- The cast of the BET show 'The Game,' which has spawned the 'Dip & Pitts' craze. (Photo: Courtesy of BET Networks)
On last Tuesday's episode of The Game, the half-hour BET comedy centered around the lives of players on the fictional San Diego Sabers NFL team and their wives and girlfriends, one of the characters, former Saber team captain Jason Pitts (played by Coby Bell), performed a song/dance called the "Dip & Pitts."
The song, also referred to as the "Pittsy Shuffle," is a ridiculous Auto-Tuned track, complete with goofy lyrics about Pitts' athletic abilities, and a spastic accompanying dance. The performance seemed to be a spoof of the "Ickey Shuffle" and other attempts by athletes to make music about their prowess on the field.
It quickly turned into an Internet meme, becoming the talk of Twitter for several days. There were cries for "Dip & Pitts" ringtones, for the song to be added to iTunes. People filmed themselves doing the dance and posted the footage to YouTube. People started using "dip and pitts" as a verb. And then, bizarrely, the "Dip & Pitts" made its way to radio, thanks to a local station jock.
On Wednesday, the day after the episode aired, EZ Street, of 93.9 WKYS played the song during his afternoon show.
"When I ran the song it was crazy, people were going crazy," EZ Street told me last week. "I think I was one of the first, if not the first, in the country to play it," he says. After EZ played the track, Russ Parr, of the nationally syndicated Russ Parr Morning Show, which began on WKYS, played the "Dip & Pitts" three times on Thursday. Because Parr's show is in 24 markets, his spinning of the "Dip & Pitts" helped it become something of a national radio sensation. Now, other stations are following EZ Street's lead. "I was like, 'C'mon, I already killed it," he says.
So why did EZ do it? Basically, his listeners dared him to, via Twitter. "After the show, I was like, 'Hey, should I play 'Dip & Pitts' on the radio tomorrow?' So many people responded, I was like, 'Yeah, I gotta play it.'"
"Did I call my boss and ask if I could do it? No," he says.
"I'm at a place now where my boss trusts me," he continues. "My program director knows I've been highly successful in the D.C. market for years, and I've been a trendsetter and a pioneer, so she trusts me. We talked about it after I played it, and she thought it was funny."
After EZ Street received the dare, he recorded the song from YouTube. He then announced that he'd play it if 93 callers requested it. He ended up getting more than 200 calls--including one from an inmate at an Arlington County correctional facility, who called collect — and hundreds of Twitter requests.
Once EZ Street played the "Dip & Pitts," BET gave him a shout-out for getting the song on the radio, via the show's Twitter account, @BETtheGame.
"Someone tweeted them that I was playing it, and they tweeted me about it," he says. "I thought, we're onto something here,'" he says.
BET, which typically pulls down clips of its shows from YouTube and is otherwise protective of its material, seems to be courting the viral success. In addition to shouting out jocks, like EZ, who've played "Dip & Pitts" on the radio, it's allowed clips of the "Dip & Pitts" to stay up on YouTube (full episodes have, as always, been pulled down).
It makes sense that they're appreciative of the additional exposure — the network has a lot riding on the show's success. The Game, originally a show on the CW, was canceled in 2009, despite a huge fan-led campaign to keep it on the air. BET announced in April that it has negotiated with the CW to create new episodes of the show. After nearly two years of waiting, fans finally got season four of The Game kicked off on January 11, when the BET version debuted and set a new ratings record for the network.
EZ Street believes all of the dipping and pitting going on is, in part, based on how happy fans are to have the show on the air again "I think the whole "Dip & Pitts" thing is part of the bigger success of the show, of people waiting for show to come back," says EZ Street.
And, of course, it is something pretty unique. "You're not gonna see that sort of thing on The Office," he says.
Also, it's a meme involving an African-American male that isn't based in something negative: It's not like laughing at Antoine Dodson and his "Bed Intruder" rant or demonizing Kanye West for his MTV Music Awards outburst; it's intentionally silly and fun. Still, some bloggers have already targeted the "Dip & Pitts" craze as an example of buffoonery. EZ Street thinks they need to relax.
"As far as the whole buffoonery coonery thing goes, this definitely wasn’t that," he says "I think we’re at a point in time, with this generation of African- Americans, we don’t look at it as that. I mean, there was a group of people that thought Dave Chapelle was offensive, and another group that thought it was extreme comedy. An older person who is not up on what’s hip or hot, might look at the 'Dip & Pitts' and think, 'Oh my God,' but this definitely wasn't that."