In previous “OK, What the Hell,” explaining-the-Internet installments, we’ve covered Gangnam Style and Weird Twitter — the Harlem Shake, which you’ve probably seen referenced on Twitter and Facebook a lot the past couple of days, is a bit of a combination of both, in that it’s a very popular dance that makes no f*cking sense.
How could something that involves both Jadakiss and giraffes being punched?
The origins of the Harlem Shake date back to 1981, and according to its “founder,” Al Bm, in an interview with Inside Hoops from 2003, “It’s a drunken shake, it’s an alcoholic shake, but it’s fantastic, everybody loves it and everybody appreciates it. And it’s glowing with glory.” It looks like this, as seen in a Jadakiss music video:
Then the Internet stepped in and made things weird. According to Know Your Meme:
“Harlem Shake” by Baauer, the stage name of American producer Harry Rodrigues, was uploaded to YouTube on August 23rd, 2012. It was electronica & trap music blogs, as well as other artists including Diplo, Brodinski, and Flosstradamus. On January 30th, 2013, video blogger Filthy_Frank uploaded an episode that opens with four people dressed in latex suits dancing to Baauer’s “Harlem Shake.” (Via)
Here’s the Baauer’s video:
The key to a “good” Harlem Shake video is for one person, and one person only, to dance to the music, and then when the beat drops, to quick cut to everyone else in the dorm, locker room, or office going absolutely nuts.
That second video’s my favorite, if only because of the aforementioned giraffe punching, which may also be the name of a disgusting sex act. Anyway, in summary: “Harlem Shake,” one person dances, beat drops, everyone’s dancing, and that’s about all you really need to know about the Harlem Shake. The rest you can learn from Tyrone.