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The Dab or Dabbing, not to be confused with the recreational use of hash oil that goes by the same name, is a style of hip hop dance that involves dropping one’s head with one arm raised and resting the face inside the elbow of the other arm, which essentially resembles the gesture of a polite attempt at muffling a loud sneeze. Originating from the hip hop scene in Atlanta, Georgia, the dance became mainstream popular after numerous professional football players adopted it as a celebratory gesture during games in August 2015.
While “The Dab” trend is generally believed to have originated from Atlanta, Georgia’s hip-hop scene sometime during the first half of 2015  , the question of who invented the dance move remains in dispute among several Atlanta-based hip hop artists and collectives, many of whom are affiliated with the record label Quality Control Music, including Migos, OG Maco, Skippa Da Flippa and Rich The Kid. According to Migos’ member Quavo, the dance has been gaining traction in Atlanta’s local hip-hop scene since as early as 2013, although it didn’t reach the tipping point on Internet hip hop communities until the local rappers began releasing songs and music videos that either feature the dance or lyrical references to The Dab during the summer of 2015, most notably Skippa Da Flippa’s “How Fast Can You Count It” and Migos’ “Look at My Dab” (shown below).
The name of the dance itself its etymology has also come under dispute; In November 2015, a local FOX affiliate news station in South Carolina mistakenly reported that “The Dab” was named after Clemson University’s head football coach Dabo Swinney, which was quickly pointed out as an erroneous report by the readers, while many others jumped to the misassumption that “The Dab” is a reference to the act of “dabbing,”  a homonymous slang term for an unrelated emerging trend of smoking high-concentrate hash oil. In December 2015, the latter misinterpretation was most infamously put forth by rapper Bow Wow in a Facebook video, which similarly prompted online backlash and ridicule from others looped in the online hip hop communities.
Meanwhile, Quavo of Migos further added to the confusion by stating that the dance wasn’t even called “dabbing” during its onset:
“It wasn’t even called dab. We didn’t even know it was called dab. Y’all just called it the dab.”
On May 22nd, 2015, YouTuber T-Jay Hayes  uploaded one of the earliest tutorial videos for “The Dab” dance (shown below, left), racking up more than 2.3 million views within the first year. On July 30th, YouTuber Malik The Martian  uploaded another tutorial video in which Jay Pe$os demonstrates how to “hit the dab” (shown below, right).
News Media Coverage
On July 28th, music news site The Fader  reported on the emerging dance trend in an article titled “I Can’t Stop Watching These Videos Of Kids Dabbing In Atlanta,” which provided a description of the dance move and its brief history of origin, as well as a series of video examples that have been circulating on Instagram. On August 5th, hip hop news site XXLMag  also ran a similar article about “The Dab” craze, crediting Migos as the inventors of the dance move.
Dispute Over Origin
On the day after the publication of XXLMag’s article, a minor Twitter dispute arose between Migos  and their labelmate OG Maco  regarding the contentious issue of who came up with the Dab first. On August 6th, OG Maco tweeted a link to the XXLMag article and claimed that Skippa Da Flippa, another rapper signed with Quality Control Music, was the one that popularized The Dab, contrary to the article’s citation of Migos as the pioneer of the dance. In response, Migos tweeted back at OG Maco saying that Flippa is part of the Migos family, which sparked a brief yet awkward exchange of subtweets between the labelmates throughout the day.
Hip Hop Artists
Since rising to national prominence in August 2015, a number of well-known celebrity hip hop artists have jumped on the bandwagon by dabbing on stage during live performances and in music videos, including Future, Rich the Kid and Metro Boomin, among many others. In October, Jay-Z performed a shy variation of the dance move on stage at the Tidal 10/20 concert, which was met with mixed responses from the fans on Twitter. In December, 2 Chainz began selling “Dabbin Santa sweaters” through the merchandise shop on his website, which reportedly brought in almost $2 million in revenue by the end of the year.
By mid-September, “The Dab” had reached yet another major turning point when numerous professional athletes began adopting it as their celebratory dance on camera, beginning with Cincinnati Bengals’ running-back Jeremy Hill dabbing on the field during the game against the Oakland Raiders on September 13th, although the most well-known performance of “The Dab” to date by a professional athlete has been attributed to the Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cameron Jerrell Newton dabbing after scoring a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks on October 18th. In the following months, the celebratory dance trend continued to draw participation from other players in the National Football League (NFL), as well as other well-known athletes in the National Basketball Association (NBA), most notably Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers, and Lorenzo Cain of the Kansas City Royals in the Major League Baseball (MLB). In January 2016, the dance craze made its way across the Atlantic Ocean and caught on with European football players, including Paul Pogba of Italian football club Juventus and Jesse Lingard of English football club Newcastle United.
During the campaign for the 2016 elections, several politicians have hit the dab. The most notable and widely criticized example came from Hillary Clinton on a January 11th episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show.
Elizabeth Warren has also dabbed.   On July 14th, 2016, South African President Jacob Zuma dabbed at opposing political parties while delivering his address at the ANC victory countdown in Johannesberg.  On October 5th, 2016, Democratic candidate for US Senate Loretta Sanchez ended a debate by dabbing (shown below). The moment was covered by CNN,  Huffington Post,  Los Angeles Times,  and more.
The Dab or Dabbing, not to be confused with the recreational use of hash oil that goes by the same name, is a style of hip hop dance that involves dropping one's head with one arm raised and resting the face inside the elbow of the other arm, which essentially resembles the gesture of a polite attempt at muffling a loud sneeze. Originating from the hip hop scene in Atlanta, Georgia, the dance became mainstream popular after numerous professional football players adopted it as a celebratory gesture during games in August 2015.