Make em say go LL and do the Wop! LL Cool J
As I think back, the Wop was probably the last dance
mentioned in a rap song that I tried to do. Did I say try? Who am I kidding? I mastered the Wop. I did it with both of my hands or either
just one. After reading that line
aloud, I must admit that it doesnt sound particularly cool, but trust me; Im
just talking about doing the Wop.
This was during a time in close proximity to Sugar Bear and his crew
encouraging the world to do Da Butt.
That was a dance when people purposely bent over and gyrated their hind
parts to an infectious tune.
Needless to say, I didnt try that one at all. There are just some things that men, of any age, should not
be doing publicly or in the private of their own home. And Im proclaiming Da Butt to be
one. Now I know that Sugar Bear
said, aint nothing wrong if you wanna do Da Butt all night long. But clearly, if you were a male and had
the audacity to adorn the attire (spandex biker shorts) that went along with the dance, I
will not say what was wrong, but obviously something was.
In the midst of struggle, we danced. Weve always used dance as a means to
express and communicate ourselves to others. Sometimes it seems that when trying times become even more
difficult, we dance harder.
Theres a club song played in Baltimore clubs that encourages the party
goers to dance the pain away. I
wish it was that easy, but nevertheless, we dance as if it is.
Nowadays many of our youth are attacked in Hip-Hop for
making dance songs. I wont
participate in this bashing of youth culture and I dont get offended by the
dance songs they produce because I recognize that Im not part of the
demographic in Hip-Hop that their music is targeting. Participating in or attempting to do the dances the youth of
today rap about, would be the equivalent of my father doing the Wop back in the
eighties. He would have lost all
of his cool points. Now be honest,
did Soulja Boy expect people twenty-five and older to be doing the Soulja
Boy? What in the hell would I
look like doing something that consist of me leaning forward on the tip of my
toes with my arms stretched outward to my sides as if I was flying and saying
yew? The Bay Area kids are
jerking, which I think is cool, for them and their targeted demographic. Besides the fact that Im too old and
mature to be jerking, I tore my knee ligament years ago. So, I couldnt jerk even if I wanted
to, I dont have the same motion and flexibility that I used to have. Which brings me to this; the Southern
kids are flexing. When I viewed
the video Flex by Party Boyz on 106 & Park, I was entertained as well as
amused (Damn, I wish I had as much confidence as that shirtless skinny
dude). Immediately I recognized
that they were not talking to me.
First and foremost, besides my age, my stomach is too big to be flexing. As a matter of fact, I dont have
nothing at all to flex, nothing.
Now, none of the Party Boyz said that you had to be fit or tone to do
their dance, but personally I just associate the word flex with muscles. So, more than likely, I will never be
hitting somebody with the flex so she could be begging for some more.
Back in the nineties, Petey Pablo encouraged anyone in the
party who wanted to participate to, take your shirt off, twist it round ya
head, swing it like a helicopter.
Though this wasnt a dance at all, the act itself was incorporated into
many dances during the time. I
never did that either (I didnt want anyone laughing at me when I took my
shirt off, for obvious reasons), but many people did. In particular I recall eleven years
ago, at my bachelor party (a house party with the amenities of a bachelor
party), a friend of mine got swooped up in all the excitement and festivities
and began to get his Petey Pablo on.
But thats a whole different story that I refuse to divulge on this
site, especially since my wife read my editorials. Probably one of the most popular dances ever mentioned in a
rap song or featured in a rap video was provided for us by them Harlem Bad
Boys. Remember nine years ago when
G Dep, Black Rob, and Diddy had that joint Lets Get It? The video featured one very cool little
girl doing the Harlem Shake, which
my man Yaniz from Harlem told me is actually called the Al
B. That was a cool looking dance,
but again, not for me. Nor was the
Stinky Leg, Chicken Noodle Soup, Walk It Out, or countless other songs that the
youth rap about or incorporate into songs. Im a grown ass man!
The youth promote dances through songs and many in the
community get mad, but weve always done it. Now, we attack them for not being lyrical and thought
provoking, simply because the music and its content isnt as diversified as
wed like for it to be and oftentimes, we feel that the older demographic is
not catered to in Hip-Hop.
Prompting many of us, the first generation introduced to the music as
children, to abandon the music as adults.
We dismiss the youth efforts completely, which makes them feel slighted,
some even suggest that were hating, and that prevents us from using the
present day most effective medium to engage our youth, Hip-Hop. Well, Id like to suggest that we be
reminded that we were once young and a part of the same culture. And admittedly, we did many of the same
things. If you think about it, Im
certain that wed acknowledge that those who were ten plus years older than us
then treated us the same way by attempting to dismiss what we were doing. They were just as wrong then as many of
us are now. Granted, we have a lot
of issues that could, should and need to be addressed through our music, but
maybe, just maybe, were attempting to put the burden of responsibility on the
shoulders of the wrong people.
This thing of ours, this rap music is a beautiful tool. We can do whatever we want with
it. With the music, we can teach,
we can learn, we can provide humor, we can influence, we can promote change, we
can provoke thought, we can be braggadocios if were feeling ourselves, we can
provide jobs, we can be socially conscious, we can empowering and uplifting, we
can be either responsible or irresponsible to our community, all while dancing.
Im not mad that our kids dance and promote dances in their
music. I attended house parties
back in the day, with my mug broke, standing in a B-Boy stance, and really
thought I was partying, until I was introduced to the bump and grind, Wop and
Cabbage Patch, Fila and Pee Wee Herman.
After the initial introduction, partying and the social aspect of the
music, changed for me dramatically, but it didnt prevent me from learning or
feeling a sense of responsibility to my community. Dancing is what we do in addition to everything else
that were supposed to be doing.
What would anger me, is if dancing was all we did.