Life on Long Island


Debbie Deb and 2 in a Room at The Emporium

The marquee of The Emporium in Patchogue. Its

The marquee of The Emporium in Patchogue. Its latest "Freestyle Explosion" concert will be taking place on Friday, March 29. (Credit: Ian J. Stark)

The popularity of freestyle is still widely held on Long Island --and if that statement needs any backing, consider the strong turnouts received at most “Freestyle Explosions.”

These “explosions” -- a term which has generally been attached to the freestyle concerts held quarterly around the Island over the past few years -- seems to relate to its standard game plan of presenting rapid-fire sets from such core genre artists as TKA, Judy Torres and George Lamond. But considering there are a limited amount of freestyle stars from which to choose, these performers tend to be used and reused by most programs.

However, for fans of the genre looking for a bit of a switch, The Emporium's latest “detonating” event (Friday, March 29) offers a couple of intriguing, not-often-seen talents that freestyle aficionados are likely to recognize -- one of whom is Debbie Deb (aka Deborah Claire Wesoff-Kowalski), the singer best known for the 1983 classic club track “When I Hear Music.” The song predates most of freestyle, and in many ways is actually a late example of the electro-boogie beat music connected to break-dancing. It may have never charted impressively, but radio stations and DJs used (and still use) it with frequency.

At the other end of that train of thought is the act 2 in a Room, also set to take The Emporium’s stage on the 29th. While Debbie Deb somewhat helped pave the way for freestyle, 2 in a Room -- a vehicle that starred MC RafaelDoseVargas and had its largest success with “Wiggle It” in 1990 – used house music samples and rapped lyrics in a way that more closely connects to the niche subgenre known as “hip house.” In effect, despite the fact “Wiggle” was well-accepted by the general freestyle fan base, one could speculate that the track marked the decline of freestyle as hip-hop began to dominate club music in the early 1990s. Vargas, who has since moved on to perform with groups Fulanito and 740 Boyz, is confirmed to be appearing at this event.

Tickets are on sale in advance for $10 at and could be more at the door. Also appearing as part of the show are freestyle singers David Torres (of the group Nice & Wild) and Fascination (“Why You Wanna Go,” “Don't You Think It's Time”), as well as the ‘80’s cover band Somethin' Fresh. For more information, visit The Emporium online at and Doors open at 6 p.m.

The Emporium: 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue, 631-627-8787

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