The year is 2010: Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne were involved in 10 of the Top 20 Billboard rap songs of the year, reinforcing the idea that YMCMB will be around forever; B.o.B had just entered into the public eye for the first time, blissfully un-woke and relevant; and Takeoff of Migos was only 15 years old. A rapper named Lil B was making noise in certain internet circles thanks to his surreal run of music videos and mixtapes, all of which were being produced at a historic pace. The one man entertainment machine was at his creative peak, inventing the cooking dance and popularizing the "swag" ad-lib amongst his industry peers long before both trends would be coopted into popular culture.
As with Lil B's other trends, the rapper didn't receive the recognition he deserved in a timely manner, but recently a video pointed out that Lil B performed the first recorded instance of the dab back in 2010 in the video for "Suck My Dick Hoe." At 2:00, you can see Lil B bring his head into his bent elbow briefly, and although his second arm isn't outstretched, the move involved the same "base" mechanics.
Further research into this very rare dance move unveils a thread that notes how the video for "I Cook" sees the Basedgod doing something similar at around 1:34. Is it possible that the young Migos were very big Lil B fans who scoured all of his videos in search of inspiration? Perhaps. But the dab is also one of the only dances in human history that could've been invented by accident. I've been dabbing for years under the guise of not spreading germs after I sneeze, and Dee Brown went on to beat Shawn Kemp in the 1991 NBA dunk contest by dabbing. Even Chris Brown used to dab all the time while removing his fitted hat with his elbow. However since Lil B has yet to publicly take credit for the dance while also shaming anyone who is using it without giving proper credit—as he famously did with his cooking dance—maybe there's a chance that this is a coincidence. Or maybe Lil B is so far ahead of the curve that he himself doesn't appreciate the contribution he's accidentally made towards hip-hop culture almost 6 years later. Watch the videos and judge for yourself.
Slava Pastuk is dabbing. Follow him on Twitter.