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...
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.
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).
“I just had the idea of taking a Dutch house squeaky-high synth and putting it over a hip-hop track,” he says. “And then I tried to just make it the most stand-out, flashy track that would get anyone’s attention, so put as many sounds and weird shit in there as I could. The dude in the beginning I got somewhere off the Internet, I don’t even know where, and the lion roar just makes no sense.” He laughs. “There’s the sound of flames in there, too, it’s just really low.”
While the Harlem Shake is an actual, shoulder-swiveling, Harlem-originated dance that’s been around since 1981, Baauer says the name for his track is not an homage to this, or his two-year stint uptown, but merely the track’s sample, Philadelphia rapper Plastic Little’s “Miller Time.”
“A friend had shown me that track where he says, then do the Harlem shake, and it just got stuck in my head for a while, so I used it,” he says.
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