Last week was the twerkiest week of all time ever, even if it did fail to end on the promised world record-breaking "Twerk Wall" that twerk-presario Diplo had planned for the final day of Electric Zoo (which was cancelled due to two drug-related deaths earlier at the festival).

Miley Cyrus' twerk exhibition at the VMAs, of course, was ground zero for this seemingly sudden twerksplosion, though it was quickly followed by the inclusion of "Twerk" into the Oxford Online Dictionary and the leak of the new Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber single named, yep, "Twerk."

But what is twerking, you (and/or your parents) might wonder?

Well, for one thing twerking goes back two decades, during which it's been promoted by everyone from Lil Jon and Juicy J to Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and "American Idol" winner Fantasia and even gotten folks fired and expelled. So here's a brief history of what the famed British dictionary has now codified as: "Twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance."

Alright, let's get twerk.

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  • DJ Jubilee "Do The Jubilee All" (1993)

    First thing you need to know about twerking is that it is not new. In fact, it's about as old as Miley herself. The term, which is an amalgam of "twist" and "jerk," emerged from New Orlean's Bounce music scene where the dance was namedropped in songs like "Do The Jubilee All" from 1993. It's widely considered the first recorded reference as Jubilee chants "Twerk baby, twerk baby, twerk, twerk, twerk." Two years later, Cheeky Blakk released the song "Twerk Something," the first with twerk in the title.

  • "Whistle While You Twurk" by Ying Yang Twins (2000)

    By Y2K, the bounce scene's dance had migrated down to Atlanta where the Ying Yang Twins, hot off the success of "Get Low" with Lil Jon decided to get their Disney on with "Whistle While You Twurk."

  • Master P "Twerk That Thing" (2000)

    No Limit impresario (and wannabe Toronto Raptor) Master P jumped the twerkwagon way back in 2000. "Shake that thang, twerk that thang wobble that thang, let it bounce, let it swing / Shake what your mama gave ya, you look good dats why they hate ya"

  • Bubba Sparxxx "Twerk A Little" (2001)

    On "Dark Days, Bright Nights," Timbaland's country boy protege penned this <a href="" target="_blank">ode to ass shaking</a> years before he released "Ms New Booty" with, yep, Ying Yang Twins.

  • Lil Jon "Get Low" (2003)

    Lil Jon may be best known for popularizing crunk, but this 2003 chart-topping stripper anthem with Ying Yang Twins and East Side Boyz was definitely the most popular song yet to namedrop the dance move, not to mention showcase it in a music video. "She getting crunk in the club I mean she work it / Then I like to see the female twerking."

  • Beyonce "Check On It" (2006)

    By 2006, twerking was still a southern phenomenon until Beyonce bounced into the mainstream with this smash hit and its indelible hook: "Dip it, pop it, twerk it, stop it, check on me tonight."

  • Justin Timberlake "Sexyback" (2006)

    JT shot twerking into its first number one track with "Sexyback," which featured producer Timbaland's immortal request: "Let me see what ya twerkin' with."

  • Twerk Team (2009)

    The Twerk Team may now claim 400,000 subscribers and millions upon millions of video views, but their, um, back story began with this 2009 post.

  • "Round of Applause" by Waka Flocka Flame Ft. Drake (Feb 2012)

    Waka Flocka Flame shouts out YouTube's favourite booty clappers as he raps: "Bounce that ass, shake that ass like the Twerk Team".

  • "Express Yourself" Diplo ft. Nicky Da B (May 2012)

    Genre-jumping super-producer Diplo dipped into New Orleans bounce music for this tune which blew up in large part thanks to its insanely twerk-filled music video. Oh, and it is responsible for the subsequent surge in upside-down twerking.


    Diplo followed up his viral hit song with a Twitter trend when he held a contest for the best twerk pic hashtagged #EXPRESSYOURSELF. This one from Texas tweeter <a href="" target="_blank">@Mishafmar</a> won the grand prize.

  • #EXPRESSYOURSELF In Canada (2012)

    This twerk pic was second runner-up, but it's number one in our patriotic hearts.

  • "Pop That" French Montana (June 2012)

    French Montana presages the great twerksplosion of 2013 with this million-selling summer 2012 tune, featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and Drake, which once asks the ladies to show us "what you twerkin' with."

  • Teacher Fired For Twerking Photo (January 2013)

    Turned out that <a href="" target="_blank">tweeting naked twerk pics</a> of yourself to Diplo, when you are a Denver teacher, is a bad idea and will get you fired. (Also: tweeting pics of yourself smoking weed isn't cool either, even if it's called the mile high city.)

  • Harlem Shake (February 2013)

    Remember "Harlem Shake"? Yeah, Diplo made that happen, too, while on a break from mainstreaming twerking.

  • Miley Twerks In A Unicorn Onesie (March 2013)

    This one kinda speaks more than a thousand words, but the song she's dancing to is J Dash and Flo Rida's "WOP."

  • Fantasia Sings "Twerking By The Cakes" (April 2013)

    The American Idol winner croons an improvised ode to twerking in the grocery store while on a promo visit to Andy Cohen’s "Watch What Happens Live!"

  • Miley Twerks At Juicy J Concert (May 2013)

    Though Juicy J's stripper smash "Bandz A Make Her Dance" was a hit when it came out in September 2012, it wasn't until May 2013 that it went viral after a video of Miley twerking onstage YouTube.

  • 33 High School Students Suspended for Twerking (May 2013)

    It's not just teachers that get busted for twerking. Thirty-three students got booted from class for shaking their bootys in this twerk video. (Not a good idea to film it on school grounds with school equipment, kids.)

  • "Bubble Butt (Ft Tyga, Bruno Mars & Mystic)" by Major Lazer (May 2013)

    Diplo's dancehall act Major Lazer got in on the game with this, er, cheeky music video, replete with slow-mo twerking, and an assist from pop darling Bruno Mars.

  • Jay-Z Raps About Miley Twerking (July 2013)

    First, Jay-Z rapped "They see I'm still putting work in/Cause somewhere in America/Miley Cyrus is still twerkin'" then he made clear it wasn't mockery when he defended her on the radio.

  • Juicy J's Twerking Scholarship (Aug 2003)

    The solo Three Six Mafia member, who has an Oscar in his house, offers to make some educational dreams come true.

  • Miley Cyrus Twerks Into History (Aug 2013)

    Well, you know what happened. And Miley's made clear it was all according to plan: "Madonna's done it. Britney's done it. Every VMA performance, that's what you're looking for; you're wanting to make history," <a href="" target="_blank">she told MTV</a>. "Me and Robin, the whole time said: 'You know we're about to make history right now."



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