All the Other Notable Dances 'Fortnite' May Have Pulled Inspiration From

BlocBoy JB, 2 Milly, and others have already called out 'Fortnite' and its creator Epic Games for allegedly co-opting their dances.

Fortnite dances lawsuits

Image via Getty/Metin Aktas

Fortnite dances lawsuits

With the help of celebs like Drake and streamers like Ninja, Fortnite quickly became one of the biggest cultural phenomenons in the world of gaming. Epic Games released Fortnite last year, and it’s already come to define a generation of gamers. Parents are sending their kids to get Fortnite lessons, while others battle Fortnite addictions. It’s also taken over the world of porn.  

Arguably one of the ways Fortnite maintains its popular status is its customizable qualities. This includes “emotes,” or dances players can either earn from gameplay or purchase within the game. These dances seem to mimic other viral moments in culture, and that’s where a problem lies. The dances in the game are so similar to others that many artists are now accusing Epic Games of stealing or co-opting the moves without any financial compensation or credit.

Back in March, popular Vine star turned YouTuber Marlon Webb called out Fornite for stealing a dance he created back in 2016. The Vine turned into a viral meme many of you might recognize as “Best Mate.”

“I'm not sure if Fortnite knows who I am or if they intentionally stole this concept from me knowing that they could get away with it,” Webb wrote. “Obviously when someone else is profiting off of a concept that you created doesn't feel good, which is why I had to make this video.”

The move, called "Best Mates" in the game, is no longer available for players, but can be used by those who already have the emote from when it was released in Season 3. 

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Fast forward to September. Not only is Drake known for playing Fortnite, but his collaboration with BlocBoy JB helped put the Memphis rapper and his “shoot” dance on the map. After becoming a viral dance challenge, the dance seemed to make its way into Fortnite’s emotes under the name “Hype.” BlocBoy later called out the game on Twitter for using the "shoot" dance without paying him a dime.

EveryTime Somebody Does My Dance Dey Give Credit To @FortniteGame But Dey Ain’t Create Nothing But Da Game So Basically Dey Takin Money And Credit For My Shit Dats Crazy

— Biggest Crip (@BlocBoy_JB) September 10, 2018

By December, things began to snowball. Rapper 2 Milly filed a lawsuit against the game for allegedly co-opting his “Milly Rock.” The appropriation of the move was also spotted by Chance the Rapper earlier this year. The move is dubbed "Swipe It" in the game, and was released with Season 5, but is no longer attainable. 

“Upon information and belief, Epic creates emotes by copying and coding dances and movements directly from popular videos, movies,and television shows without consent," his complaint reads.

I would love to be able to buy Hype and also be purchasing Look Alive or buy “Swipe” and be buying it from both @FortniteGame AND 2Milly

— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) July 13, 2018

Two weeks later, both Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro and internet celebrity Backpack Kid sued Fortnite and NBA 2K for allegedly taking their respective dance moves. Ribeiro is suing the game for stealing the “Carlton Dance,” which is called “Fresh,” and Backpack Kid is filing a lawsuit over his “Floss” dance. The "Fresh" dance is sold in the game for 800 V-Bucks, while the "Floss" dance is no longer available after it was released with Season 2 of the game. 

There are debates about where some of these dance moves originate, or if this can be called “stealing” on behalf of Epic Games.

Part of the issue is the lack of copyrights on many of these viral dances. Rapper 2 Milly and Ribeiro are both reportedly in the process of filing copyrights on their moves. But what about other emotes in the game? As scrutiny of Fortnite increases, we’ve compiled a list of other dance moves the game may have pulled inspiration from.

Dance Moves — Turk from 'Scrubs'

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Oh yes, the beloved hospital comedy Scrubs. Who could forget this antithesis to the make-you-sob Shonda Rhime's classic Grey's Anatomy. In Scrubs, Donald Faison plays the confident and extroverted surgeon Turk. Turks appears in nearly every episode of the series, but his dance routine in Season 5's episode "My Half Acre" is likely his most famous. While trying out for his co-worker's new band, Turk dances to "Poison" by Bell Biv Davoe. 

A perfect mirror of this dance routine exists in Fortnite. It's actually a default emote players get in the game, and not an in-game purchase.

Faison called out Fortnite back in April on Twitter. 

He also declined to do the dance at Vulture Festival in November, after one fan asked. “If you want to see it, you can play Fortnite, because they jacked that shit!" Faison told the audience. 

At the same festival, Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence told the crowd that Epic Games reached out to him over the use of the "choreography."

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Ride the Pony — "Gangnam Style" by Psy

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Who could forget the biggest viral sensation of 2012? To this day, "Gangnam Style" by Psy is the sixth most-watched video on YouTube, with 3.2 billion views. Just mentioning the song elicits a physical response, which is probably why the infamous dance move created was picked up by Fortnite.

Players earn this dance move, called "Ride the Pony," by reaching level 20 in Season 2 of the game, so it's something a lot of people have. Psy hasn't taken any legal action out against the game, at least not that's been widely reported. We've honestly hardly seem him around since "Gangnam Style," but Epic Game's use of the move was referenced in 2 Milly's lawsuit. 

"Epic creates emotes by copying and coding dances and movements directly from popular videos, movies,and television shows without consent," Milly's complaint reads. "Epic does so by coding still frames of the source material. For example, upon and information and belief, Epic coded the 'Ride the Pony; emote, frame-by-frame, from the 'Gangnam Style' dance made famous by the Korean entertainer, Psy. The Ride the Pony emote and Psy's dance are identical in every respect."

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Tidy — "Drop It Like It's Hot" by Snoop Dogg

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Fortnite's emotes vary from current trends like BlocBoy's "shoot" dance, to old references current teens might not even be familiar with. People know about Snoop Dogg and Pharrell's 2004 classic "Drop It Like It's Hot," but it's likely the kids using the "Tidy" emote could have failed to see the resemblance. They were still babies after all!  

Others, however, have wasted no time in pointing out the similarity between Snoop's dance moves and the move in Fortnite. The West Coast OG hasn't publicly complained about it, but his fans sure have. Check out the side-by-side comparison in the video above. 

Love it! @SnoopDogg should follow suit cuz a few fortnite moves I've seen looks like they stole them from the 🐕... #snoopdogg #Fortnite

— Kevin K. (@Kemkline) December 17, 2018

Infinite Dab —Skippa da Flippa

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This next move, the "Infinite Dab," is exactly how it sounds. For 500 V-Bucks, players can purchase the ability to have their character infinitely—for 10 hours—dab like Atlanta's finest. 

You may be wondering, "Who really owns the dab?"

While it's hard to definitively pinpoint the first dab in history, it's commonly agreed the originator is Skippa Da Flippa. The rapper is an affiliate of the Migosthe rap trio who would later go on to push the move into mainstream culture with their song "Look at My Dab." 

Unlike many of the other emotes mentioned on this list, there is still plenty of debate about the dab's origin. In 2015, Rich the Kid claimed Atlanta rapper Jose Guapo started the dance years before.  

Here's a video of Skippa dabbin' in 2014 to his song "How Fast." 

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This dance move went as mainstream as it gets. Everyone from JAY-Z to Hillary Clinton attempted to dab (jury is still out on whether or not this lost Clinton the election). 

Dab if you lost a presidential election @HillaryClinton

— Anthony Grace (@AnthonyGrace10) November 9, 2016

It's difficult to say who deserves a check for this one, but it's clear the mailing address is somewhere in Atlanta. 

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Groove Jam — 'Napoleon Dynamite'

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This is one of the most obvious lifts from Epic Games for Fortnite. There is no dance in the world quite like Napoleon Dynamite's at the end of the titular movie, performed by Jon Heder. You know the one. 

At level 95 in the game players could unlock the move called "Groove Jam," but only if they got it when the battle pass of Season 4 was originally released. Players can no longer use this dance in the game unless they already have it. 


— HBomb94 (@HBomb94) May 1, 2018

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Chicken Dance — Will Arnett in 'Arrested Development'

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These last few moves are deeper cuts, and seem specifically made for cult fans. The "Chicken" dance in Fortnite is a real obvious reference to Will Arnett's character Gob Bluth in Arrested Development. In the show, Arnett mocks others with this odd but original move, which fans could purchase for 500 V-bucks when Fortnite: Battle Royale was released in May. It was also a limited edition emote. 


— 𝐉𝐨𝐞 (@jxemicucci) May 14, 2018

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Jubilation — 'Seinfeld'

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Do teens even watch Seinfeld? It's an important question since this "Jubilation" dance is allegedly a reference to a Season 4 episode of the classic series. YouTube videos of this move, which originate from Julia Louis-Dreyfus' character Elaine, are flooded with comments like: "Lol when a full squad of noobs in FORTNITE get their first victory royale." Lol, indeed. 

The move costs 200 V-Bucks in Fortnite, and is so popular that people do the dance in real life referencing the game, which references Seinfeld. Wild stuff. 

Hootenanny — Jim Carrey in 'Dumb and Dumber'

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This last move might be the oldest co-opted dance in the game. The "Hootenanny," which can be purchase for 500 V-Bucks, seems to be inspired by Jim Carrey's comedic routine in 1994's Dumb and Dumber.

This move hasn't been called out, likely because a lot of people don't even know where it comes from. Like the Seinfeld move, people who spot it in real life typically associate it now with the game. 

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