What is Jersey Club ? | The Dancer Perspective

“EnVy was just made up of a special group of guys with high ambitions, and that propelled us to break down a lot of doors and do things first for others to walk through.” – Anthony “Solo” Harris

Kamille King: Would you say that the Jersey Club culture is traveling outside of Jersey?
Anthony “Solo” Harris: Absolutely! And it’s not just because of the internet. This was happening even before social media, as DJs and producers were making CDs and performing gigs outside of the state. The top dance groups, The Brick City Dancers and EnVy Dance Group were also performing in other states during the early years. I’m a member of EnVy, and my dad was the dance coach for The Brick City Dancers, so I can confidently say that what I’m stating is factual and documented through videos.

“We are and forever will be the pure essence of Jersey Club. People dance, make music, and make a reputation off of it because we showed them how it’s done altogether. ”


Kamille King: Can you explain what the EnVy Dance Group meant to the Jersey Club movement?
Anthony “Solo” Harris: Certainly! If The Brick City Dancers represented the second generation of street dancing in New Jersey, we were the third generation. We, Jerryl, Anthony, Maurice, Quason, Chris, Ayman, and Zachary, also known as Butta, Solo, Mo Chedda, Swift, Hitman, Ice, and Ziplock, formed the EnVy Dance Group in 2003. I want to clarify that what we were doing wasn’t solely rooted in Jersey Club. In terms of street dance and early entrepreneurship in the culture, we represented a lot more, especially when you look back at all that we achieved. We carried on from where The Brick City Dancers left off. We were the new kids who were partying at parties and skating rinks like Branch Brook and Skate 22. We continued to contribute to the culture at college campuses such as Bloomfield College, William Paterson, Montclair, and Seton Hall. EnVy performed at these venues, and people identified with what we were doing, just as we identified with The Brick City Dancers. It was a continuation, but it evolved. The dancing and the music evolved. I’m not saying we were better; we were just different. The new millennium marked the era of choreography and technique. When the movie “You Got Served” was released in 2004, it inspired many groups and routines, but we were already operating at a high level. By the time the movie came out, we were prepared to take off and be embraced by the people because we were already polished enough. We brought a different visual aspect to Jersey Club music. We were so dedicated to it that we started creating our own club music in 2004-2005. We were the first dancers to release two full albums: “BFAM” and “Club Tracks 2 EnVy.” “Club Tracks 2 EnVy” became incredibly popular and was picked up by the legendary DJ Ran, who was the marketing director for Against All Odds clothing store at the time. He signed us to a marketing and distribution deal, which involved music, clothing sponsorship, and paid performances at the stores AAO opened around the country.

Kamille King: How did you connect with EnVy?
Anthony “Solo” Harris: I was already dancing, doing my own thing, shuttling between my mom’s place in Newark and my dad’s place in Piscataway. During the summers, I would stay with my mom. In the summer of 2001, my best friend Ricardo saw some kids dancing and rushed to get me. I went and introduced myself, and we all started dancing together. The guys were dancing with a group of girls who called themselves RAW. Most of them were from ARTS High School. As a new member, I could sense a bit of standoffishness in the energy. It was like, “Who is this guy?” But I connected well with Maurice (MO Chedda) he seemed happy and appreciative to have another guy around who could do street dancing, as they were doing choreography and commercial-style dancing. However, Butta, Chedda, and Hitman were exceptional street dancers who could perform all the club dances. After about two days, I had to return to school in Piscataway, and we lost touch. Fast-forward to the fall of 2003, and I now have a website. I was the FIRST DANCER to upload Jersey Club videos of myself, my peers, and the pioneers before us on the internet through urbanvision.net. Mind you, this was in 2002 before YouTube and social media existed. Urbanvision.net was created by my father as an outlet for me to express myself and provide something to focus on, especially since I was mischievous in school. Whenever I did well in school, my dad would take me to Skate 22, where they played local Jersey club songs by pioneers like DJ Tameil and the Brick Bandits. He would record my performances and upload them to the website. In 2003, we expanded the site to include friends and associates (during the time when AIM was popular).

A young man named Earl, who was attending school in Virginia, contacted me on AIM and insisted that I meet his friend Quason (Swift) from West Orange. We exchanged AIM names, and Quason told me that I should meet some other talented guys at Bloomfield College. I did, and those guys turned out to be Butta, Chedda, and Hitman. Fate brought us together ONCE AGAIN. At that time, they also danced with a few more dancers from East Orange, including Juice, Chris, Fred Jo, Fab, Ricky, Gary, Barry, and John Bo, who later formed their own group called Infamous Envy. We all appeared on the Dance DVD Da Sample. This marked the beginning of using the internet to connect and promote ourselves. Urbanvision.net was set up like Worldstar, showcasing clips of dancers from all over NJ. This inspired the creation of a classic dance DVD called DA Sample, featuring young kids from across NJ dancing to Jersey Club music.

The popularity of our work led EnVy and me to become entrepreneurs, hosting the biggest dance events in NJ at the time, performing on stages nationwide, and appearing on television. EnVy revitalized NJ’s street dance culture at the turn of the new millennium. We revolutionized the Jersey Club scene by producing some of the first dance visuals for Jersey Club music, both past and present. We even created our own brand of club music. EnVy was the first street dance group in New Jersey to headline at the Prudential Center, perform multiple times on national television, sell out the Legendary Symphony Hall with our annual dance competition “Dance Warz,” and most importantly, teach the youth in our community (which we still continue to do). Many young dancers today can be seen pursuing their dreams and dancing, thanks to the foundation laid by the Brick City Dancers. This has resulted in the growth of numerous dance groups, movements, and initiatives across NJ.

These are the grassroots of the energy you see today. Only a few individuals have experienced these stories, as they were part of the journey. I also want to acknowledge the other dance groups that made that era enjoyable and worthwhile. We weren’t the only ones spreading Jersey culture, music, and dance. EnVy consisted of a special group of guys with high ambitions, which drove us to break down many barriers and accomplish things that paved the way for others. Special shoutout to Illmatic Force, Da Emperorz, Infamous Envy, BDS, A-GAME, The MISFITZ, NYCE, ADDICTIVE, SKILLZMATIC, LIL EMPZ AND LILMATIC, ROUND 1, and any other groups and individuals who feel they played a part or supported the movement. Thank you. I sincerely appreciate you.


Kamille King: Can you tell me about the movie “LIT”?
Anthony “Solo” Harris: The HallMills Network LLC understood that things don’t just exist without a reason. They recognized that there was a source behind the content they were bringing to the big screen. It takes setting aside ego and pride to be fully engaged in a process where you work on something you envisioned and invested your hard-earned money into, and then put more energy and effort into that process. But that’s exactly what they did. They brought us in because they understood that Jersey has a Dance Legacy that spans 40 years and holds great value. They recognized our direct connections and contributions to the Brick City/Jersey Club culture, knowing that we were there from the very beginning. It’s this understanding and willingness to collaborate with fellow brothers and sisters, both within and outside the state, that gives this project an undeniable and unstoppable nucleus of energy. The success of this film will be as infinite as the universe. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute and continue to share this energy with the masses.

Kamille King: What are your thoughts on the current movement with the new generation, and what role do you feel you play?
Anthony “Solo” Harris: As a whole and as a culture, I believe we could be much further and more progressive, but I recognize that there have been gaps in knowledge and guidance within the culture at times. So, I take responsibility for my part in that. As men, our egos can sometimes get the best of us, and our lack of self-awareness prevents us from connecting with our brothers and sisters. However, I also see hope and promise for the new generation and the culture itself. Now we have big Jersey Club artists like Kia, DJ LILMAN, Cookie Kawaii, Uniiqu3, DJ JAYHOOD, R3LL, DJ SLiink, Jersey Gods, and others taking the music to an international level, which is fantastic. But I still believe that the dancers and the art of dancing need to be at the forefront and treated as the headliners. That’s how it has always been, from my era to the era before me. The dancers bring the music to life and create captivating visuals that attract viewers. People enjoy music, but they love to dance and watch dancing. Everyone in the industry knows this, which is why Beyoncé performs with over 30 dancers on stage.
Shoutout to the young people doing their thing: E.V.O., The DoJo, Defiance, Dynamic Dynasty, Team Lilman, YFD, YB, LinkUpTuesdays, The LAB Brothers and Sisters, Rahway Labz, all the current dancers and groups in North and South Jersey, and everyone out there having fun and staying out of trouble. I believe my role now is to be a coach and share wisdom when I can. If people embrace it, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s also fine. I still make a difference through the dance work I’ve been dedicated to since 2003. I currently collaborate with individuals in the culture who understand that preserving the legacy of the culture is vital while allowing it to grow. I own my own dance studio, “Solo Expression,” and I continue to provide Dance Warz and the BFAM School Assembly as a platform to nurture local talent and help them realize their dreams. Therefore, I can never be sad or angry about any outcome. I’m always grateful, and I hope that’s the most important lesson all participants in the culture learn: to be humble and grateful. Everyone has their season, and while seasons change, leaves fall off trees, and branches break, the root will always be there.




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