STORY: Why Trip Lee’s ‘Manolo’ Featuring Lecrae Went Dance Viral


Perhaps no song in Christian hip-hop history has
been choreographed to more times than Trip Lee’s
GAWVI-produced song “Manolo” featuring Lecrae
— at least that’s what the Internet would suggest.

Since the release of Trip’s album Rise in Oct. 2014, “Manolo” dance videos have amassed millions of
views on YouTube. So how does a song go “dance
viral,” and why has “Manolo” found so much
success in that regard?

Rapzilla asked Kiersten Willis, a dancer who’s spent years on the hip-hop dance team of the Phoenix
Suns and choreographed to the track herself. Here is her answer.

With shows created in the past 15 years like So You
Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew
and Dancing with the Stars, dance has captivated
the mass public eye and regained a platform for
choreographers and dancers worldwide. Even if
people can not physically dance themselves, most will agree that they enjoy watching artistic works of
people move their bodies in ways out of the
ordinary and how they make the music come to life.
Music goes hand in hand with dancing. A dancer
craves a good beat or composition of melodies that
“move the soul.” If a song can touch you emotionally or get you to bob your head or move
your body, then it is a perfect candidate for

So how does a song go dance viral? Those facts just
stated above are key factors, in addition to who
creates choreography to the song, as well as the level of creativity and musicality. Whether it is a
group performing choreography or a single
individual freestyling to the song, it should meet
those standards. It definitely helps if whoever
choreographing a set to the song or the group that
performs the choreography already has a following. Social media is a huge help with making
things go viral.

Over the past two years, the song “Manolo” by
Christian artist Trip Lee has been the muse of
choreographers galore. People like Keone Madrid
(who is a very publicly open Christian) have a huge following in conjunction with his wife Mariel for
their reputation to fulfill all the criteria mentioned
above. Their sense of musicality and creativity leave
the viewer anticipating more. So, when Keone
released a concept video to “Manolo” about a year
ago, the likes and shares from YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook ran rapid.

I am sure that through that video, other
choreographers and dancers were inspired to
create their own pieces whether they were
Christian themselves or not — although, I know
personally that Christian dancers are always anxiously waiting for a way to glorify our King in
the industry. The song “Manolo” has a hot beat, not
to mention Trip Lee’s delivery style on the song fits
right into pop culture, making the song likable to
vast audiences whether believers or not. Another
aspect of a song going dance viral is that dance teachers, whether in schools or studios, are
consistently looking for clean hip-hop music, so
when a song like “Manolo” comes out teachers,
jump on it right away. You don’t have to worry
about trying to find an edited or clean version of
“Manolo” because it already is.

A good song often leads to dope choreography
and anytime you get a good interpretation of the
music through movement, especially by well-
known dancers or choreographers, you can almost
guarantee it will go dance viral.

Here are statistics and a timeline of the most viral
“Manolo” dance videos.

Keone and Mari
Date published: Dec. 4, 2014
Subscribers: 158,000
Views to date: 711,000

1MILLION Dance Studio
Date published: March 29, 2015
Subscribers: 2.4 million
Views to date: 137,000

Jawn Ha
Date published: July 10, 2015
Subscribers: 38,000
Views to date: 255,000

World of Dance
Date published: Aug. 17, 2015
Subscribers: 1.5 million
Views to date: 225,000

Sean Lew
Date published: Aug. 23, 2015
Subscribers: 53,000
Views to date: 391,000

Lia Kim
Date published: Oct. 3, 2015

Subscribers: 340,000

Views to date: 221,000

Guy Amir
Date published: April 24, 2016

Subscribers: 16,000

Views to date: 372,000

Willis gave an in-depth explanation as to why
“Manolo” went dance viral. Here’s a short version:

Another GAWVI-produced song, “Jumped Out The
Whip” by Tedashii, has also been choreographed to
frequently. Tedashii premiered the single at the 2015 Dove
Awards, and just this week, a Scottsdale, Arizona-
based non-profit called the Be Kind People Project
used “Jumped Out the Whip” to start a dance
challenge to promote kindness.

Which of GAWVI’s Lost n Hue songs do you think has the best odds to go viral?


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