A Conversation with Rico ”Zoopreme” Coker
I caught up with one of the most talented dancers and even more importantly, one of the best b-boys representing Denmark on the worldwide scene. He found some time to meet up with me right before he has to leave for Holland. We decided to meet in the busy and popular area that is the Meat District in Vesterbro at the infamous Tommi's Burger Joint to indulge in some delicious burgers and Rico was more than happy to engage in a conversation about some of his inspirations and ambitions.
"Breakdance to me is the ultimate form of dancing"
One of the first things you notice about Rico is always his hairstyle and the next thing you'll notice is his effortless style which is always streetwear and hip-hop inspired. Today, his footwear of choice is a classic in the form of an Airmax 95. Rico is also a person with a great open personality so within minutes you are already cracking jokes with him and he is a young man who has his feet firmly planted on the ground. Needless to say, he speaks openly and passionately when we start our conversation about his love for dancing, especially breakdancing.
You're now an established b-boy and growing up, you played a lot of basketball and also did a fair amount of skateboarding. Why did you stick with dancing over basketball and skateboarding?
RC: I stuck with dancing because I never stopped dancing ever. I had breaks from basketball and skateboarding and then started up again.
What makes you continue dancing? Was there a different fascination of dancing as opposed to the two other hobbies?
RC: There was way too big of a general interest in dancing both mentally and psychically that link to so many things I find interesting.
Having witnessed you perform hip-hop choreography and doing theatre shows. But with you being a b-boy at heart, what is it in breakdance that draws you in more than the other forms of dancing?
RC: Breakdance to me is the ultimate form of dancing period. Because it never stops evolving, and being a b-boy allows me to become whatever I want to be.
So far in 2017, you have already won two titles for 1-1 b-boy battles. One is being the Scandinavian Break Champ and another one being Hit'n'Run Champ. What do you hope to become?
RC: I am hoping to become an idol figure and inspiration for any creative minds. I hope that my breaking and how I use it and stick to it, will motivate some or even many people to become somebody, they genuinely want to be and are happy with as grown-ups.
These are definitely some great ambitions to aspire to but who inspired you to strive for something like this?
RC: That's a lot of people. That's actually also a lot of different cultures. Hip-hop/breaking, music, fashion, skateboarding and basketball were my main sources for inspiration.
Speaking of cultures and fashion inspirations, I think you always look fresh at any given time when I run into you or when you are geared up for battles. Were you into fashion/style from an early age or did you just wear what your parents gave you?
RC: I was very much into fashion and style from an early age. I could never really afford it until I started dancing and making my own money. I have always experimented with my personal appearance to find out who I am and what that looks like. Wish I was sponsored by some brands though. That would make it much easier, haha.
Obviously, brands like Puma, Nike and Adidas all have a great history and selection but what brand got you interest when you became more aware of your personal style?
RC: Well, as a kid I mostly wore Nike. Brands like Supreme and Palace also had a great impact on me because of skateboarding.
"I break in my Airmax 98 x Supremes"
Have you seen a big shift in how b-boys/b-girls dress now and what are the major changes?
RC: Yeah, for sure. The changes that always happens, are the same ones. The track suit/running outfit, the casual fit, the retro outfit. You can definitely see some high-end or popular streetwear brands in break battles. Dancers will look for whatever they find fresh and put that on in a battle to showcase themselves the best way possible. For instance, I break in my Airmax 98 x Supremes because I think they are fresh.
Are we going to see Gucci, Off-White and Vetements on breakdancers?
RC: Most French b-boys are already rocking the more classic high-end stuff such as Gucci, Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger but if I find some dope track suits in these brands as well, I'm going for it, hahaha. If you're talking about the Off-White Airmax 90's then yes, I want them and I am for sure going to wear them in battles.
Do b-boys get to pick their own nicknames and why is your name Zoopreme?
RC: Many b-boys do name themselves but they should be given to you in my opinion. The name Zoopreme, came from my friend Samir. I used to wear this Supreme cap all the time when I was younger but after a certain battle, he named me Zoopreme, meaning I am a supreme-beasty animal which is why it's spelled Zoopreme and not like my cap. I liked it so it was given to me. Boom! Nowadays, I have a nickname to Zoopreme which is ZxxpaQ/ZooPaQ.
You mentioned Nike, Supreme and Palace as brands you still love and wear. Any other brands you like at the moment?
RC: Yeah, Adidas, Kwoc, Helas, Polar, Tommy Hilfiger, Fila, Northface, Helly Hansen and Patta. I could go on and on. I even like shopping on ASOS and H&M as well. It's a different mixture of vintage/thrift stuff from the 90's. Tracksuit sportswear and what I call casual fashion.
You're mixing everything together to fit your style. Do you think it's silly to be brand loyal?
RC: Not at all. If you have some brands, that make the clothing just the way you like it then there's no reason to buy other things but I do think you should be open-minded to new brands as they might make stuff you like too, haha.
We see skaters and music people try their luck on the fashion industry. Alex Olsson doing well with Bianca Chandon. ASAP Ant with Marino Infantry. Will we see any breakers come out with a clothing line soon?
RC: Some have already started some brands. My homie Adverse and Duzkie Duzk have Kwoc. Menno did Menno tracksuits. Flearock has his brand First Class and there are also brands such as Underworld, The Legits, Forget Never, Biggest and Baddest but they are mostly known within the break scene.
Surely leading the way in terms of Danish brands, we have established names such as Wood Wood, Norse Projects and Soulland. What are your thoughts on Danish streetwear brands and who should we look out for?
RC: It's good. Keep them coming. Danish fashion is somewhat popular because of its simplicity. Danish fashion has a tendency to look too similar at times but the quality is on a different level. I think they should watch other brands to get inspired. I feel like Rascals is starting to take off. I also like what Pelle Pelle is doing. Han Kjobenhavn but it's so ridiculously expensive. Le Fix has also been doing great stuff for a while.
Pretty stuffed after our delicious burger meal at Tommi's Burger Joint, we have to finish our interview as Rico has to get going to finish packing for Holland to meet with his fellow b-boy crew by the name of The Ruggeds. Currently, they are practicing for their next show taking place in the UK which is a part of their successful Adrenaline tour. Keep an eye on Rico and the rest of The Ruggeds, and also the Rico and Bobby documentary coming out soon filmed by MEETO.
Words / Kem Ngai