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Twerking, A User’s Guide

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Illustrations by Gluekit  

twerk v. to rhythmically gyrate the pelvis on the sagittal plane. Often done to bounce music, it grew in popularity in the strip-club scene of Atlanta before exploding into a YouTube meme. Synonyms: booty pop, pussy pop, p-pop. Now that everyone from San Diego high-school students to Miley Cyrus and Busta Rhymes has gotten in on it, even the dance-averse have reason to know their twerk-based references.


Proto-twerkers  

2 Live Crew n. seminal hip-hop group whose 1991 video for Pop That Pussy, featuring women twerking in a Miami pool, laid the foundations for the modern twerk

ass clap n. 1. the result of the left and right buttock coming together with force. 2. the sound produced by proper twerking (Make that ass clap / Gone bring it back kstylis, booty me down, 2013)


Beyoncé  

Beyoncé n. platinum-selling artist who brought twerking to a wider audience with her 2006 Pink Panther track Check on It, when she instructed listeners to dip it, pop it, twerk it, stop it, check on me tonight

Blakk, Cheeky n. New Orleans female rapper whose 1994 track Twerk Something is one of the first known twerk anthems

bounce n. a style of music originating in New Orleans in the early nineties, characterized by call-and-response and the Triggaman beat

crunk n. 1. a musical style related to bounce that was popular in the mid-to-late nineties in Atlanta 2. a precondition for twerking adj. 3. excited


Miley Cyrus twerkin'  

Cyrus, Miley n.1. known twerker who popularized the dance after releasing a video wherein she twerks in a unicorn onesie. (They see I’m still putting work in / ’Cause somewhere in America, Miley Cyrus is still twerkin’  jay-z, somewhereinamerica, 2013) 2. a twerking dance (Do the Miley Cyrus bitch and get low the ying yang twins, miley cyrus, 2013)

da butt n. a precursor to twerking, utilizing a slower, more circular butt gyration. Made famous by Spike Lee’s 1988 music video for rap group EU

Drag Rap (Triggaman) n. a single by the Showboys, a Queens-based duo, the beat of which became the basis for bounce music when sampled by DJ Jubilee and others

Juicy J n. a Memphis-based crunk rapper at whose concert Miley Cyrus first publicly twerked

mapouka n. a type of suggestive dance, similar to twerking, performed in the Ivory Coast and known as la danse du fessier. The dance was banned in 1998 but continued to grow in popularity


Wall twerk  

Temple, Jerome n. birth name of DJ Jubilee, a special-education teacher at the West Jefferson High School in Harvey, Louisiana, credited with the first documented usage of the word twerk in the 1993 bounce hit Do the Jubilee All

TR-808 n. an affordable drum machine introduced by the Roland Corporation in 1980 that became the musical foundation for bounce, crunk, and twerk

TwerkTeam n. a pair of Atlanta teenagers whose 2005 video of themselves twerking received a million views within a week, launching a self-twerking video craze


Twins of twerk  

wall twerk n. an advanced twerking maneuver wherein the twerker inverts herself, planting her feet on the wall for stability

Ying Yang Twins n. a crunk hip-hop group from Atlanta whose appearance on Lil Jon’s Get Low popularized twerking nationally

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.


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