Posted in dance | hiphop | music on February 15, 2013

by Andrew Sacher

Harlem Shake

Back in May 2012, Brooklyn producer Baauer (aka 23-year old Harry Rodrigues) released the single "Harlem Shake" on Mad Decent imprint Jeffree's. It was a solid single and one of the more memorable dance tracks of 2012, but I don't think any of us had any idea that almost a year later, it would become one of the biggest memes on the internet. If you haven't seen it yet (aka if you haven't been on a computer in two weeks), it's a video meme that's been blowing up YouTube (something like, oh you know, 4,000 videos uploaded in a day reaching over 40 million total views) that lasts about 30 seconds and features one person dancing in a crowded room to "Harlem Shake" and then once the bass drops, the whole room joins in. The "Harlem Shake dance" that they do isn't the "Harlem Shake" that the hip hop community knows dates back 30 years, but pretty much just a bunch of people going crazy. And it's been done by everyone from Matt & Kim to The Daily Show to The Today Show. Videos of those three are below, if you wanna see more, try YouTube.

So how did any of this happen anyway? Well FADER has laid out a comprehensive history of the meme, discussing the meme, its inventor, 19-year old film hobbyist Filthy Frank, Baauer, the real "Harlem Shake" dance, how Baauer actually feels about it, and if he's making any money from it.

And the memes are leading to other uses of the song too. Azealia Banks, who was supposed to release her debut full length this week but didn't, decided to record herself rapping over the beat, but Baauer's since had the track removed. Azealia questioned him on Twitter, "@baauer why you coccblockin tho??? Lmaoooooo" to which Baauer simply responded "cause its not ur song lol." Azealia then backfired "you're a pussy. You don't belong in hip hop" and Baauer has yet to respond, but Azealia's old pal Perez Hilton stepped in, causing Azealia to call him a "faggot" again. Perez then tweeted "Ugh. There you go again with the F word. Showing your true colors. You are so parched."

As mentioned, Baauer is on tour with veteran producer Just Blaze (and collaborating with him too) and that tour comes to NYC TONIGHT (2/15) for a show at Webster Hall. Once Baauer's fame picked up, tickets started going fast for that one and now it's sold out, but you might still be able to get VIP tickets.

Videos below...

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'The Daily Show' doing the "Harlem Shake"

Matt & Kim doing the "Harlem Shake"

'The Today Show' doing the "Harlem Shake"

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Comments (20)

I can't think of a more fitting response to Perez Hilton tweets

Posted by Anonymous | February 15, 2013 12:48 PM

Better than all the forced corporate memes out there.

Posted by Anonymous | February 15, 2013 2:08 PM

Amazing how white the staff of the Daily Show is.

Posted by Anonymous | February 15, 2013 2:11 PM

Harlem Shakes were better!

Posted by Anonymous | February 15, 2013 2:52 PM

'Funny how this herb says "cuz it's not your song" yet he calls his WACK SHIT "Harlem Shake" which was used before, so it really isn't your song title, is it Harry - oh excuse me "Baauer"? Whatsamatta Harry Rodrigues? Ashamed to go by your name? What's with the Dutch (?) moniker?

What a lovely loft to co-opt a NYC hip-hop institution and pawn it off as your own with zero black people in the video.

All those white hipsters and people and not one black person in these videos for Harlem Shake.

Posted by ! | February 15, 2013 2:57 PM

anybody can upload to youtube, if you're so upset go get some black people and make a harlem shake video

Posted by Anonymous | February 15, 2013 3:44 PM

2:57, Baauer didn't make any of these videos, you jackass. He made the track, and that's it. And if he wants to call himself Baauer, Henry, Shlomo, Asshat or whatever, it's his business.
If you want to waste your life being angry at people over music or videos, be angry at Filthy Frank for perpetuating the viral video for this.

Posted by Anonymous | February 15, 2013 3:59 PM

continuing from 3:59..
And if he doesn't want Azaelia using his track without him getting a dime for it, that's his right. I don't blame him.

Posted by Anonymous | February 15, 2013 4:01 PM

Black people don't do corny shit like this.

Posted by Anonymous | February 16, 2013 5:47 AM

The Harlem shake gives me indegestion

Posted by Anonymous | February 16, 2013 5:57 AM

At least a Shamrock shake is just around the corner

Posted by Anonymous | February 16, 2013 6:40 AM

I like to do the Alabama Shake.

Posted by Anonymous | February 16, 2013 9:36 AM

I like this meme.

Posted by Anonymous | February 16, 2013 10:44 AM

azealia "tranny" banks...please for the love of god fa

Posted by Anonymous | February 16, 2013 11:59 AM

My food processor shakes when I jam to many chickpeas in there.

Posted by Anonymous | February 16, 2013 4:05 PM

"the food processor shake"

Posted by Anonymous | February 16, 2013 6:48 PM

the cat is the best

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