'Don't do the Notti Bop': Meaning behind disturbing TikTok dance explained

Alexandra Ciufudean October 18, 2022
'Don't do the Notti Bop': Meaning behind disturbing TikTok dance explained

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TikTok’s latest dance trend, the Notti Bop, has a darker meaning than you might imagine.

Clips of the dance went viral this week, along with the Kyle Richh, TaTa, and Jenn Carter track of the same name. Some users even filmed their teachers joining in on the trend, unaware of its dark connotations.

Now, those in the know are warning TikTokers against promoting the trend by spreading awareness about the Notti Bop’s real meaning and origin story.

Notti Osama and DD Osama rapping in the music video for Without You. Screenshot via Raps & Hustles YouTube

Who was Notti Osama and what happened to him?

TikTok’s disturbing Notti Bop dance traces its origins to the slaying of 14-year-old New York-based drill rapper Notti Osama.

Osama, whose real name is Ethan Reyes, was stabbed to death by another teenager in an altercation that took place on the New York City Subway in July 2022.

Viral clips of the incident circulated online showing the fight and, later, an unconscious Reyes being carried by his friends.

Emergency services rushed the 14-year-old to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was the youngest of six and had started a career as a drill rapper, releasing a number of tracks together with his brother, DD Osama.

The genre, known for its darkly violent lyrics often taunting rival musicians, is believed to have fueled the fight.

A candlelit vigil was later held, where friends and family paid tribute to Osama’s memory. His brother, DD, revealed on social media that he blames himself for what happened: “What if I stayed? If I just stayed with him more time, he would really be here today.”

The Notti Bop’s dark meaning explored

Last week, rappers Kyle Richh, TaTa and Jenn Carter released a drill track called Notti Bop. The song samples Castaways from The Backyardigans’ Nickelodeon soundtrack and features its own set of dance moves referred to as “punching the hips.”

The official music video, released on October 12, opens with a close-up of three knives on the ground. The camera then pans in and out of the rappers doing their signature dance move, swinging their fists in towards their hips and stomach.

TikTok dubbed this move the “Notti Bop” and it quickly went viral outside the New York drill rap world. One video even shows a teen doing the Notti Bop in the London Underground.

Divorced from its dark context and meaning, the Notti Bop may seem an innocent dance trend, so what’s going on?

As savvy online users have pointed out, the Bop’s “hip punching” move seems to mimic someone being repeatedly stabbed. Additionally, the Kyle Richh track is punctuated by cries of “Notti”, in a chilling nod to 14-year-old Notti Osama’s slaying.

This origin story gives the Notti Bop its dark meaning, which prompted online users to call it “disrespectful“.

DD Osama’s response to the Bop

On October 9, Notti’s older brother DD released a diss track in response to the Notti Bop, called Back To Back.

The drill song, which features Dudelyo, pulls no punches and seems bent on redeeming Notti’s name.

Back To Back is available on Osama’s YouTube channel and has already made waves in the drill rap community, where fans praise it for “going hard.”

‘Don’t do the Notti Bop’: TikTok reacts

As the trend crosses over into the real world, TikTok users are raising the alarm about the Notti Bop’s real meaning – and why their impressionable fans should not do it.

YouTuber Lord Hec, whose drill rap and dance-focussed content is watched by half a million subscribers, explained why his viewers should avoid doing the Bop. “It’s crazy,” he said, “this Notti Bop dance is basically glorifying Notti Osama’s death.”

Other creators have chimed in with their own takes on the dance’s true meaning.

However, videos of teens getting their teachers and even priests to Notti Bop suggest the trend may have already spread too far outside of TikTok and into the offline world.

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Alexandra Ciufudean is the Head of Entertainment at The Focus where she manages a growing team of outstanding writers. On a day-to-day basis, she hunts for the latest in online trends and keeps her finger on the pulse of US culture, politics, and celebs. Alexandra helped launch The Focus in 2020 and developed the site into an expert online news source. A language nerd through and through, she boasts 5 years of experience as an editor, writer, and content specialist across web, video, and social platforms, and a master's degree in Comparative Literature.