There is nothing that makes you feel more old when a kid references something that you don’t understand. You know, when you think the person had a stroke in saying something to you, but instead, you take note and look it up on Urban Dictionary later only to find out it’s something either extremely sexual or not at all what you thought.
I was watching the BET Hip Hop Awards earlier this week, when a rapper named IHeartMemphis (apparently he’s just going by Memphis now), performed his hit song Hit The Quan which comes complete with a funky dance. Legit the only other time I had heard of it was when Hayes Grier (look him up, grandma) mentioned it on Dancing With The Stars (haters to the left) and I was like… is that English? Not only is it English, but it’s becoming the new hit that will be overplayed in approx 4 weeks and soon we’ll be seeing people who shouldn’t be doing the Quan doing it anyways.
But of course, this isn’t the first time a novelty dance has swept the nation/world. It’s become a pop culture milestone once a song reaches a certain level of popularity, and here are just some of the most memorable ones throughout the years.
If you’re just catching on to the Whip/Nae Nae now, just be aware it will be over in a few weeks before the Quan takes over. The Whip/Nae Nae, to Silento’s Watch Me, actually is one of the few songs on this list that includes other famous dance moves from novelty songs, such as the superman, stanky leg, and bop. That doesn’t make it any less stupid.
The year is 1996. A song called Macarena by Los Del Rio hits the radio and a young Traci in Western New York, who thinks it’s cool to be able to buy cassette tapes and CDs, purchases the cassette single of Macarena to… practice the dance? The Macarena became a hit in my house and all over the world, and a number one track on multiple music charts. It was played at school dances, weddings, sports arenas, basically anywhere you could listen to music. Not knowing the moves was considered sacrilege, like a betrayal to the human race. But since it was in Spanish, most people never really knew what the song was really about, and it’s kind of disturbing.
It was inspired by a flamenco teacher, and in the song they sing, “Dale a tu cuerpo alegría, Ma’dalena, que tu cuerpo e’ pa’ darle alegría y cosa’ buena'” (“Give your body some joy, Magdalene, ’cause your body is for giving joy and good things too”). In Andalusian culture, naming a woman “Magdalena” is associating her with Mary Magdalene and her sordid (prostitute) past, suggesting the woman is sassy or sensuous.
Teach Me How To Dougie
Cali Swag District actually wants to teach you how to dougie. So much so that they put the instructions into the lyrics of the song. 1) You need a “beat that’s super bumping”. 2) Back it up and dump it. 3) Put your arms out from and lean side to side 4) They gon’ be on you when they see you hit that dougie right. 5) All the bitches will love you.
This song is my youth. MY YOUTH, I SAY! I was 9 years old when the 69 Boyz released this jam (hahahaha everything about that) and I remember it being a popular song with me and my friends and we’d constantly reference it. I certainly wasn’t aware of what I was singing and dancing along to, all I knew was that I liked it, and damnit, I still like it. This music video tho.
As previously mentioned, the Whip/Nae Nae mentions the Superman aka Crank That (Soulja Boy) by Soulja Boy, which for some reason I can’t believe was released 8 years ago. Anyways, Soulja Boy was just 17 when the song reached number one and became an international hit. So why has it taken me so long to find out “Crank That” is also a euphemism for masturbation???? This, from Genius.com, so obviously accurate.
Who knew that a K-Pop star could take the world by storm with a song that’s not in English and a music video that barely makes any sense? With over 2.43 billion views on YouTube, this is the most watched vid on the site, but really, my favorite Gangnam Style vid has to go to SNL’s sketch featuring Bobby Moynihan as Psy and Hader as the weird dude in the elevator. Comedy gold.
So we know the actual Harlem Shake dance is actually nothing like these “meme” that went viral a few years ago, but I was still confused when this first came out. I was expecting this but instead got a bunch of idiots making their own version of the madness that is the Harlem Shake. But this one, featuring the cast of Happy Endings (RIP) is one of the best.