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This Queen's Honours

Lucy Crowe

10 compositions across several scrollable pages, providing an essential selection of the UK's recent/ more not so recent Tribute Chart favourites.  Kicking off with an album that spent a whopping 58 weeks in the official top 40 back in 1989, 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul - launching features by other global stars with huge hits, including Mr Steen from Denmark; Ata from Finland; and the fabulous The OPP collab with Fly No Filter in Leeds; all as tribute echoing Ojo Taiye's This Lotus is a Rabbit inside a tribute to Belhacel's Club and Street Dances: An Art of Remembrance.

This Queen's Honours documents the punctums in This Lotus is a Rabbit. These piercings serve to initiate deeper cuts, creating a bleed of 10 poetic responses as a collection of living eulogies to Hip Hop. With an assimilation of the musical tropes of sampling, scratching and beat juggling, this is an experimental compilation, more than an EP/ not quite an album, in written form¹. Remixing Taiye's focus on body language, This Queen's Honours is a sharing of personal wonderment and appreciation for the culture and its legends, with a syntax that flows and ruptures implicative of the punctuated grace of this Bgirl. This Queen's Honours is words in motion. Choreography on the page. A stammered bellow from below      the earth

as this Queen dreams of      the trailblazers, beat makers, before influencers

and the competition generation streamed the scene.

Seemingly unimportant minutiae arrest my attention,

provoking me back to a past dimension

with the smell from a grill sparking nostalgia as

this      Queen           reels. Wheel it up like Godfrey Gummer.


¹Regrettably I missed the window to submit for Now That's What I Call Music 113, which was released, 18th November 2022


1. 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul

there are things lovely and strange

like the first time you wear a new pair

of tube socks, like toblerones and sakura blooms

even without these 3 eye know you'll be close to me because

there are things lovely and strange

for instance, our musical taste is shaped

by insubordinate selections as a spewing minor;

          questionably competent at 16, the legal capacity in england isn't fully realised until 18 but we signed sealed and delivered contracts of musical preference pre-adult

– peaking 13      for the f-f-f-females, 14 for all others.

2 months 2 weeks 2 days no less

from the release date of 3 Feet High

and Rising to my 14th bornday. yes

people really do wish when they blow out the candles:

De La's debut. you in a kangol.

l-l-l-lovely and strange coalescence of

philosophy, playfulness and

cumbrous themes before streaming made instant attainable

not password protected but coveted

in cardboard hi-lighter yellow,

pink, green and tango. eye know

you'll lovely better because

there are things love me and strange

slid between grey organisation 300gsm,

3 pairs of 3 Feet feet lead Posdnuos, Trugoy, Maseo

as forerunners of a new race in concept, skits and sampling

prior to cliché, foregrounding

[key of c, stacatto:

(f-g) (f-g) (f-g) (f-g) (f-g) (f-g) – (e-g) (e-g) (e-g) (e-g) (e-g) (e-g) – (d-b) (d-b) (d-b) (d-b) (e-a) (d-b) – (c-c)]

derwin's revenge wick wick wick wick wick wick whaaawith a chirp and transforming

shaping the daisy age hip hop identity,

disa vvvde vvv v-v-vowwwwwwwvowed 3 times 2 years after Me

Myself and I 12”      warped in the french

exchange sun on that w-w-w-windless day. De La Soul is Dead.

there are things lovely and strange like

record crackles p-popping into The Magic Number

fondness for you, for me a game changer

with options in neon and re visi tation of

Gerald Holtom's super-im po sition of

semaphore signals, pro CND, but more directly

to De La's peace. positively l-l-l-lovely and strange for you like

a metal pick going through your hair like

a tease of petrol in the air

eye liked          that De La's back catalogue

was MIA online, access only for those who know

only with original pressings testing 3 Feet's genius.

impact as intellectual discourse, more subtle.

with a huggable funable vulnerable

influenced landscapes of hip hop to follow.

royalties dispute now settled, 3.3.23,

coincide with 3 Feet's 34th anniversary all will be streamable

and i'm not sure how eye feela  bout this

folding your washing, only because eye was folding

eye came across your neon yellow and pink De La tee

favourited and worn as us, 596637 plus

3 Feet away eye hope you'll stay close to me

because mmm when a daisy grows in your mind

a n d j u s t a s w e p u m p e d t h e s t e r e o u p, t h e l i f e v e s t d e f i b r i l l a t o r w a s n o t e n o u g h

a g a i n s t c o n g e s t i v e h e a r t f a i l u r e. f a t i g u e d, t h e r e w i l l b e n o d a n c i n g

t o d a y. 1 2. 0 2. 2 3 T r u g o y t h e D o v e.

“it's not just kids dancing on a street corner for a nickel. they put

more heart and soul into their work than any dancer i know. james,

it's real. it's f-f-f-fresh”

2. Rock Steady Crew


samedi matin was spent à l'école

but mercredi was a whole day free

for leaves tempered by their fall

to carousel around our ankles. we

would take the train then metro

into paris and i can't stop looking

through the high wire fences hoping

to parley with chien méchant to bring

him chez moi and be                mon ami

i can't stop looking. neither can m-m-my brother

us two unhewn enfants anglais, bored

in the queue at the portes des lions, stare

at the turquoise feline bodies. my b-b-brother

blurred in memory, thinking about a

croque monsieur déjeuner

and me imagining my own ballon rouge

to be my helium company.

up early in the autumn glow

this mercredi, the centre pompidou. dreams

of ascending the mechanical caterpillar up up

top to the rooftop café, and passant par

the boutique de souvenirs with pencil and a

smelly rubber were effacé as i c-c-can't stop looking

at the reflection on the glass façade; young girl

se rencontre a new world joining her in mirrored view,

on the concrete piazza outside the centre, under

la chenille - the caterpillar:


bearing silence of sepulchral tones,

charged back from ancestral w-w-wounds, in unity

i felt the heat of the last year's Été              Chaud but not

violence urbaine, the problème des banlieues...

this was a riot of necessity, an instinctive expulsion of energy

which brings me suddenly to the nouveau monde

with wick wick wick wick wick wick whaaawild-eye delight i can't stop looking

mum says they're busking, dad adds street performing

m-m-my brother copying the jolts, absorbing this thing

je n'avais pas vu avant

i can't stop looking. neither can my brother

no detail left except          one dancer

musically manifested mechanical.

in a pre-cybernated w-w-world with only

a digital watch as reference, nothing made sense

of the electricity that ran through me

in this other country's capital, paris

and how i felt g-g-goddess in guttural company


this was me. moi froid jamais but this

was a cool lingering on my skin, slipping to my core

i skipped my version of tops away from the metro stop

full with reverb as nous sommes rentrés to a suburb

delineated by sky high clotures, protected by dribbling hounds

who wound round their chains like feet to hands footwork.

dans la cuisine, dans la grande maison carrée, i found my first circle

in a cascade of formless impulse,

another cocoon had been spun



“head up. c-c-c-caress me. with passion... dance. dance. across

the floor”


3. Mr Steen (Out of Control)


i would play and rewind to replay and re-meet that moment i first witnessed music become movement, embodied. the synth drifted over and round his animation, i shivered piloerection in slow motion, bass hit and rolled me in, him a full W 94bpm, and what tidal wick wick wick wick wick wick whaaawave i          felt,      i watched play out in his body. his collapsible body.

rewound. first 44 seconds a sensual conjecture of oh honey swirled in warm drips kissed my skin, quivered into my nipples, constricted my throat. tricep spilt the caress of Ken Gold's production under my deltoid and HIS t-t-ticking, t-teasing for 2 minutes and 33 seconds all the way from a dimestop in denmark to folkestone to my vvvde vvv v-v-vowwwwwwwVCR


live, mesmerised i'd gawked bewildered by glides; backslide floated the spiky haired dancer to penetrate epidermis, dermis, down to subcutaneous tissue. his crew, Shok1 backdrop, the bass hit and rolled me back under          to culture. this could be my salvation, my inspiration. to have something that'll never doubt me walkout of his collapsible body.

“you know why everybody's afraid? it's because they don't understand it.”


4. Philips Compact Cassette Recorder EL 3302A Tape Deck

like all pieces of equipment, my dad had brought it home from work.

we understood

this meant it did not belong to us

and there was          a whole team of technicians in a storage cupboard, somewhere at his college, people under the stairs who question[ed] in the form of an answer,

barely saw the light of day and would be very angry if we damaged anything.

we u-u-u-understood

dad's name carried weight and

people did him favours and

any bad behaviours          would taint

his reputation, bring dishonour on the family. clearly

the bridge city

equivalent of mafia and the yakuza

unlike a library loan or blockbuster rental

with a return deadline or incremental fines, the EL 3302A

stayed at home, recording my speech to document the development of my understanding of language,

through my formative years,

through the detachable handheld m-m-m-microphone

1983 dad unfurled from work with a magic lead.

everything unplugged and the big light switched off.

dismissed from the living room until safe to return,

in an act of dickensian legerdemain

dad pushed the button towards the single triangle on the philips compact cassette player. a world without borders opened up to me: he had succeeded in recording Thompson Twins direct from TV.

i was authorised to subloan this longterm loan on a part time basis to listen to Hold Me Now repeatedly in my bedroom. but

i had to hang the black strap from the carry case

of the EL 3302A

around my neck whenever transporting it.

while the strap looped my cervical,

i had to hold the bottom of the EL

3302A in both hands. i never touched the magic lead or knew where it was kept.

in retrospect it was probably hidden in a sandwich bag in dad's coat pocket.

a cable with crossover connections


1991 GCSE expressive arts dance prompt machination:

hulking frame, solid block black and metal die-cast chasis. rotary vvvde vvv v-v-vowwwwwwwvolume and recording dials on the side and round five pin DIN sockets with complicated paw and petal patterned holes for audio input/output. on top a silver surround 3D button with alerting red infill. in the middle an L shaped lever with double triangular arrows to the l-l-l-left and right, one single upward facing, then a moving coil meter - a recording level indicator mounted vvvde vvv v-v-vowwwwwwwvertically to save space behind clear plastic. lid flipped up for easy access to the tape with reliable metal control linkages, pulleys, drive wheel, capstan fly-wick wick wick wick wick wick whaaawheel and finally          silver perforations pocking the back just shy of half, with speaker. sheathed in its protective black carry case. 20 by 11.5 by 5.5 centimetres this box with a microphone, monochrome clone lego brick was in 1965 the smallest transistor technology of its time.

this philips/ dad's/ mine-by-proxy mono compact cassette recorder manufactured to mass volume with built in erase bias, provided high quality audio reproduction

high          quality          audio          reproduction

and a pause function i never knew existed via a switch on the mic which cut the power.

press down the raised red record button, simultaneously slide the single arrowed play button for high          quality          audio reproduction

box with a microphone. welcome to the beginnings of my pause button mixes.

“now, now jump. come on, fly. fly. feel it. cut. that's it. now

you've got it.”


5. Ata (Ghost Crew)


clapham common dusty with dehydration

dried to the sepia of undefined memories

colour blocked in brown – cords, vest and

fairer baseball top. bottomed with light

adidas galaxys shaded more to his very blond.

i watched him be the cypher's epicentre,

h-h-h-home to protect and serve. deserved of this

spatial occupation, each movement seeped

with a modern translation of          tradition.

sweat teemed with sweeps, stabs and history

energy was palatable, pulsing like the presage of

a migraine. a vvvde vvv v-v-vowwwwwwwvigour as difficult to contain

as the carelessness of youth. as he

danced, the choked circle respectfully opened to give his

impatient freedom space as blond may darken with age


rhythmic lapse of slow unmeasured afternoons

stretched the immortality of h-h-h-heritage. hauntingly,

Ata hit every musical legacy Leacy cued up.

articulated every instrument, punctuated all his choreographic

sentences with a burn; slick, cocky he earned it



“you're looking better. you still gotta learn how to  relax though...

loosen up. let the music caress you.”

6. Miracles by M.C Duke

sunk back in my corner spot, i climb off the sofa and flick through my 12”s at the point i expected to find him, between Mac, Mac with the Jammalot Kingdom; and M.C Lyte. no. he is hiding, misplaced behind Mighty Ethnics. sporting casual off-shoulder look, M.C Duke's red leather goose is tipped back; his mate i believe to be Leader 1, feigning insouciance as his black bomber slips to his elbows. Duke in a bboy stance, name on belt buckle, on three finger gold knuckle duster both duplicated on the teeshirt he's wearing with a graf character of him wearing his buckle and ring. fat rope dookie, music of life badge, looking like he can hold a grudge for at least 5 years. let me be clear, this record was my lesson.


saturday nights gathered secretly at milton tescos to be convoyed to a wick wick wick wick wick wick whaaawarehouse in the middle of a field. until morning h-h-h-here lived thousands of people just like me, who cuss like me – a little bit lost, a little bit wild, mental mental fucking mental, but not quite me all dancing for ourselves, for the m-m-m-music, taking part in our bass-driven rev-vvvde vvv v-v-vowwwwwwwolution. like Duke, how could i be in two places at the same time? raving in pink wallys, and fully committed to my hip hop identity, whilst quietly swapping collections of The Cure dubbed onto customised TDK tapes.


in amongst the emerging britcore of my boyfriend's collection, i liked this one. it wasn't Duke lecturing me to listen to the education in the song, i was never going to overtly take direction - i liked the singing existing as an integration of other. not all s-s-s-small moments end as this definable discerning conversation led to my boyfriend meeting me at the back gate from school, with a wick wick wick wick wick wick whaaawhite paper inlay sleeved 12”. coverless due to the moneyless slight of hand acquisition of this personal rev-vvvde vvv v-v-vowwwwwwwolution: Jackson Sisters. i learned this was the original for something called a sampled hook, on Duke's record and showed my new single more than a little love.


sunday dawn warmed the wick wick wick wick wick wick whaaawarehouse somewhere near linton. locked in this disused hanger, unaware of potential disaster with access barricaded to prevent police intervention i was listening with my recent alert to sampling - amidst the non hip hop mix apache snuck in and planet rock, snippets enough for me to begin work on being ok with all the sugars that twist the ladder for my DNA. you me and we rise like the sun, i'm on a chill tip cold gettin lyrical and as the tune says, i believe in miracles



“we're gonna eat you and spit out the pieces we don't like.”

7. London Posse

straight in and out of the circle

no messin about. like a stick and poke, hit and freeze. done

none of these minute plus long arse competition rounds

no small talk, no preamble.

no dillying and dallying, no spin the bottle – who wants it?

[key of f: f ag c – c ga f – agf c – c ga f]

when boning was still new to me and hitchin overspilled my name to china

here came the r-r-r-rugged ones.

somethink different from hamburgers and plastic shine of america

here came the rugged ones.

cockney vvvde vvv v-v-vowwwwwwwvoice with sound system sentiments

devoured the remoteness of cambridge and forced walks in the fens

by sharing stories from manor instead of queens. I dreamed

of a low wick wick wick wick wick wick whaaawindy evening with my rude gals

hold tight,

the white and black          grain of them roughnecks

underground, on an escalator in all black wick wick wick wick wick wick whaaawayfarers

a night stripped to unlatching hours, London Posse made hip hop ours

proud with homegrown accents, not a diluted affected version of a transatlantic expression

our stories, familiar faces, spaces - step slow ragga, check my grammar, and tell me

h-h-h-how's life in london? wickedest sound under the sun

h-h-h-here came the rugged ones



“more emotion. to the mirror. feel it. alright now, turn around”


8. Circles


tall, beautiful we course the arc

every diameter a chord, not every chord a diameter.

keen insistence urges into a segment

binding the burst between two radii back to a sector.

diameter floundered by r-r-r-recurrent drunk punter

wick wick wick wick wick wick whaaawe slide the o over to open into a corner

swooping the radius, surging the circle

circumference impervious, jackets reversible



“street dancing belongs on the street. it won't get you to broadway”

9. The Opp


i am my shadow that also lands infront of me

concocting nasty plots, warrior and a mystery 

with fronts and footwork fresh like oral b,

here to steal shine like i’m on robbery, 

stacking up demands like i just won the lottery, 

down and dirty, talking smack to me comes easily

as maybe i'm planting seeds of misery

think me's better than i, not likely 

but don’t take i lightly, get lively, certi

as unsightly i'm buried deep in my psyche 


i’m undercover scheming, pushing me to keep going

constantly exploring, callouses ripped and bleeding

i'm feeding, feasting, reaping whilst me is weeping,

in untamed hallways drilling, training, score-keeping.


head high, apparel neat to perfection,

on a mission, i'm hitting stabs like targets with precision, 

my body names it's destination carving shapes like an ablation

recouperation will ruin all my cycles, as i choke all my circles

challenging my levator ani and coccygeus muscles

cos jokes on me, I’m funnier than my uncle

bring that rage cos my battles i be winning in.

i'm back in again, my skin again

like hannibal i've eaten me all, swallowed me whole

and farted me out again.


i’m undercover scheming, pushing me to keep believing

still breathing, callouses ripped and bleeding

i'm feeding, feasting, reaping whilst me is weeping,

in untamed hallways drilling, ignoring the fatiguing.

i’m my nightmare, my nemesis,

naughty with burns and devious tricks;

glue on my door handles, pins in my sneaks,

chocolate in my shower head. biro in fist,

i am the opp, top of the list

as i write slick sentences

tongue flicks, i spit venomous ish, and switch.

forensics be looking for the sickest, 

i’m a killer like alice morgan is, 

never looking back, I’m out clean like the dishes

[with mild green fairy liquid]

“you owe me seven dollars man... for teaching you how to dance sucker.”


10. Crew


m62 past haribo, sky sunk to red and i can't smell the flowers. syrup, dextrose, bilberry and aronia. glazed, i lost hours. tangfastic were them spaces where everyone rolled deep: dance wasn't stale or single-minded. injected with fresh dreams and furbelows from films seen for free via cannon cinema's wee imbued side entrance. enthused by my crew who bombed loos in the outdoor pool while the old man swam lengths in his altogether after hours, and after eight mints were the after dinner aspiration. after this culture fragmented, augmenting dance into its own scene dismissing the scheme of breaks, samples and actual hip hop music where the past and present used to be to creep royalty free loyalty free internet friendly productions to soundtrack the next wack event, diminishing life affirming symbiosis of dj to dancer; carnauba waxing you to me.


wick wick wick wick wick wick whaaawith no crew, no me and you, there is no dance. no place to show myself fully, no point for a share size zingfest or sodatwist, no one to commando or exchange tapes with. even our playlist is academic but i learn the red is a result of rotation, a continuous backspin on a daily loop station, just sun's light passing through at a lower angle - longer wavelengths become more visible and   the sun      has not verily      gone   anywhere. carry it always, family you choose where people being people move with individuality inside a crew identity to testify hours not lost; rhythms tracing ridges into our skin as we tread new lines between.

Commissioned for Ink Cypher, May 2023

A response to This Lotus is a Rabbit: 10 Poems as Tribute by Ojo Taiye

If you value the work we're doing and are able to contribute, then please donate.

Lucy Crowe

Lucy is a writer and dance artist, specialising in bBoyin and creating work underpinned by Hip Hop culture. She makes art to revisit, capture, deconstruct moments, and test boundaries. Raised by Hip Hop culture, Lucy experiences art as a communal event, a dialogue of stories. She was born in London in 1975, and grew up with her adopted parents in Cambridge. By seventeen, Lucy was expecting her first child and expelled from sixth-form. She began her career as a professional dancer with the Sinstars bBoy crew five years later, and has performed, competed, and judged internationally, with a legacy of students.


Lucy has been devising subversive, Hip Hop based theatre work since 2000 to define, reinterpret and extend the boundaries of bBoyin as a performing art. Her first degree was in Communication Studies, analysing of a range of cultural and communicative practices for which she produced a film on the portrayal of British bGirls. Lucy gained a Distinction for her second degree, an MA in Creative Writing, exploring the intertextuality of Hip Hop in written form. Supported by Arts Council England, Lucy is one third of the triumvirate of directors for the arts organisation, SIN Cru.

Lucy credit Simon Richardson Photography.jpg

Lucy Crowe, Credit Simon Richardson

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