NOSTALGIA: Classic Dance Fads From the Internet
“Walk It Out”
Way back in 2006 when YouTube was just in its infancy the “Walk It Out” phenomenon occurred. DJ and rapper from Atlanta, Unk released his debut single “Walk It Out” off his first album Beat’n Down Yo block! The song was released in March of that year but didn’t become popular until that September after the music video was uploaded to YouTube. But when it did it took the internet by storm. The song peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, giving Unk his first top-ten song of his career. It also went on to peak at #2 on the US Hot Rap Songs chart and the US Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. But to be frank, the dance move “Walk it out” is more memorable than the actual song. Which isn’t a bad thing because it’s now a classic hip-hop dance move and will forever be immortalized by viral Internet history.
*music video for “Walk It Out” by UNK
“Soulja Boy Dance” (Crank That)
In 2007, a rapper by the name of Souja Boy Tell’em. put out a song and music video that just about broke the internet. Everyone and their mother knew about “Crank That” because the song was so damn catchy you couldn’t get it out of your head even if you tried. “Crank That” was Souja Boy’s lead single off his debut album. His career went from 0 to 100 really fast to say the least. The song spent 7 weeks at #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and also received a Grammy nomination. It became the first song in the US to ever sell 3 million digital copies.
It also had accompanying dance moves that caused the biggest dance fad since the “Macarena” in the mid-90’s. Inspired by other dance crazes at the time, Soulja Boy and his friends made up a dance to go with the song before its release. It definitely worked because the instructional video for the “Soulja Boy dance” surpassed 27 million views by early 2008. Soulja Boy has since moved on to produce more hits, do a bit of acting, founded a record label, and also became an entrepreneur. Not bad for a guy who got a lot of hate being called a “one hit wonder” by critics at the start of his career.
*music video for “Crank That” by Soulja Boy Tell’em
The “Stanky Legg” was brought to us by the hip-hop group the GS Boyz. It is a song and dance move that became popular in early 2009 after the release of its music video in February. “Stanky Legg” the song peaked at #49 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #7 on the US Billboard Hot Rap Tracks. The “Stanky Legg” is a dance where the dancer moves his/her’s leg in a circular motion then alternates to the opposite leg to mirror the same action. The dance really got popular when professional soccer players Jozy Altidore and Charlie Davies did the “Stanky Legg” after they would score goals at the 2009 FIFA Confederations.
*music video for “Stanky Legg” by GS Boyz
The “Dougie” dance move came onto the hip-hop scene in the 1980’s and originates from Dallas, Texas. It got it’s name from American rapper and beat box pioneer Doug E. Fresh who would do similar moves. It had a resurgence in 2007 when the rapper Lil’ Will put out the song “My Dougie.” The move became internationally known in 2010 when the hip-hop group Cali Swag District recorded the song “Teach Me How To Dougie” and the music video went viral on YouTube. The song was a big hit and went certified platinum. It peaked at #28 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and went #2 on Hot Rap Songs. The dance went on to be popular and current until 2011. All sorts of celebrities and professional athletes danced the “dougie” onscreen, including Super Model Kate Upton, then First Lady Michele Obama, rapper Chris Brown, NBA player DeMarcus Cousins, NFL running back Reggie Bush and many more.
*music video for “Teach Me How to Dougie” by Cali Swag District
"The Nae Nae”
The Nae Nae is a hip-hop dance move named after Martin Lawrence’s sassy, ghetto, girl character named Sheneneh Jenkins from the 90’s sitcom Martin. It was given that name by the hip-hop group We Are Toonz to describe how a “ratchet” girl at the club would dance. We Are Toonz recorded the song “Drop That #NaeNae” and put videos of themselves doing the dance move all over their social media. Once their videos went viral so did the dance move. In 2015 The Nae Nae was featured again in another hit song and viral video "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” by the rapper Silento. Many celebrities and people of influence have been recorded performing the Nae Nae; Miley Cyrus, Stephen Curry, Dwight Howard, Pharrell Williams and Jermey Lin.
*music video for “Drop That #NaeNae” by We Are Toonz
*music video for “Watch Me (Whip/NaeNae)” by Silento
The origins of this simple dance move are a bit hazy. Before its rise to mainstream popularity in 2015 the move had been seen in the Japanese Anime series like Dragon Ball Z, known as the “Sentai Move.” It is also said that the Atlanta based rapper Skippa Da Flippa invented “the dab” in the 2010’s which brought it to hip-hop. Whatever the case “dabbing” is now a universal sign and statement. People do it when they dance, people do it when they celebrate and people do it to taunt or “troll” people. It was really brought into American pop culture with the success of hip-hop group Migos’ song “Look At My Dab.” The move spread from the hip-hop scene and went to mainstream culture through a bunch of videos of celebrities doing it. It got popular in sports when Cam Newton, the quarterback for the NFL Carolina Panthers did a 8 second dab in celebration after a score. Hillary Clinton dabbed on the Ellen DeGeneres Show to show how cool and hip she was when running for president. The “dab” even got outlawed in Saudi Arabia because the government there think it represents marijuana culture (a different kind of dab).
*music video for “Look At My Dab” by Migos (NSFW)
*NFL Quarter Back Cam Newton dabs on his opponents