There's a dance revolution that's been going strong since the 2000s and hip-hop continues to add its own sauce to the mix with chart-topping songs and viral-worthy moves. Last month, Drake launched his own social media dance craze on TikTok when he introduced a new dance step on his No. 1 hit single, "Toosie Slide." The hashtag #ToosieSlide hit a billion views in just two days on TikTok, making it the fastest music trend on the social video sharing platform.
This isn't the first time Drake had celebrities and fans alike dancing to one of his songs. Three years ago, his #InMyFeelings challenge took off thanks to comedian and internet personality Shiggy. Over 787,000 people have posted their versions on Instagram. But Drake is not the first rapper to spark a viral dance craze. In fact, rappers have been creating dances that have become a nationwide trend since the 1980s. However, it was the 2000s when the hip-hop dance tracks went into overdrive.
In the 2000s, when the internet was in its infinite stages, rappers often used dance crazes to promote their singles. In 2007, Atlanta rapper Soulja Boy had fans leaping into the Superman pose with his rap-dance song "Crank That." Meanwhile, Lil Jon pushed snap music and its dance to the mainstream with his track, "Snap Yo Fingers." On the West Coast, Cali Swag District was teaching folks how to do the Dougie with the aptly titled "Teach Me How to Dougie."
In New York, G.Dep introduced fans to the Harlem Shake, which later morphed into the "Chicken Noodle Soup" dance by DJ Webstar. Fat Joe and Remy Ma also had thugs swaying back and forth with his classic club banger "Lean Back."
Currently, the TikTok generation has sparked dance crazes through rappers' songs. Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage" launched a dance challenge courtesy of 19-year-old choreographer and TikTok personality Keara Wilson. And K Camp's "Lottery (Renegade)" received a huge boost in streams after TikTok dancer Jalaiah Harmon went viral with her version of the Renegade dance.
Since dance challenges are the new trend on TikTok and rappers are still capitalizing off dances in their music, XXL highlights best hip-hop dances songs since the 2000s. Check it out.
In the early 2000s, former Bad Boys Records rapper G.Dep introduced fans to the Harlem Shake in his video for "Special Delivery." For the Director X-helmed "Let's Get It" visual, G.Dep invited some teens to perform their jittery dance moves for the camera. The Harlem Shake would spawn the "Chicken Noodle Soup" dance years later thanks to DJ Webstar and Young B's 2006 song and video of the same name.
Chingy's "Right Thurr” video introduced fans to the Midwest dance called the Monastery (or the Chickenhead). The dance consists of moving your shoulders and a quick two-step. Chingy also dropped a “Right Thurr (Remix)” video with Jermaine Dupri and Trina showing the proper technique when doing the Monastery.
"Salt Shaker"Ying Yang Twins Featuring Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz
At the height of the crunk movement, Ying Yang Twins delivered their dance anthem "Salt Shaker" in October 2003. The dance is very simple as it allows women to shake their moneymakers. The Atlanta duo's track helped usher in the twerking movement.
"Shake Ya Tailfeather"Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee
Nelly, Diddy and Murphy Lee's song "Shake Ya Tailfeather" is more of a call and response for people to move their bodies on the dance floor. As for the dance, it combines several moves including the Monastery and the two-step. The song, which was created for the Bad Boys II film soundtrack, earned Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 2004 Grammy Awards.
"Lean Back"Terror Squad Featuring Fat Joe and Remy Ma
Fat Joe and Remy Ma had everyone leaning in the summer of 2004 with their dance anthem “Lean Back.” Inspired by the dancehall move the Rockaway, the dance allows you to just simply cross your arms and sway side to side while leaning back. The Scott Storch-produced banger reigned at the apex of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for three consecutive weeks in August of 2004.
Initially, D4L's "Laffy Taffy" was sold as a ringtone. After pushing three million ringtones, the Atlanta group decided to release it as a song and launch a dance routine along with it. D4L's fun-filled video helped push the song to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2006.
"Chicken Noodle Soup"DJ Webstar and Young B Featuring AG
In 2006, DJ Webstar had the East Coast rocking with his popular hit song “Chicken Noodle Soup." Inspired by the Harlem Shake, which also appears on this list, the dance consists of feet shuffling and arms swinging. In September of 2019, BTS member J-Hope and singer Becky G remixed “Chicken Noodle Soup." The duo's video has garnered over 154 million views so far on YouTube.
"Pop, Lock & Drop It"Huey
Along with Chingy, fellow St. Louis rapper Huey also sparked a nationwide dance craze with “Pop, Lock & Drop It” in 2006. A precursor to twerking, the dance consists of a woman twisting her hips, popping her butt and dropping low to the ground. The video was a major hit on popular video shows BET’s 106 & Park and MTV Jams through February 2007.
Lil Jon is among the many rappers and producers who helped bring Atlanta's snap rap sound into the mainstream during the mid-2000s. After garnering success with his crew the Eastside Boyz, Lil Jon went solo and delivered his dance-rap anthem “Snap Yo Fingers.” The ATL artist made the dance simple for everyone. Stand in place, twist your body, snap your fingers and you're done. And if you're feeling brave, add a few different dance moves in between the snaps.
Atlanta rapper Yung Joc introduced fans to his crank dance in his "It's Goin' Down" video, which went viral on YouTube. The Nitty-produced banger, with its whining synths and clicking drumbeat, was part of the rising snap rap wave coming out of the ATL. The single earned Yung Joc a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Song in 2007, and a platinum plaque from the RIAA for one million copies sold.
The late rapper Mac Dre pioneered the hyphy movement before his tragic death in 2004. In 2006, the hyphy scene was in the spotlight thanks to Bay Area legend E-40 and fellow rapper Keak Da Sneak. The duo highlighted the movement in their visually-stunning, black-and-white video for “Tell Me When to Go.” The hyphy dance consists of shaking your head and jumping (or jerking) around with your crew.
At the height of the Atlanta snap-rap trend, a 17-year-old Soulja Boy dropped “Crank That,” a catchy, steel drum-driven hit that propelled him into a rap superstar. The accompanying dance move consists of bouncing on one foot from side to side, cranking of the wrists and leaping into a Superman pose. The song sat at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven weeks and garnered him a Best Rap Song Grammy Award nomination in 2008.
Atlanta's DJ Unk had fans "Walk It Out" with his bouncy dance-rap jam. The dance consists of doing the two-step on your tiptoes and swinging your arms. “Walk It Out” became a top-10 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Unk went on to gain even more success with his second dance-rap single "2 Step," which went viral on YouTube.
Dallas, Texas rapper Lil Wil sparked a new dance craze with "My Dougie" in 2007, before Cali Swag District went mainstream with their 2010 dance-rap hit “Teach Me How to Dougie.” The dance was inspired by veteran rapper Doug E. Fresh.
Texas birthed plenty of dance crazes in the late-2000s. Arlington, Texas rappers GS Boyz created a viral dance hit with their 2008 debut single "Stanky Legg." The dance consists of moving one leg in a circular motion and then switching it to the other leg. The single garnered GS Boyz a platinum plaque while the dance itself morphed into other movements like the Booty Dew and the Dougie.
"Teach Me How to Dougie"Cali Swag District
Inglewood, Calif. rap group Cali Swag District took the Dougie to a whole new level with “Teach Me How to Dougie” in 2010. Their dance move is a slight variation of the “Stanky Legg,” which also appears on this list, and fuses the two-step movement of Doug E. Fresh’s Dougie dance.
The Rej3ctz had Chris Brown and the nation grooving to their "Cat Daddy" song in 2010. The dance was so simple. Just move your arms like you are pushing a wheelchair. At the time, their video went viral garnering 70 million views on YouTube.
Bobby Shmurda's Shmoney dance moved into the mainstream after fans embraced his “Hot Nigga” video. In the clip, the Brooklyn rapper throws his hat in the air and moves his hips from side to side. The dance itself fits perfectly with Jahlil Beats’ menacing production on the track. The song and dance went viral nationwide and helped secure Bobby a record deal with Epic Records.
"Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)"Silento
Silento's dance-rap song "Watch Me (Whip/ Nae Nae)" initially gained popularity after being uploaded to SoundCloud in 2014 with over 100,000 streams. In 2015, Capitol Records came calling and signed the then-17-year-old rap phenom to their label and pushed the song further into the mainstream. The Atlanta rapper's video was also a big hit on YouTube sparking the hashtag challenge #WatchMeDanceOn.
"Hit the Quan"iLoveMemphis
Hit the Quan was a dance initially created by Rich Homie Quan in his 2015 video for "Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)." However, Memphis rapper iLoveMemphis added his twist to the dance routine with his bouncy track "Hit the Quan." The song and video subsequently went viral on YouTube. ILoveMemphis' dance moves became so popular that Kendrick Lamar and Terry Crews hit the Quan in the visual for K. Dot's song "These Walls."
Two years after Bobby Shmurda gave us the Shmurda dance in 2013, fellow Brooklyn rapper 2 Milly ignited a new dance craze called the Milly Rock. The dance consists of a side step to the right while swinging the left arm diagonally across the chest to the right and then doing it in reverse. The dance, along with the eerie-sounding track, had people wanting to Milly Rock on every block nationwide.
"Look at My Dab (Bitch Dab)"Migos
Although the Migos are often credited with the invention of the dab moves, the Atlanta trio points to associate Skippa Da Flippa as the one who introduced it to them. Fellow rappers Peewee Longway and Rich The Kid have also popularized the dab. But the Migos put a stamp on the dance move with their video for "Look at My Dab" in 2015.
Michigan rappers Ayo & Teo sparked a nationwide dance craze with the Rollie dance. The movement combines the Dab and other dance moves. The duo’s video has garnered over 700 million views and sparked the #RollieChallenge on the now-defunct video-sharing app Vine. Interestingly, years before the coronavirus pandemic, Ayo & Teo wore face masks while performing their dance.
"The Woah"Tspeed and 5upamanhoe
The origins of who created The Woah dance remains a mystery with several rappers and dancers claiming to have created the viral dance. Rappers Tspeed and 5upamanhoe dropped a song called "The Woah" and credited the Rollie Bros, a troupe of Dallas dancers who had created a dance called the Rollie in 2015. Simultaneously, another rapper named A-1 SteakSauce released a track called "Hit My Woah" with the song's producer, DJ Dangerous, claiming to have created the dance. Meanwhile, students at Prairie View A&M claimed the dance originated at their school. In the end, it's all still very confusing. But what isn't is how dance has taken on a life of its own through songs and video old and new.
"Woah"KRYPTO9095 Featuring D3MSTREET
Not to be confused with Tspeed and 5upamanhoe's "The Woah,” Miami rapper KRYPTO9095’s dance-rap song, simply titled “Woah,” went viral on TikTok in 2018 with over 21 million views so far. The instructional dance video itself has garnered over 94 million views on YouTube. KRYPTO’s dance takes cues from "The Woah” and can be combined with several other movements like the Rollie and even the Wicked dance.
K Camp's 2019 song "Lottery (Renegade)" became a smash hit on TikTok thanks to classically trained dancer Jalaiah Harmon. The 14-year-old teen and her friends debuted their new Renegade dance on Instagram using the Reazy Renegade-produced song as its soundtrack before it went crazy viral on TikTok with the #RenegadeChallenge. Initially, Harmon didn't get credit for creating her "Woah"-inspired dance, much to Black Twitter's outrage. But that changed after The New York Times profiled her, and Harmon got to show off her fancy footwork at the 2020 NBA All-Star Game and on Ellen. Harmon also met K Camp who thanked her for pushing "Lottery" over 100 million streams on DSPs.
In 2018, Drake’s hit song “In My Feelings” went viral on Instagram thanks to internet personality Shiggy’s viral dance clip. In 2020, Drizzy scored another dance hit when he dropped the instructional dance single, “Toosie Slide,” which went viral on TikTok. The catchy chorus mixed with its simple dance tutorial, almost similar to the "Cha Cha Slide," garnered Drake three billion views on the social video-sharing platform via the #ToosieSlide hashtag.
"Savage"Megan Thee Stallion
The ladies bring the fun to hip-hop dance tracks too. Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” dance was first created by 19-year-old choreographer and TikTok personality Keara Wilson. Soon after, the Houston hottie started performing the dance steps in lingerie and sweats in her home while under quarantine, all seen on Instgagram. The flirtatious dance, which consists of moving your hips and swinging your arms, has garnered over 563 million views on TikTok through the hashtag #SavageChallenge.