Pop Vulture

Do the Soulja Boy: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

A series of YouTube videos shows the rise and fall of rapper Soulja Boy's namesake dance.
A series of YouTube videos shows the rise and fall of rapper Soulja Boy's namesake dance. (By Evan Agostini -- Associated Press)
Sunday, December 16, 2007

If you don't remember "Macarena," then you weren't alive in 1995. At the time of its release, the Latin pop tune and its accompanying hand-jive-meets-hokeypokey dance steps were being performed by anybody with a camera pointed at them. But it didn't take long for the innocently fun dance to devolve from "laughing with you" to "laughing at you" status. And just look at the song's performers, Los Del Rio, now -- if you can find them.

Step back three years earlier and everybody who was even tempted to put on a cowboy hat was line dancing to "Achy Breaky Heart," the song that has forever plastered Billy Ray Cyrus with one-hit-wonder status, despite the fact that he's recorded several albums since then. The moral: Attach a goofy dance to your hit song and you're dooming it to someday be nothing more than a punch line.

And now it's happening again, this time in the hip-hop world with the eponymous song and dance from 17-year-old Atlanta crunkster Soulja Boy. The dance itself has a tongue-in-cheek quality that makes you wonder just how serious it was meant to be in the first place. (One step, called "the Superman," has performers leaning forward on one leg and holding their arms out as if they were flying.) And it has spread virally across the Web with a speed Los Del Rio could only have dreamed of. Thanks to the Internet, we can also track the progress of Soulja Boy's inevitable story arc, from its straight-off-the-streets origins to its passage into the Hall of Cheese.

"Crank That (Soulja Boy)." Despite the dark sound of the song's driving beat, the original video puts the focus squarely on the dance, which is performed by two small boys and an elderly couple in a park, among others.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vum3qgoh0x4.

The "How to Crank That" instructional video. SB himself runs down the moves step by step, ensuring that anyone who hasn't quite caught the whole dance can crank it correctly: "Take your right foot, lean, bam, one, two, bam."

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLGLum5SyKQ.

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