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joo·kin
/ˈjo͝okən/

noun
noun: jookin

a street dance that originated in Memphis, Tennessee alongside “Buck” music during the 1990s.
“there will be rap music, performing arts, and jookin”
synonyms: Gangsta Walking, G-Walk, Buckin, Tickin, Choppin

 


THE HISTORY OF JOOKIN

Article by Jai

Depending on your age, experience or knowledge you might call it Gangsta Walking, Buckin, Ticking, Bovan Dance and some even refer to it as “Urban Ballet”.

In the early 80’s, Memphis was a growing city in Tennessee. Bordering Mississippi, Memphis is located along the Mighty Mississippi River, which separates it from the state of Arkansas, in the southwestern corner of Tennessee. Known across the World as the “Home of the Blues” and “Birthplace of Rock n Roll” Memphis has always had a deep background in music.

With its rich musical history, when rap music was created in the 80’s, Memphis wanted its own sound in the industry. DJ Squeeky, DJ Zirk, Playa Fly, Skinny Pimp, 8Ball & MJG, 3-6 Mafia, Tommy Wright III, La Chat, and many others were The Memphis Underground Rap scene. An underground rap sound that was very distinct to Memphis. Hard bass, rolling hi-hats, steady snare combinations, matched up with gangster lyrics of all sorts  was the foundation of Memphis Underground Rap music. This foundation of music and lyrics, would also become the basics of this style we call Memphis Jookin.

Evolving since the early 80’s, the dance Memphis Jookin has grown tremendously. Starting as a simple 1 2 step in the club, now Jookin would be described with a basic foundational step and rhythmic bounce, combined with sliding, gliding, tippy toe spins and stalls, mixed with lyrical wordplay. Jookin is a freestyle based dance, but can be done in routine a format.

After almost becoming extinct in the early 2000’s, with the help of the original members of the Jookin Group G-Force (Daniel P., G-Nerd, Dr. Rico), the media team of Jai Productions (who filmed and promoted the style) and U-Dig Jookin Academy (a school to help teach the style), Jookin has had a major resurgence in the city and now is worldwide. Jookin has been featured in news publications spanning the entire globe. Jookin has went from being a very underground style only in Memphis, to being featured in worldwide commercials, music videos, being taught in schools and Jookin groups across the world.

Now, Jookin is a very large community with 1000’s of active members. Since the resurgence of Jookin, the style has spread both to the youth and made some of the originators dust off their shoes. Some of the most notable Jookers are Lil Buck, G-Nerd, Lil Black, LaShonte, Dr. Rico, N.Dot and many more… Continue to support the style and stay tuned for much more, we’re just getting started!

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