“Harlem Shake” (Baauer)

The controversy involving the conflict between the achievement of a culturally-specific dance and the white supremacist practice of “adapting” material really comes down to this: if people of color could really name themselves, when would this ever be a possible conflict? The irony, perhaps, is that the original Filthy Frank video has no leader but an alternation between an extremely excited Bernie/Berne dance and the Butthead hump; the meme: all iterations require a leader or, more directly, motivation to break from alienated movement. Purportedly a riffing off of Dutch House/Dirty Dutch (among other genres/techniques) with a repeated bipartite structure alternating rooted and mobile (within the measures) bass patterns. Baauer himself claims ownership of the song, which ironically backs into with the imperative sample’s source  critique: an attempted indictment of black rappers who sign endorsement deals. How about a way below this? If we are for each other, then even a citation is unfaithful to the original.

 

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