If you haven't heard or seen a viral video of people going crazy to Baauer's song "Harlem Shake," you are definitely living under a rock. Released nine months ago via Diplo's Mad Decent imprint, Jeffree's, the song has now become the anthem of the trap music movement and has pushed EDM further into the mainstream.
The hilarious videos of college students, Jimmy Fallon, Facebook staffers, and most recently, Stephen Colbert dancing to the song have been the positive reaction. The most prominent negative reaction has been beef between rapper Azealia Banks and Baauer on Twitter, where they argued about her version of "Harlem Shake" being taken down. She told him he didn't belong in Harlem or hip-hop and accused him of not knowing what the Harlem Shake (the dance) was.
This morning, The FADER revealed that the song goes even deeper than the dance, the videos, and the beef. Artist Jayson Musson, who's become famous for his Art Thoughtz videos under the name Hennessy Youngman, came forward to let people know that Baauer sampled his rap group, Plastic Little, and their song "Miller Time," which Musson made about fighting another artist who was crossing out his graffiti tags in Phildelphia. While he's not mad about the uncleared sample, he made sure to confirm his suspicions with Baauer, and he Instagrammed the photo below to show their exchange:
The guy crossing out Musson's tags hit him in the face with a 40 bottle after a Plastic Little show, causing Musson to punch him, which inspired the line in "Miller Time," "And if you bring a forty bottle to battle me/I’ll just punch you in the face/Then do the Harlem Shake" (listen starting at 3:52). The "Harlem Shake" part, as you can surmise, comprises the sample Baauer used.
Musson says, “I just emailed him to make sure it was actually Plastic Little and to thank him for doing something useful with our annoying music. He was a stellar young gentleman about it and expressed genuine surprise that his song got as big as it did.” Read more about the fight that inspired the song "Miller Time" on The FADER, and next time you listen to "Harlem Shake," remember that there was an important artist behind it who was just trying to defend his graff.
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