fame, and The Bronx Walk of Fame with Proclamations from The UN, Brooklyn Councilwoman's Office, The Brooklyn Borough President, The NYC Council, The Bronx Chamber of Commerce, and two Bronx Borough Presidents Adolfo Carrion and current BP Ruben Diaz Jr. Grandmaster Caz also serves on the board of The Bronx Music Heritage Center, The Windows of Hip-Hop Advisory Council, and The Kennedy Center's Hip Hop Council and Advisory Board and hosts a show on LL Cool J’s Rock the Bells Radio Platform as one of its icons. His name is synonymous with the words Hip-Hop and Legendary!
Choreographer & Performing Artist
Gabriel 'KWIKSTEP' Dionisio Executive Producer and Artistic Director, FCP
Hip-Hop Dancer / Choreographer / Actor / Artistic Director / Gabriel 'KWIKSTEP' Dionisio was born and raised in New York City. Kwikstep started dancing as a young child and was inspired by Soul Train, the Jackson 5 and the Duo 'Shields and Yarnell' and started doing 'The Robot'. Later, he began to pursue the techniques known as Electric Boogaloo aka (Popping) and Locking. In the early eighties when he attended local block parties, roller skating rinks, and clubs, he joined his friends who were breaking and up rocking, Kwikstep was on his way on becoming well rounded in all of these street dance styles. His ﬁrst tour was with the 'New York Express' in China at the age of nineteen, which took him on a 12-city tour. By 1992 he had received a Bessie award for collective choreography in the Rhythm Technicians and founded the internationally known Full Circle in 1992. In 1996, Kwikstep and his wife Rokafella established Full Circle as a non-proﬁt, internationally acclaimed, Hip-hop collective known as Full Circle Productions aka Full Circle Souljahs. Today, he is an international icon in breaking and is best known for his smooth style, versatility and signature head spins.
Kwikstep has performed in PBS's Peabody Award-winning 'Everybody Dance Now,' the Great Performances 20th Anniversary Special, and Kurt Weill's 'September Songs,' which was nominated for an Emmy Award. He was a principal dancer in companies such as Rhythm Technicians and GhettOriginal, the creators of 'Jam on the Groove,' which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for outstanding choreography in 1996. Will Smith called on Kwikstep to represent breaking in the new millennium performance in Washington D.C. for Bill Clinton. He has done commercial work for Dr. Pepper, Levi’s, Stride Gum and a Spike Lee commercial for IAM.com. He has also appeared in ﬁlms, TV, and video work which include Brown Sugar starring Sanaa Lathan, Missy Elliott, KRS-One, Fabolous, and VH1 Hip Hop Honors. Kwikstep was also featured in the Netﬂix series 'The Get Down' directed by Baz Lehrmann.
Kwikstep recently danced with the Phil Harmonic Orchestra at Lincoln Center at the David Geffen Hall in a Hip hop dance rendition of 'The Fire Bird.' He has also choreographed and created music for a new piece called 'Dragon Cipher' for the Nai Ni Chen Dance Company which will be premiering at NJPAC Winter 2023.
In an effort to make students aware of the Hip-Hop cultural lifestyle and fundamental movement along with the history and the meaning behind Hip Hop as a culture, Kwikstep has taught his highly sought-after workshops in Hip-Hop technique at ADF, Broadway Dance Center, Peri Dance, Central Park Summer Stage, and Beat Riders Camp for Red Bull. Kwikstep co-directed, created, and produced music for the score of the B-girl documentary, All the Ladies Say. He’s judged dance events such as The Battle of the Year in Germany and Red Bull’s BC ONE, IBE and R-16. He mentors students who desire to explore the possibilities of a career in performance art through Full Circle Prod. Kwikstep has also worked internationally with the US State
Department as a Hip-Hop Cultural Ambassador. Stateside, Kwikstep provides options to at-risk teens of today who are, like Kwikstep once was, presented with the challenges of street life as the only way to survive. 'It’s not about the moves… It’s about the movement of a people, and when you move with the people it helps you move and not just survive through life but live your life.'