Back when Ice Cube was sick of seeing brothers "on the video trying to out-dance each other," Atlanta was dancing its ass off. Fact is the early rap that came out of this city was dance music, just like the Miami bass that migrated to Atlanta in the mid-'80s, forever infecting our sense of sound.
Over the last two decades a long line of dances emerging from Atlanta has left an indelible imprint on pop culture - from the Bart (Michael Jackson even did the dance with in his 1992 "Remember the Time" video) to the Bankhead Bounce to the Soulja Boy.
But before all of that, there was the Yeek.
So named for the call onlookers would yell out when a group of syncopated dancers emphasized every fourth step in their routine, the Yeek was a dance reserved for real dancers. You might try it at home alone in front of the mirror or playing around with your friends. But you didn't just break out in public with the Yeek unless you truly knew what you were doing and had your routine down pat. And unlike most fad dances, the Yeek never really died out. There's even a 2011 video of a boy band called Hamilton Park teaching some homogenized new millennium version of the Yeek.
At its height in the late '80s, yeeking was the dance of choice at high school talent shows across the city, from Mays to Columbia. This was around the same time when a strip mall on Gresham Road in Decatur housed the popular black teen nightclub Shyran's Showcase. It was also the era of such preppy gangs as the Stray Cats, which was really more of a social club than a straight-up gang. How hard of an image can you really project wearing madras plaid pants and polos with a tennis racket case slung over your shoulder? But damn, they were fly.
A new documentary in the works intends to capture this watershed moment in the city's history - just as LaFace Records was setting up shop - by unearthing all of this cool lost footage of brothers trying to out-yeek each other at high school talent shows and the like.
The filmmakers are still looking for footage and old school/new school dancers. To contribute, contact Creshindo at Creshindo@yahoo.com or 770-873-9549.
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