Sorry Jake Paul it wasn’t you on this occasion. The dab has become an internet sensation. From soccer players to every single school kid ever. It is a meme that just about everyone knows (that’s kind of the point of a meme isn’t it?) But where did it come from? How did the dance become so etched in our subconscious?
Things it isn’t
There is a fish called a dab. We are not talking about a fish. You also can use a bingo dabber, this is a large pen used to mark bingo cards. That is not the dab we are looking for. And for clarity this article is not about the sherbet dib dab either. Even though they are super tasty.
Claims on the dab
For a long time the rap group “migos” claimed to be the inventers of the dab. In fact they vehemently argued this was the case until they were soundly proved wrong. Although they can be attributed partially with its rise to prominence thanks to their 2015 hit “look at my dab”. If you haven’t heard it, check it out. In no way is it a dreadful song.
It wasn’t the king either
Although Elvis Presley did incorporate a lot of dab-like moves in his energetic live performances, he didn’t invent the dab. He did sing Suspicious Minds though so we will let him off.
So who invented it then?
Most of the evidence seems to point to the move being invented by Atlanta rapper, Skippa Da Flippa. For some while there was a dispute with the artist and the migos over who invented it, but the Migos have since given him the credit. The artists are both on the same record label and even collaborated on a track about…you guessed it, dabbing. So that’s pretty much who invented it, but let’s see what happened thereafter.
Bow Wow got involved with disputes over the dab, clearly irritated by its popularity. Perhaps he was annoyed that it was way more popular than his records? He didn’t claim to have invented the dance but was irked by the name. He claimed the origins of the dance came from a process called dabbing. Dabbing is a way of taking particularly strong marijuana. He claims that this often results in people choking and this is what the dance is supposed to represent.
If you watch the video where he makes the claims he comes across as a smug, self-righteous know-it-all. Fortunately migos were around to put him in his place and atted him on Twitter to point out that he was wrong. I love seeing people being made to look silly.
2015 the breakthrough year
The dab began its meteoric rise to power back in 2015 when Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton celebrated his first touchdown by dabbing in the face of an opponent. Following this it went mainstream, actors, politicians, grandmas. Everyone and their dog were doing the dance.
The modern day
Thanks to YouTubers like Jake Paul and having the dance included as a taunt in the globally popular video game Fortnite the dance has become its own entity. No longer just a dance it is a way to celebrate doing something cool. Kids do it to impress their friends and adults do it (mostly ironically) to prove they are au fait with young person culture. Maybe it will go the way of the bottle flip and end up being resigned to the history books. However, it feels different in some way. I mean if people still do the cha cha slide then perhaps the dab will endure, who knows?