You might remember being utterly confused when the “Gangnam Style” craze began — and we helped explain what was up with the viral video by the Korean rapper Psy. Now, there’s a new viral dance taking over YouTube.
It’s called the “Harlem Shake.” According to a YouTube Trends report, there were very few records of Harlem Shake dances before February and just two weeks into the month there are more than 12,000 videos that have collectively been viewed more than 44 million times. These numbers were as of Feb. 11 and, as YouTube’s Kevin Allocca pointed out, more videos are added each day. In fact, Allocca charted it and more than 4,000 Harlem Shake videos are uploaded each day.
If you don’t know what the Harlem Shake is yet, let us try to first describe the current version it in words. It starts off looking like a coordinated undulating movement from front to back that quickly turns into a fast, seemingly free-flowing arm shaking and hip pumping jive as techno music in the song heats up. It only lasts for about 30 seconds.
Well, how about you just watch an example for yourself:
The video above, which appears to have been filmed in a college dorm room, claims to be the original. It was posted on YouTube Feb. 2 and has more than 4.7 million hits.
Even if it is the original, it is certainly not the most viewed.
This “office edition” has more than 9.2 million views:
There’s an “Army edition” with 4.3 million hits posted just four days ago:
Only posted on Monday, this one of the University of Georgia Athens men’s swim team doing the Harlem Shake under water has more than 4.2 million views and could arguably win for most original location:
If you haven’t caught on yet, the basics seem to be that one person (generally covering their face) begins dancing to the song by the artist Baauer. Everyone else in the scene at this point is just going about their own business. Then at the words “and do the Harlem Shake,” costumes are donned and mass dancing occurs.
As for the lyrics, the only words seem to be “con los terroristas,” which is Spanish for “with the terrorists,” and “and do the Harlem shake.” There is also a lion’s roar. Here’s the full song, which is a little more than three minutes long:
The style of the current Harlem Shake trend, which is a little bit modified from the purported original video, is attributed to this one from The Sunny Coast Skate:
But as Allocca and Deadspin pointed out, no one in any of these videos is truly doing the original “Harlem Shake” dance move.
“The actual Harlem Shake is a dance that has been danced since the ’80s, when, as the legend goes, a man who goes by the handle ‘Al B’ introduced it to the world,” Deadspin’s Emma Carmichael wrote. “The dance, which is really not much more then a little side-to-side shoulder shimmy with a shake in the forearm, spread further when rappers like Jadakiss and Cam’ron included it in early-aughts music videos. And here’s some great news: the actual Harlem Shake is fairly easy to do.”
Here’s how it’s done:
But there are far more YouTube videos of the current version of the shake.
Here’s one set in the middle of Manhattan at 31st St and Park Ave “during the pre-Nemo mayhem”:
Live TV news is getting in on the Harlem Shake action too (skip to 0:30):
People have even taken this footage showing speedboat passengers being tossed about violently by a wave, which TheBlaze reported about in Sept. 2012, and set it to the Harlem Shake:
Let us know what you think of the Harlem Shake’s potential compared to Gangnam Style by taking our poll.