Monday, June 13, 2016

The Dab - The New Hip Hop Dance That Came From A Gesture That Is Done While Taking An Illegal Drug

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part series about the dance "Dab" and the related term "dabbing".

Part I of this series provides information and comments about the terms "dab" (also given as "dabb") and "dabbing". This post also includes one video example of the dance called "dab".

Click for Part II of this series. Part II showcases several video examples of children or teens performing the dab dance.

Update: October 6, 2016 - Part II also features a video California Congresswoman & United States Senate Candidate Loretta Sanchez dabbing during a debate.]

The contents of this post is presented for cultural, folkloric, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

Thanks also to all those who are featured in the video that is embedded in this post, and thanks to the publisher of that video on YouTube.

Added June 13, 2016
From" What is Dabbing"
If you’re involved with cannabis at all, whether recreationally, medically, or from a business standpoint, then you either know about or have probably heard of “dabbing.” This method of consumption has been around for at least a decade, but the advent of more advanced extraction methods have led to a flood of cannabis concentrates that have boosted dabbing’s popularity.

A dab usually refers to a dose of concentrate that is heated on a hot surface, usually a nail, and then inhaled through a dab rig. It doesn't sound so controversial in those terms, but “blasting dabs” has become a dividing point within the community both because of the intense high that it produces and for the image that it presents to outsiders."...

"the act of smoking concentrated THC oils off of a hot plate/skillet and or nail."

"yo we dont smoke weed anymore. we've been dabbin' that wax!!"
#bho #smoking #wax #high #weed
by Ian Messar February 20, 2012

"Migos Give You The Definition Of "Dabb" + "Look At My Dabb" [In-Studio]*
*This is an excerpt of an interview that provides one explanation of the origin and meaning of “dab” and “dabbing”. WARNING: This video contains profanity and the use of the four letter form of what has been commonly called “the n word”.
Selected comments from that video's discussion thread:
Dawn Duchess, November 2015
"What they talkin bout???? I thought dab was smokin wax
And the song didn't explain nothin"


Darnell_225, December 2015
"+Dawn Duchess I thought it was the same thing too and the song said dapping is a way of fashion u ni&&as* call it swaging but we call it dabbing"
This word was fully spelled out in this comment.

werd, November 2015
"in my hood... dabbing is vaporizing cannabis extracts through glass, not a silly dance where it looks like your sneezing into your arm rofl. have fun with that sh&t* though #leanisahelluvadrug"
*This word is fully spelled out in this comment

Note that the body gesture "dab" is very similar if not the same as that which is recommended for people to do while they are sneezing or coughing (so that the germs that are produced by those actions won't travel far.)

Isaac Membreno, May 2016
"You right it is when you smoke wax and then you cough into your arm cause it's stronger then smoking some regular joint but they actin like they created it"

Showcase Video: Hit The Dab Official Dance Video #HitTheDab | @6billionpeople

MarQuis Trill, Published on Nov 2, 2015

Song: MarQuis Trill - Hit The Dab

Definitions, Comments, And Sentence Examples

Can also be a move, where you put your arms slantingly in the air, both pointing to the same side with one arm being under your chin with your head turning down slantingly to the opposite site of where you arms are pointing

"Damn bro, did you see that boy from the audience who started dabbin' on live TV?"
by RødGrødmedFløde April 03, 2016

"Atlanta lingo for a level of confidence to your swag . (verb) one can be seen raising his left elbow to express it .


" dat boy came in dabbin on yall ass " Made popular by atl rappers such as ( Peewee Longway , Jose Guapo , and Migos ) ."
#atlanta #lingo #zone 6 #qc #trappin #cappin
Here's my interpretation of the sentence "dat boy came in dabbin on yall ass" - From the very beginning that dude was showing you how super confident he is (by challenging you with insults and self-brags.)

Corrections of my interpretation of that sentence are welcome.

"Swag" (noun) is an African American originated clip of the word "swagger". That word means to publicly display a lot of confidence. The verb form of "swag", "swaggin'("swagging") means to means to present yourself a very self-confident, even arrogant manner.
Saying that someone has "swag" or is "swaggin'" is a compliment.

"The Dab is a dance in which the dancer simultaneously drops the head while raising an arm and the elbow in a gesture that has been noted to resemble sneezing. [1] As a Sports Illustrated article about the phenomenon described the Dab, “The dance is pretty simple; one leans in to their elbow like they’re sneezing."

The Dab has its origins in the Atlanta hip-hop scene, but there is disagreement about who originated the dance.[2] Artists frequently mentioned as possible originators include Migos (as in "Look at My Dab"), Skippa Da Flippa, Peewee Longway, and Rich The Kid.

American rapper Bow Wow attempted to explain the origin of the dab dance, saying it related heavily to the cannabis dabbers community started long before the dance in 2012. He was met with opposition from other rappers who immediately took to Twitter to insult and disagree with him.

There is also speculation that the dance originated from Dabbing, an action taken where someone snorts cocaine from their elbow while acting like they are sneezing. However, there is no proof that this claim is true nor false. NFL football player Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers is well known for performing this dance when he scores a touchdown.[4] Manchester United's Jesse Lingard is also well known to perform this move when he scores a goal.

Popularity beyond the U.S. south
In 2015, the Dab rose to national prominence in the U.S. As XXL Magazine reported in August 2015, "What started as a regional down South adlib is quickly becoming a masterful maneuver in clubs and on street corners. It’s called dabbin’."...

September 13, 2015: Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill dabbed during a game against the Oakland Raiders. Sports Illustrated asserts that this "appears to be" the "earliest football dab."...

From "Answered: What is the Dab Dance?
Posted about November 2015 by Yoh"
"Hip-hop moves fast, and it moves even faster on the internet. One day the world hasn't heard of Fetty Wap, the next he's onstage with Taylor Swift. One day "lit" is short for literature, the next day there's seemingly nothing that isn't lit. From rappers to songs to memes, even the most astute rap internet watcher can't know everything, so we're starting our new Answered column. You have a question, we'll find an expert to answer it, and for the inaugural edition we're keeping everything in house.

So just what is this "dab" thing everyone from Lebron to Diddy is doing now?....

My Dear Friend Lucas,
So you want to learn about the Dab? I’m not surprised, once a dance becomes a touch-down celebration questions are bound to arise. Well, it’s a bit bigger than the end zone, it was arguably the dominating dance of the summer. Someone with no knowledge might see the video of Lebron James doing the dab and assume he’s sneezing his soul into his forearm. Lets never call it “kissing his bicep" ever again please. As in ever. Thank you.

Before we get into the big names that are riding the wave, let’s start with the origins. Like anything that is enamored by the internet, its humble beginnings can be hard to trace. Some cite everyone’s favorite trio since Huey, Duey, and Louie - The Migos - as the originators, while others will argue that Pee-Wee Longway, Rich The Kid, or Jose Guapo, all fairly notorious Atlanta artists, created the dance. All these rappers played a part in making the dance popular but it's Skippa Da Flippa that really pushed the dance in his videos before it reached the mainstream. Regardless who did it first, the dance has roots in Atlanta, where dances are manufactured like Coca-Cola and one-hit-wonders."...

Since marijuana prepared by what is called "dabbing" is very potent, people only need to use a little bit for that preparation. Hence the word "dab".

The most familiar use of the word "dab" in American culture is the 1950s "a little dab will do ya" Brylcream commercial. "Brylcream" was the brand name for a mainstream American (read "non-Black") hair grooming product.

Here's the text of a product ad for Brylcream:
"Brylcreem is very easy to use, gives a light hold and a high shine. A dab of Brylcreem - just shy of the size of a dime - helps style your hair the way you want it. Thats because its conditioning action leaves hair soft, healthy and manageable without stickiness of gels or sprays or the greasiness of pomade. And Brylcreem is alcohol-free, so it wont dry your hair. Leaves hair healthy and manageable."...
Click for a video of that commercial.

However, the "a little dab will do ya" commercial may have nothing at all to do with the African American originated meanings of dab: the drug referent, the Hip Hop dance, and another way of saying "swag" (being very self-confident).

Although most online sources indicate that the dab dance became popular in 2015 and came from Atlanta, Georgia, some commenters disagree about who started the dap dance, what city that dance came from, and when that dance was first done. For example, check out these comments from
Scream254, January 2016
"Boii famous dex been doing this dab fo a while way befo ,migos"

Shaquille Culley, January 2016
"Stfu, Dex was boppin"

Scream254, January 2016
"Nevermind but people from Chicago been dabbing fo along time I ain't want to internet beef"

Chrís Halé, January 2016
"They didn't even make the dab up tho.."

Bless Up, January 2016
"Cough* look at their old videos they been doing it for over five years now"
The asterisk was included in that comment.

Chrís Halé, February 2016
"Look at Soulja boys old videos..He's BEEEN doing it"
The word "been" in that comment is written in capital letters probably to emphasize that word. Used that way in African American Vernacular English "been" means that something that has been done for a long time.
For what it's worth, the rapper Soulja Boy has both a Chicago and an Atlanta connection:
"DeAndre Cortez Way (born July 28, 1990), known professionally as Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, or simply Soulja Boy, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur.

In September 2007, his debut single "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. The single was initially self-published to the internet, and later became a number-one hit in the United States for seven non-consecutive weeks starting in September 2007....

Way was born in Chicago and moved to Atlanta at the age of six,[8] where he became interested in rap music.[9] At age 14, he moved to Batesville, Mississippi, with his father, who provided a recording studio for Way to explore his musical ambitions.[8] ...

Dina Sabrina, April 2016
1. We've been saying pipe up in Philly FOREVER. I was LMFAO when I heard them on the radio talkin about that. 2. This was better than the actual video to the song, look at my dab. 3. So they want us to say DaB instead of SWAG? No thanks. Nice G dance tho.
Click for a link to an page on the phrase "pipe up" (a term that was used in that video)

"bobbin" here probably refers to another, earlier Hip Hop dance.

"G" dance= gangsta dance

Here are four records that include the word “dab”. I think these records are given in chronological order starting with the earliest dated record, but I'm not sure about that.

Additions and corrections welcome.

iHeartMemphis - "Lean and Dab" (2015)

Big Will - "Dab on 'Em" (2015)

MarQuis Trill - "Hit The Dab"

Migos - "Look at My Dab" (2016)
Most of these records include profanity and the four letter form of what is commonly referred to as "the n word". The "clean version" of the records that have profanity still includes the word "ni&&a".

This concludes Part I of this series.

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1 comment:

  1. "Dab" ("dabb") is a different word than "dap".

    Here's a definition of "dap" from
    The knocking of fists together as a greeting, or form of respect.
    He gave me a dap when we greeted.

    by Phil March 10, 2004

    A dap is also called a "fist bump".

    "Dap", "dab", and "fist bump" are all part of African American Vernacular English (AAVE).