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The Nae Nae, the Shoulder Lean, the Wop and the Crank That: Every viral dance needs a theme song to go with it. And in a year when bubblegum rap has been resurgent due to the likes of Fetty Wap, there’s even a helpful compendium in the form of Silentó's "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)," which is like a millennial version of Arthur Conley's '60s chestnut "Sweet Soul Music."

While Conley spotlighted the great soul stars of the ‘60s, from Otis Redding to James Brown, Silentó riffs on the dance moves that matter right now. The Atlanta rapper chants out a bevy of them: “Do the Stanky Legg! Break your legs! Now watch me youuu, now watch me Superman!” You can watch him Whip and Nae Nae on YouTube.

Hip-hop has its origins in dance music, and there have been countless fads over the years. For the modern listener, the unfortunately titled “ringtone rap” era of the mid-2000s, when a swath of Dirty South acts such as D4L ("Laffy Taffy"), Dem Franchize Boyz ("Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It") and Young Dro ("Shoulder Lean") enjoyed a brief moment near the pinnacle of the pop charts, is a key inspiration. And after Mississippi teenager Soulja Boy blended the look of D4L rapper Fabo with his own manic energy and used a YouTube video to land a record deal, his resulting "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" became a template for spreading the latest moves in the Internet era. On the West Coast, the late Mac Dre's "Thizzelle Dance" was only a regional smash, but it’s had a long shelf life, thanks in part to the many kids who post videos on YouYube mimicking his “thizz.”

In the past, dances were picked up through videos broadcast on MTV and BET and sheer osmosis. Today, they’re spread via gifs on social media sites. There’s a whole wing of Vine- and YouTube-popularized stars, as Napster Pop Editor Jason Gubbels wrote a few months ago in "Vine: Pop’s New Frontier." Its rap contingent includes Silentó as well as Bobby Shmurda, the Harlem street rapper whose Shmoney Dance propelled "Hot Boy" last fall, and Atlanta rapper T-Money, whose Whip dance powered "Nasty Freestyle" this spring.

There are too many examples of dance raps to fit here, not the least of which is the deathless Twerkin' dance, which we covered back in 2013 with "Get Twerkin'." But Mr. C the Slide Man's "Cha Cha Slide," which continues to be a sports arena staple to this day, deserves mention. Clap, clap, clap, clap your hands!

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