Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)

Watch me whip nae nae by thebutterfly-d97bf3v.jpg

Date Aired
August 26, 2015
Running Time
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Todd plays "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" on the piano

A pop song review

Todd: As my longtime fans know, I am a person of considerable musical skills. I'm a talented musician not just on this instrument, but also several others.

Clip of Todd playing accordion on a couch and singing Violent Femmes - "Blister in the Sun"
Todd: Let me go on like I blister in the sun

Todd: I'm a songwriter of some renown. You may have heard of my famous original composition "Itchy Leg".

Clip from "Telephone" review
Todd: Got an itchy leg
Got an itchy leg
Oh, what an itch

Todd: My vocal skills have earned me comparisons to a young R. Kelly, I [clip of Rock Band] once finished "Green Grass and High Tides" on medium, and I am the world's foremost music critic and analyst. Some point to [pictures of...] Robert Christgau or Chuck Klosterman. To that I say, how many YouTube subscribers do they have? Set, point, and match. [Portrait of "Todd in the Shadows: Musical Genius"] So yes, I am proud of all my various musical talents and accomplishments.

But there is one music-related skill that has thus far completely eluded me—I can't dance. [Clip of Todd dancing horribly while "I Can't Dance" by Genesis plays in the background] I am a graceless rhythmless buffoon on my feet. In fact, I don't even really use the pedals on this piano. [Shot of Todd's feet underneath the piano, struggling to push at the right time. Todd slips and catches himself.]

Footage of people dancing in various clubs

Todd (VO): And that does affect the way I listen to music. Let's put it this way—I have a wide array of headphones and not many appropriate clubbing outfits.

Todd: Clubs and hoodies don't really mix all that well. Even if I could dance, the sweat stank would have people leave the place pretty quickly.

Clip of live performance on BBC

Todd (VO): And even if I had any rhythm, I don't really get modern dance music. Seems like anything with a loud enough beat counts as dance music, even if they're dull, depressing, or just utterly devoid of joy. Most club bangers sound like I'm being banged in the head with a club. And EDM is electronic dance music the same way MTV is music television.

Todd: So yeah, that's my full disclosure here. I don't dance. I [clip of Terror Squad's...] don't even do the "Lean Back", and that was explicitly a dance song for people who refuse to dance. [Todd attempts the "Lean Back"] Ah, it's too hard. Okay...

Video for "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)"

Todd (VO): ...I needed to tell you all that because this video is going to be a review of a popular dance song, and spoilers, it's gonna be negative. So...

Todd: ...when Todd In The Shadows says he doesn't like a dance song, you need to take that with a grain of salt. Like, duh, of course he doesn't like it, he can't dance.

Silento (backing): Now watch me whip (Kill it!)
Now watch me nae nae (Okay!)
Now watch me whip whip
Watch me nae nae (Watch me do it!)
Now watch me whip (Kill it!)
Now watch me nae nae (Okay!)
Now watch me whip whip

Todd: That said, there's also a good chance that this song does, in fact, suck.

Silento: Silento!

Todd (VO): This braying little welt is a 17-year-old from Atlanta who goes by the name Silento.

Todd: The O is silent, so it's just pronounced Silent. Ignore me, I'm rambling.

Todd (VO): In any case, yes, he comes in riding the hot new dance craze that is presumably sweeping the nation in places where people actually dance, as in, not anywhere around me. I've never seen a single person do it. I'm 31, so I haven't been to a middle school prom since...

Todd: ...2012? Yeah, the school asked me to stop coming. So no, I haven't seen anyone do this dance.

Todd (VO): And that might be because it's actually two dances. First, there's the Whip.

Clip of Willow Smith - "Whip My Hair"
Willow: I whip my hair back and forth
I whip my hair back and forth

Todd: [laughing] No, no. Although Silento isn't any better.

Todd (VO): Anyway, there's the Whip, and then there's the Nae Nae. But how do you do them?

Todd: If only there was someone willing to demonstrate.

Silento: Now watch me whip (Kill it!)
Now watch me nae nae (Okay!)
Now watch me whip whip
Watch me nae nae (Watch me do it!)
Now watch me whip (Kill it!)

Todd (VO): Uh-huh. Okay. I'm watching. Yep. Those sure are dances.

Todd: Look, any dance that catches on with people is gonna have to be pretty basic.

Todd (VO): I assume both these dances are not actually that impressive, but I'm not a choreography critic.

Todd: Now I know what you're thinking. You're hearing this pre-adolescent use his cracking off-key voice to demand that you watch him do a stupid dance and you're thinking...

Todd (VO): ..."wait a minute, I remember this song! I've heard this song before!"

Todd: No. That's a different song.

Clip of Soulja Boy - "Crank That (Soulja Boy)", which comes up repeatedly in this episode
Soulja Boy: Soulja Boy off in this hoe
Watch me crank it
Watch me roll
Watch me crank that Soulja Boy

Todd (VO): I thought I was going crazy the first time I heard "Watch Me (Whip)". There could not possibly be another "Crank That (Soulja Boy)".

Todd: But there it is. It's basically the same song!

Soulja Boy: Now watch me yule

Todd (VO): How on Earth did we allow a second "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" into the world?!

Todd: No, listen. It's the exact same song.

Silento: Watch me, watch me
Ooh watch me, watch me

Todd (VO): Same obnoxious, squealing brat, same stupid dance, same cheap-ass backing track.

Todd: I imagine you buy beats to songs like this out of, like, one of those [picture of...] 25-cent gumball machines.

Todd (VO): This just plain shouldn't be possible. For one, people are calling this a viral hit, which...I don't know how that makes sense because viral hits are usually weird novelties you've never seen before. We've definitely already seen this before from Soulja Boy. But more importantly...

Todd: ...we shouldn't be getting a second Soulja Boy because I'm pretty sure "Crank That" is universally agreed upon as one of the worst songs in history.

Todd (VO): I mean, that's not just me, right? I'm not just imagining that. We all agree that that's one of the worst songs ever, right? On top of that, right now, "Crank That" is about eight years old, so right in the window of peak lameness. Too old to be cool anymore, not old enough to be retro. So if there was a time where we could be free of this, it should be right now. Why in the world in 2015 do we have another Soulja Boy?! It's not like...

Todd: the mid-'80s, we had to listen [clip of Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots - ...] to "Disco Duck 2"! This makes as much sense as a production studio releasing [poster for...] Battlefield Earth: The Next Generation! And here's the amazing thing.

Todd (VO): Not only is this a complete redux of "Crank That (Soulja Boy)", it's somehow even worse. Not a whole lot worse, mind you, there's not much room under the bottom of that barrel, but it's still definitely a little worse. How? Well...

Todd: ...let's see how it starts.

Silento: You already know what it is

Todd (VO): Okay, this is gonna sound like a minor nitpick, but this is becoming a serious pet peeve of mine.

Todd: I'm really starting to loathe being told what I already know. In most cases, it's not even true.

Clips of Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX - "Fancy"...
Charli: I'm so fancy
You already know

Todd: No, I didn't. And if I do know, it's usually because it's crap.

... and Limp Bizkit - "Rollin'"
Fred Durst: Keep on rollin', baby
You know what time it is

Todd: Yeah, time for crap, apparently.

Todd (VO): But in this case, yes, most of Silento's audience would, in fact, know what it is, even though this is Silento's first song. They would know because Silento did...

Todd: ...not come up with the Whip...or the Nae Nae.

Clips of We Are Toonz - "Drop That #NaeNae", cartoon characters doing the Whip, and the Houston Texans doing the Nae Nae in the end zone

Todd (VO): The Whip and the Nae Nae were already hugely popular dances well before this song came out. Apparently, I need to watch more football.

All Silento did was lazily capitalize on both their popularity simulataneously by slapping together a zero-effort song based on pre-existing trends. So...

Todd: ...say what you want about "Crank That (Soulja Boy)"; at least it was his dance.

Todd (VO): It's his dance that he came up with, which is why he named it after himself!

Todd: Silento's just stealing other people's work!

Todd (VO): And maybe you're, like, "well, maybe he improves upon it. I mean, you have to fill the rest of the song with something, right?" Yes, he does; does he ever. And what he fills it with is...

Todd: ...I'm not kidding here, other dances.

Silento: Now watch me duff, duff, duff, duff

Todd (VO): Basically, the chorus is him shouting at you to do the Whip and the Nae Nae, and the verses are a list of every other terrible sixth grade dance craze from the last ten years.

Silento: Do the stanky leg (stank)
Do the stanky leg (stank stank)

Todd (VO): "Stank stank" indeed, and do the bop, and other dance steps I've never even heard of.

Silento: Now break your legs (break 'em, break 'em)
Break your legs

Todd: What is this, things I'd rather do than listen to this song?!

Todd (VO): And since he seems to be trying to do a complete catalog of every stupid dance that's existed in his short lifetime, he also, of course, includes...

Todd: ...the Soulja Boy.

Silento: Now watch me yule (Soulja)
Now watch me Superman (okay!)
Now watch me yule (Soulja)
Now watch me Superman (okay!)

Todd (VO): He actually name-checked the song that he's ripping off. That is shameless.

Todd: Even Fifty Shades of Grey doesn't write [cover of book with...] "It's just like Twilight!" right on the cover. So yeah, that's it.

Todd (VO): There's nothing else, that's the song. It's just a list of dances. Call it the "De-Evolution of Dance".

Todd: And here's the thing. That's fine. Dance songs don't necessarily need to sound great.

Todd (VO): They just have to get people to move in formation. That's fine, as long as it stays where it's supposed to be—in the playlists of DJs at weddings and bar mitzvahs, and occasionally [another touchdown dance] end zones. [Clips of Cali Swag District - "Teach Me How to Dougie"...] I heard that Dougie song very rarely, [...and GS Boyz - "Stanky Legg"] I never heard the song you're supposed to do the Stanky Legg to, but I actually do know this song. I hear it all the time. It keeps rising on the Billboard Charts; hell, it might make it to #1! I'm driving to the grocery store, I turn on the radio, there's this goddamn song! Why?! Even if I knew how to do the Nae Nae and wanted to for some reason, I'm goddamn driving! I can't even "watch him, watch him," because without the video, there's nothing to watch! I can't dance to this; why would you put it on the goddamn radio?!

Todd: When was the last time you [clip of Marcia Griffiths'...] heard "The Electric Slide" anywhere but a dance floor?! When was the last time you turned on a car radio, and heard [DJ Casper - "Cha Cha Slide" plays in background] "slide to the left, slide to the right. One hop this time. Two hops this time"?! Never!

Todd (VO): These songs don't belong anywhere outside of a very specific environment. And that's not true of every dance craze. You know, the Twist. The Twist holds up. The Hustle holds up. [Clip of Los Del Rio's...] Even the Macarena is, like, you know, a real song with a real beat that didn't sound like every other generic dance song that existed at the time.

Todd: That's clearly not true of "Watch Me". I haven't even gotten to the worst thing about this song—Silento himself.

Silento: Gonna do it for me

Todd (VO): Now here's a kid so obnoxious, he makes [promo pic of...] Rae Sremmurd sound listenable. Even Soulja Boy had a level of arrogant, youthful confidence that you can maybe count as a positive. Silento's overexcited squawking is more like a...

Todd: ...five-year-old who's about to hurt himself attempting a cartwheel.

Silento: Watch me, watch me
Ooh, watch me, watch me

Todd: [whining] Mom, you're not watching!

Todd (VO): So yes, the kid has no demonstrated talents except in listing other people's dances. I am bad at predicting who's gonna fade away after one song, but please, please, please let it be him.

Todd: And I'm not saying I want him to be a one-hit wonder; I want him to stop recording music after one song.

Todd (VO): Which is a distinct possibility. As of right now, this is his only song. If you want more Silento, your only option right now is to listen to the version of the song he recorded in Spanish.

Album cover of Watch Me
Silento: Mira me Whip
Mira me Nae Nae (watch me do it!)
Do the Stanky Leg (stank)
Do the Stanky Leg (stank stank)

Todd: Yes, he translated two words. Just the kind of worldliness I expect from the kid who named himself after the Spanish word for "silent" and got it wrong. [Picture of...] Look out, Pitbull. You've got competition for that title of Most Inept Spanish-Language Rapper Alive. Seriously, what the hell kind of musical performer names himself Silento anyway? That's like an architect naming himself Homelesso.

Todd (VO): You know, honestly, I feel like I'm wasting my time here. It's a song with no lyrics, no hook, no performer, this isn't even a song. [Vibe article: "Meet Silento, The 17-Year-Old Who Has The Nation Whipping and Nae Nae-ing"] I mean, look at this. [Zoom on the question and answer] "What is your creative process like? It just pops in my brain, and I just write the record before it goes [sic] away." He doesn't even have a creative process because he didn't create anything! [Clips of...] At least "Whip My Hair" let you know why you were whipping your hair and what purpose that served. Even Soulja Boy bothered to write lyrics with, like, rhymes and stuff. He was creative enough to write "Superman that hoe." What does that mean? Who knows, but at least I never heard of that before!

Yeah, this kid makes me feel like I've wasted my life. I spend all my life practicing my various crafts, trying to hone my talents, and here this little shit pukes out some nonsense drivel and gets a Top 10 hit.

Todd: Well, never too late to make up for lost time. [Demonstrating...] Do the Sprinkler, do the Chicken Dance, [interlaces fingers and waves] do the whatever this is, do the Carameldansen. Do it. Move your body parts in the specific set of motions which I have predetermined! Do it! God, I hate myself.

Silento: Ooh watch me, watch me
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Crank dat

Closing tag song: Genesis - "I Can't Dance"

"Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" is owned by Capitol Records
This video is owned by me


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