Oya Dab! Dabbing Into The Origin Of The Dab Dance

Oya Dab! Dabbing Into The Origin Of The Dab Dance

Everyone at the moment seem to be catching on the Dab craze, from hip-hop artists to sportsmen to office workers and even to Medical peeps.

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Final year Medical students of the Obafemi Awolowo University doing the dab at their dinner recently

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Dabbing is a dance move popularized in Nigeria by Olamide and DJ Enimoney’s hit track Oya Dab but make no mistake, this move has its origin far from Nigeria and has been around for quite a while! And I can bet you probably thought otherwise and never knew that.

But where exactly did it come from?

While “The Dab” trend is generally believed to have originated from Atlanta, Georgia’s hip-hop scene sometime during the first half of 2015, the question of who invented the dance move remains in dispute among several Atlanta-based hip hop artists and collectives, many of whom are affiliated with the record label Quality Control Music, including Migos, OG Maco, Skippa Da Flippa and Rich The Kid. According to Migos’ member Quavo, the dance has been gaining traction in Atlanta’s local hip-hop scene since as early as 2013, although it didn’t reach the tipping point on Internet hip hop communities until the local rappers began releasing songs and music videos that either feature the dance or lyrical references to The Dab during the summer of 2015, most notably Skippa Da Flippa’s “How Fast Can You Count It” and Migos’ “Look at My Dab” (shown below).

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The name of the dance itself its etymology has also come under dispute; In November 2015, a local FOX affiliate news station in South Carolina mistakenly reported that “The Dab” was named after Clemson University’s head football coach Dabo Swinney, which was quickly pointed out as an erroneous report by the readers, while many others jumped to the misassumption that “The Dab” is a reference to the act of “dabbing,” a homonymous slang term for an unrelated emerging trend of smoking high-concentrate hash oil. In December 2015, the latter misinterpretation was most infamously put forth by rapper Bow Wow in a Facebook video, which similarly prompted online backlash and ridicule from others looped in the online hip hop communities.
Meanwhile, Quavo of Migos further added to the confusion by stating that the dance wasn’t even called “dabbing” during its onset:
“It wasn’t even called dab. We didn’t even know it was called dab. Y’all just called it the dab.”

Dabbing in fact is much more than the dance. The dance is just a physical representation of the word, a means of highlighting the user’s confidence, swagger, and ability to put together a fire outfit all at once.

So next time you do “the dab”, make sure you do it with that load of swag that makes it immediately noticeable. After all, not only do you now know how to do it, you also know the “stuff” behind it.

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