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InsideHoops [Streetball]

Inventor of Harlem Shake Interview




| Aug 13, 2003

The Harlem Shake is a dance that started in Harlem, New York, and spread to other urban areas, made it's way into rap videos, and has spread around the world. As the Entertainer's Basketball Classic at Rucker Park announcers will tell you, a man who goes by the name "Al B" and the nickname Sisqo began the modern day version of the Harlem Shake, yet while he gets his praise in Harlem, the rest of the world has no idea. is giving the Harlem Shake man his due. What was originally called the "albee" -- in Rucker and Harlem -- came to be known as the Harlem Shake. editor Jeff Lenchiner met with AL B for an exclusive interview. This is the Harlem Shake founder's first interview ever with a national media source. Get ready for a wild ride. You're known around here as the founder of the Harlem Shake, which has spread far and wide. For starters, introduce yourself.

Al B: My name is Al B. That's all I can say for now. I'm from Harlem, and the Harlem Shake came from Al B. It's a drunken shake anyway, it's an alcoholic shake, but it's fantastic, everybody loves it and everybody appreciates it. And it's glowing with glory. And it's respected. But if we could mystify it, and become historian, about this Egyptian jazz... Okay...

Al B: Pharaohs invented this thing, with spears, and hats, and gowns. And so, it becomes a subject of being communicative to the system and to realization. If you get my drift. I feel you. Tell me more.

Al B: Well the Egyptians were very recycling and very prosperous. And all different types of subjects - tin, copper, gold, diamonds, sapphires, rubies. And as for the Harlem Shake, did you first do it here, with the music playing in between games?

Al B: Yes. It was a drunken dance, you know, from the mummies, in the tombs. That's what the mummies used to do. They was all wrapped up and taped up. So they couldn't really move, all they could do was shake (laughs). The mummies as they were lying down but trying to get back up...

Al B: Trying to get up, all they could do was shake. And when did you start it, and when did other people catch on?

Al B: I've been doing this since 1981. It just came into effect in the 90's. In the 90's it just came into effect, everybody just caught on. Because they had all types of kind of dances out. Who caught on first, EBC?

Al B: EBC, right. And it spread.

Al B: It spread to all the parks, and all the picnics, and all the areas, museums, and, you know. Biologically. How do you feel when you hear people give you credit for it?

Al B: It's beautiful. I have no animosity over nobody. I'm not jealous, I don't have no money. It's not the money, man, it's principal. You know. Long as you behave yourself and you having fun, and you ain't no jailbird, you can have fun. You can do whatever you can do, right? Absolutely.

Al B: Absolutely. The key to life is feeling good...

Al B: Feeling good... ...And having fun.

Al B: Even you don't have no money. A few times people have said that maybe someone can put you in a music video, which might be cool, do you care about that, or not really care about that?

Al B: I don't care about that. It's no adversary to me. I do it to have pleasure. I double the fun like double the pleasure. There you go.

Al B: See what I'm saying? I see what you're saying.

Al B: You see what I'm saying? I see what you're saying.

Al B: Hey, I'm not jealous of the next guy that's doing it better than me. Listen, as long as I'm having fun.

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