Shmoney Dance Analysis

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While many bloggers and music critics will be quick to claim that rapper Bobby Shmurda took over the internet this summer, it might be more accurate to say that the internet took over Bobby Shmurda. Shmurda's song "Hot N***a" became a global success despite the general consensus that the song was not very good. The song went viral due to its music video, or more specifically, the part of the video where Shmurda tosses his Knicks hat into the air, turns his back to the camera, and starts swaying his hips, arms, and legs in a motion that has come to be known as the "Shmoney Dance." Users of the social media site Vine picked up on this roughly six-second sequence and the "Shmoney Dance" quickly crossed over from the world of music to the far more…show more content…
In the original context of the song, Shmurda's dance appears to be a celebration of his friend "Mitch" having murdered somebody approximately a week prior to the recording of "Hot N***a." Consequently, it is not unreasonable to place a negative connotation upon the viral dance (and certainly upon the song as a whole, in which Shmurda brags that he has been selling crack since fifth grade, among other things). However, as Jefferson shows, the "He-couldn't-hurt-a-fly" beat of Drake's piano intro synchronizes perfectly with Shmurda's movements in the "Shmoney Dance." Jefferson effectively blends Shmurda's boastful confession with Drake's melancholy apology, softening the off-putting edges of the former. As such, Jefferson's vine could possibly be seen as a defense of Shmurda: a statement that depravity is in the eye of the beholder. Whether or not that was the author's intended message, the fact that his adaptation of Shmurda's work lends itself to new interpretations of the original supports the status of Jefferson's vine as an example of fair…show more content…
However, this does not preclude Jefferson's vine from qualifying for fair use. It would be a stretch to say that the use of a six-second snippet from Drake's piano intro is "excessive," or that Jefferson is taking "the heart of the work." Moreover, it is extremely unlikely that anybody would watch Jefferson's vine as a substitute for listening to or purchasing Drake's song. Jefferson's use of Shmurda's content is a far more interesting matter. To say that Jefferson is hurting the market for Shmurda's song or stealing the "heart" of his work seems almost delightfully ironic, as the rampant usage of Shmurda's clip on Vine appears to have created the market for "Hot N***a." The value of Shmurda's song lies almost entirely in the virality of the six-second dance clip; for Shmurda to lay exclusive claim to that short segment as the heart of his work would demonstrate a gross failure to understand the nature of his fame. Memes and other such types of viral content are unique in that, rather than creating a situation in which consumers might peruse the 2nd work in place of the first, millions of people will be viewing the original only after seeing its various

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