How To Make Crack

Bay Area rapper Lil B’s “cooking” dance seems to be reaching full-fledged ubiquity. We’ve seen Justin Beiber make reference to it, P. Diddy did it when he introduced Lil B’s performance at South by Southwest last week, and lots of other rappers are doing it in their videos. (Above, Atlanta’s OJ Da Juiceman gives it a go.) The basics of the dance are mostly hand-and-wrist motion, like you’re holding a pot and stirring its contents. It’s meant to mimic the actions of cooking crack.

Here’s Virginia’s Pusha T, in the video for his song, “Cook It Down,” from the new mixtape, Fear of God.

Lil B made a ten-minute video about how to do the dance last summer, in which he also reminded everybody to eat healthy. But the moves actually get a better presentation in the video for his song, “I Cook.”

Here’s someone named DTuyer’s mom doing the cooking dance last weekend:

The roots of the dance go back farther than you might have realized, though. Here, in the 2007 video for the Gucci Mane song “My Kitchen,” we see a young Waka Flocka Flame showing off his stirring style. (Most distinctly at the 2:09 mark.)

That’s a great song. OJ Da Juiceman, also a member of Gucci’s crew, gets mentioned in the lyrics there, too. Da Juiceman’s new song borrows heavily from Master P’s 1997 hit “Ghetto D.”

Around that time, 1997, which was a couple years after Raekwon the Chef posed with a Pyrex pot for the artwork that accompanied his Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… album, I saw the great Brooklyn duo M.O.P. perform a show at Tramps, a since shuttered club in the Flatiron District. Towards the end of show, some thirty or 40 members of M.O.P.’s posse had joined them on stage. (The “P” in M.O.P. stands for posse, actually. The “M” and the “O” stand for “Mash Out.”) And as the rapper Lil Fame shouted his rhymes during the great song “Downtown Swinga,” the part that goes, “Strugglin’!/Slingin’ that crack rock/Jugglin’!/Keepin’ them crack spots bubblin’…” I noticed one of the guys next to him (maybe it was their associate Teflon, or their manager Laze E Laze?) lean forward and enact a certain motion with his hands.

The next day at work, I noted this to my friend Shani, with whom I’d gone to show. I had thought the guy was miming the lighting of a crack pipe (I had actually thought the lyric was “keepin’ those crack pipes bubbling…”) Which had surprised me, because the smoking of crack, as opposed to the selling of it, has always been generally looked down upon in hip-hop. And this guy had looked very exuberant as he was doing it.

But no, Shani corrected me about the lyric, that it was crack “spots” that were bubbling, and explained that she had understood the guy to be giving a cooking display. I’m pretty sure she was right.

Man, Lil B was like four years old in 1997.