The Crip Walk is a steady movement of the feet used to spell out gang-related symbols and images. It originated in the early 1970s in Compton, a poor suburb of Los Angeles, California, popularly referenced in rap lyrics. What began as a symbolic movement of the feet in the early 1980s, soon inspired a hip-hop dance in the late 1990s.
Largely composed of nimble movements with the feet, the Crip Walk had a variety of purposes including recognition, showing love and loyalty to fellow Crip members, and making a loud statement to others that the walker is a member of the Crips. Another purpose of the walk (its not a dance) was to insult rivals (most specifically the Bloods), in which they would spell out the name of their rivals and then cross it out. They would also spell out their names, neighborhoods, or other words related to themselves. Crip Walkers would also flash gang related hand gestures (stacking) while performing the dance.
A common practice for Crip members is to use the C-Walk to celebrate the initiation of a new member. It is also largely believed that the C-Walk was used as a warning to other gangs of a future attack by the Crips, or as a signal in a robbery. For example, the lookout would stand outside of the store and act as surveillance, while the robbers would lay in wait and await the signal: the C-Walk. Allegedly, Crips would also C-Walk after shooting or killing a rival gang member in celebration.
Typically performed to West Coast, Gangsta Rap and G-funk, the C-Walk first hit the mainstream with rapper Ice T, who performed it at his concerts in the late 80's. Other rappers, like Snoop Dogg, have continued it from the early 90's. When rapper WC felt the urge to represent his gang at one of his concerts. Since then, a variety of rap artists have featured the C-Walk in their music videos and/or live performances- though those who perform it are usually Crips themselves (or at least have been in the past). They have also warned the younger audience that The C-Walk is not a dance and is meant to show love to Crip members only.
However, the warnings were largely ignored by non gang members who not only practiced and performed the dance but also altered the spelling of the word to alternatives such as "Krypt" or "Krip" in an attempt to distance the dance from its gang origins (although they commonly referred to it as simply "The C-Walk"). In addition, many young and popular hip hop artists such as B2K and Bow Wow began performing the dance in their concerts and music videos, which thus increased the popularity of the dance. Concerns about its origins and the potential to start fights amongst students led schools to ban the C-Walk on school property and at school functions in response. The popularity of the Crip Walk continued to grow and it became a part of Hip-Hop culture in the late 1980s and 1990s. In later years, a spin-off version called the Clown Walk was created.
Sometimes, this version of the Crip Walk is referred to as "The O.G. Crip Walk" – O.G. being the acronym for "Original Gangsta".
Because there are different variations to the walk, Crip Walking has evolved into various versions (primarily to distance it from its gang origins). However, there are several mainstream versions of the Crip Walk that have always been a part of the Crip culture:
- The "V": This is the original Crip Walk, in which involves shifting your body by making "V" shaped movements with your feet. Executing the V also allowed members to spell out words or names. Often, Crips would spell out the word "Blood" and then 'erase' or 'cross it out' to further antagonize their rivals. It also has The "V" Variation and The "V" Step Back.
- The Heel-Toe: A recently popular variation to the C-Walk. This version involves crossing one leg and making a semi twist with your heels and toes. This also involves a lot of angle work (for example: your right foot must be directed at 90 degrees behind your left foot in order to make that semi twist) and takes a little longer to get the hang of. If this move is featured in a C-walk, it actually becomes Clown Walking, rather than Crip Walking. Nevertheless, it is a part of Crip Walking as a whole. There are many variations to the Heel-Toe, the most common of which are known as the reverse and inverse heel-toes.
- The Shuffle: This move-set involves shuffling your feet forwards and backwards. Snoop Dogg performs this in WC's music video "The Streets."
- The Snake: When performed, the walk is then referred to as the "Clown walk". The user will move his front leg left and right on his heel, while his back leg follows shortly after. A fairly simple move, for experienced C-walkers. Rapper Warren G does this in WC's video "The Streets". It also is close to The "Heeltoe".
- Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell Williams – "Drop It Like It's Hot"
- Three 6 Mafia – "Side 2 Side"
- Jesse Dasilva – "Harlem Shake It Nigga"
- Max Porter – "Bring It Down South Shawty"
- Xzibit – "Get Your Walk On" "X"
- Westside Connection – "It's The Holidaze," "Gangsta Nation"
- WC featuring Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg – "The Streets"
- Natina Reed – "It's Over"
- Kurupt – "C-Walk"
- Tha Dogg Pound – "Cali Iz Active"
- P. Diddy featuring Loon, Ginuwine, and Mario Winans – "I Need a Girl Part II"
- Destiny's Child featuring T.I. and Lil Wayne – "Soldier"
- Shade Sheist featuring Nate Dogg & Kurupt – "Where I Wanna Be"
- Westside Connection – "Bow Down"
- Afroman – "Colt 45 (Tumbleweed, Crazy rap)"
- Korn – "Got the Life"
- T.I. feat. Nelly – "Get Loose"
- 2pac ft. DJ Fatal – "Still Ballin (Remix)"
- The Game – "Put you on the Game"
- Kurupt – "On site"
- Kardinal Offishall – "Ol' Time Killin"
- P. Diddy Feat. Pharrell – "D.I.D.D.Y"
- Lil' Bow Wow Feat. Snoop Dogg – "Bow Wow (That's My Name)"
Recently, there have been several European music videos featuring the Crip Walk. One example was performed by French rapper La Fouine.