There’s been a swath of local rappers and producers making melodic, upbeat tracks for bopping, the dance style made in Chicago’s west side that’s growing in popularity throughout the city, but many of these great fiesta-ready songs are missing directions on how to actually bop. It’s not necessary for anyone to provide a step-by-step “how-to” in the lyrics to a track made for the dance, and part of what’s so appealing about bopping is that it’s easy to pick up the basics; at the same time I imagine some folks have gotten discouraged from trying it out after watching bop kings Lil Kemo and Dlow show off their athletic, wild skills in any of their YouTube videos.
Fortunately the bop kings are here to help out anyone interested in giving the dance a try but too timid to do so without some guidance. The dancers recently released instructional songs-slash-videos—Dlow’s “The Dlow Shuffle” dropped late last week and Lil Kemo’s “Kemo Step” came out yesterday, and on both tracks the kings give each other a shout-out before belting out a step-by-step process for nailing the dances. It’s fascinating to see and hear the different ways Dlow and Kemo approach bopping, even if the idea of, say, mimicking Dlow’s fast and fluid Charlie Brown still seems difficult. “The Dlow Shuffle” is spreading fast; it’s racked up close to 80,000 YouTube views so far, and within a couple days after it came out I overheard a fellow commuter at the Jackson Blue Line stop yelling the different moves to the dance and complaining about how he couldn’t pull it off. I imagine “Kemo Step” will take off just as quickly too. Give both dances a try and watch the videos below, and while you’re at it, check out “Kemo Walk,” a new track from Pivot Gang rapper John Walt—you won’t pick up any new bop skills listening to “Kemo Walk,” but it’s a fine tune.