Atlanta-based rap group We Are Toonz is best known for the improvisational dance called the “NaeNae” in a series of viral videos that started with the song ” Drop That #NaeNae .”
Months after it was released in 2013, the dance in the “Drop That #NaeNae” video became a viral phenomenon on Vine, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube after the four members, Tavin “Levi” Bing-Gardner, Christopher “Crash Bandit” Major, Kavin “K.B.” Bing-Gardner and Calvin Larmar “Callamar” Glass, posted short video clips doing the dance themselves.
The song has gone on to receive over 2.3 million YouTube views and become an international phenomenon last month, after Miley Cyrus told an Australian talk show that the Nae Nae had replaced twerking as her favorite dance move.
But K-pop artists like Bangtan Boys (BTS) and 4Minute had already been doing the move in their music videos and the four-man band took notice.
When KpopStarz asked the band who discovered the Nae Nae first, Miley Cyrus or Hallyu musicians, all four members simultaneously agreed “K-pop artists for sure.” KpopStarz sat down with Tavin “Levi” Bing-Gardner, Christopher “Crash Bandit” Major, Kavin “K.B.” Bing-Gardner and Calvin Larmar “Callamar” Glass, the four artists who make up We Are Toonz, earlier this week, to discuss why their music and trademark dance made such a big splash with Korean artists, in an exclusive interview.
According to the members of We Are Toonz, the group had no idea they were writing an international dance hit when they recorded “Drop That #NaeNae” in 2013.
“We just thought we were gathering and uniting people in Atlanta,” Levi said.
“We wanted to create a dance move that would bring everyone in our community together and have fun.” He admits the song’s popularity has been a bit hard for them to wrap their head around.
“The dance itself, it got too big,” Callamar said.
“We were dancing to the song ‘Stoner’ by Young Thug, and the next thing we knew, we were doing the Nae Nae! It’s not about one particular girl.
It was a catchy name.” It was a name that caught on across the Pacific.
When asked what it was that he thought Korean fans could relate to about their music and moves, Levi summed it up in a word.
“It’s about the energy,” he said.
“Our energy is off the charts and K-pop is all about energy and we incorporate all types of fun and energy into our music.” “We both are probably more focused on entertaining than just the music itself.
We bring energy and pump people up,” Crash Bandit agreed.
The rap crew also saw similarities between the rhymes that come out of Atlanta and Korea.
“[The rapping in K-pop] basically has the same meaning and feeling as our rap music,” said Callamar.
“It’s all about storytelling and expression.
I respect that.” We Are Toonz was pretty specific about their favorite K-pop act.
“We really like GOT7,” KB said, pointing to the group’s label JYP Entertainment as a big reason they followed the group.
“We have been following JYP since they had Rain,” he added.
Levi was diplomatic when we asked which K-pop artist they would you most like to see performing the Nae Nae.
“When we look on Vine or YouTube we see a lot of the artists already incorporating the dance in their routines,” he said.
“We have some new dances coming out so we can’t wait to see the creativity from [all] K-pop artists.” Watch the music video for We Are Toonz’s viral craze “Drop That #NaeNae” RIGHT HERE