DJ MoonDawg brings bopping to the masses while Elmo does the "Kemo Step"

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The west-side dance movement known as bopping has blossomed throughout Chicago during the past year, and plenty of locals are looking to push it beyond the city limits, including WGCI on-air personality DJ MoonDawg. On Saturday he dropped a 13-track mixtape called We Invented the Bop, which features plenty of folks behind the kind of upbeat, sweetly melodic party-rap songs that are made for bopping—Stunt Taylor, Sicko Mobb, Lil Chris, Breezy Montana, and bop kings Dlow and Lil Kemo. MoonDawg's intro to We Invented the Bop makes it clear that he intended to hook people outside the Windy City: "See all last year I gave you a lot of that quality drill music. But see that's not the only thing we do in Chicago, so let me go ahead and introduce you to the next shit."

I e-mailed MoonDawg over the weekend to find out how he selected the tracks for the mixtape, and he told me his selections came from a desire to get people from coast to coast to bop to every tune:

It was important that all the songs had the right energy and vibe that really captures what bop is, how it feels, and what it sounds like. So I collected songs that were already proven local bop hits and mixed those in with some new and exclusive songs from artists that are really at the forefront of the bop music movement here in the city. 

MoonDawg isn't alone in spreading the gospel of bop—a couple weeks ago the bop kings appeared on the Steve Harvey Show to teach the celebrity comic-turned-TV-host how to dance to "The Dlow Shuffle," Dlow's recent how-to-bop tune that's gone viral in video form. Dlow and Lil Kemo followed that up by going on Fox 32's Good Day Chicago to repeat the task, though their interactions with Fox's on-air personalities were hopelessly awkward. While "The Dlow Shuffle" has gotten a good bit of media buzz, Lil Kemo's instructional bop song "Kemo Step" is popular in its own right; just yesterday I came across a Vine of a man dressed as Elmo dancing to "Kemo Step" while a gaggle of kids and parents follow his lead.

The scene took place at Calumet City's Jump N' Jam Playland, a center for kids' parties that's filled with inflatable playground equipment, which has recently had "Kemo Step" on repeat. "That song is really popular," says Jump N' Jam office staffer Jessica Carey. "A lot of people come and request it." At one point the staff considered not playing "Kemo Step" entirely. "It's a kids place so we didn't think that maybe it was kid friendly," Carey says. But Kemo doesn't curse in the song and Carey says both kids and parents like the track, so it's kept its place in the Jump N' Jam party playlist. It's also helping Kemo get his dance out to people who don't frequent the play center—when I called up Jump N' Jam to ask about "Kemo Step" Carey was quite surprised that I'd heard about it. I just hope Lil Kemo gets Jump N' Jam's bopping Elmo to dance in his next video.

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