Back it up, Buss it and Bounce: A History of Twerking


Everybody twerks. It’s a fact of our modern google-glass/e-cigarette lifestyle. At this point everyone has seen Miley Cyrus on instagram straight flexin’, but long before my hometown hero’s audacious ass-clap there were pioneers of twerking (or twurking if you’re a purist) who trailblazed a legacy and buss it wide open.

It begins in the South.

Two cities would lay the foundation for the ascension of twerk: New Orleans and Miami.

Miami, ground zero for today’s twerk renaissance, contributed to the creation of twerking via 2 Live Crew and Miami Bass Music. In 1985 MC A.D.E. reworked Kraftwerk’s much-sampled Trans Euro Express into the first Miami Bass song: Bass Rock Express. With heavy use of the legendary Roland TR-808 drum machine, proto-twerk was born. The music was bass heavy (duh) and fast tempo, a very twerkable sound indeed.

(try to twerk to this)

MC A.D.E. gave the blueprint for the music and Miami provided plentiful ass in need of twerking. 2 Live Crew hosted the matrimony.

Luke Skyywalker and the original twerk-team asked listeners to “throw that dick” in 1986. That’s right the original twerk was done by men who would fuck the air. While 2 Live Crew had it backward they produced the first iteration of twerk. In fact, they were so dedicated to twerking they would go to the Supreme Court to defend their first amendment right to throw the d.

Despite the impact of Miami on twerking some might disagree and point solely to New Orleans as the breeding ground for ass-clapping.

Bounce music was the first time in hip-hop that artists skipped the formalities and told everyone to “twerk.” In 1991MC T Tucker and DJ Irv sampled the 10 second intro to The Showboys’ song “Drag Rap Triggaman”, looped it and threw some bass into it all while chanting “Fuck David Duke” on the first bounce song ever, “Where Dey At.”

With twerking clear to all 2 Live Crew finally got it and released “Pop That Coochie” and “Doo Doo Brown” in 1991, just months after “Where Dey At.”

In 1992 twerking went mainstream, though it still didn’t have a name. Wreckx-N-Effect informed the world of their top priority. Zoomin in on the boom-boom Wreckx zoomed in on the Billboard charts as well in the summer of 92 making it to number 2. (Pharell’s first production work)

At this point twerking began to get its legs and ass. In fact, in 1993 bounce music pioneer DJ Jubilee, using the same music from “Where Dey At,” uttered the words for the first time on record in his call and response dance track “Do The Jubilee All.”

(skip to 0:28 to hear/see the first twerk ever)

There you have it. The creation of twerking. From Kraftwerk to Rump Shaker. Once 2 Live Crew asked all to throw the dick it couldn’t be stopped.

Of course since 1993 there have been dozens of butt shakin anthems. Here’s my list of the best twerk songs since 1993:

1993 – Duice – Daisy Dukes

1993 – 95 South – Whoot There It Is (Where The Booty At?)

1994 – 69 Boyz – Tootsie Roll

1996 – Quad City DJs – Space Jam

1996 – Freak Nasty – Da Dip

1996 – Ginuwine – Pony

1997 – Lil Jon – Bounce Dat Ass

1998 – Juvenile – Back Dat Azz Up (not diplo, not anybody will ever fuck with this) (also the video says 1999, but 400 Degreez was released in November of 98)

1999 – Sisqo – Thong Song

1999 – UGK – Take It Off (Pimp C and Bun B both speak Cantonese in this video)

2000 – 504 Boyz – Wobble Wobble (still using the Showboys sample)

2000 – Ying Yang Twins – Whistle While You Twurk

2001 – Mystikal – Shake Ya Ass (Pharell’s back again in twerkland)

2002 – Ying Yang Twins – Say I Yi Yi

2003 – David Banner – Like A Pimp (Showboy’s sample)

2003 – Lil Jon feat. Ying Yang Twins – Get Low (in addition to pushing the avant-garde of twerk, Lil Jon and his Eastside Boyz also introduced America to skeet)

2003 – YingYang Twins – Salt Shaker

2003 – Nelly – Tip Drill

2005 – Bubba Sparxxx feat. Ying Yang Twins – Ms. New Booty

2005 – Pitbull feat. Ying Yang Twins – Shake

2006 – Chingy – Dem Jeans

2007 – Huey – Pop, Lock and Drop it (Huey hates oxford commas)

2007 – Crime Mob – Rock Yo Hips

2008 – VIC – Wobble

2009 – GS Boyz – Booty Dew

2010 – Big Freedia – Y’all Get Back Now

2011 – Gotty Boi Chris – Booty Wop

2011- Big Sean – A$$

2012 – Juicy J – Bandz A Make Her Dance

2012 – French Montana – Pop That

2012 – Diplo – Express Yourself

2013 – Kstylis Man – Booty Me Down