March 8th, 2010

Wata Gwaan?


Mil gracias a Marisol LeBron, who not only first brought to my attn the wonderful nueva-media phenom of “Watagatapitusberry,” but who has offered some interesting thoughts on its homosocial joi de vivre (check her initial round-up of home videos) and has kept up on the latest developments around the song. Most recently, the launch of a slick new video/remix featuring Pitbull and Lil Jon —

What i find most fascinating about the Watagatapitusberry phenomenon — though I still need to tease a lot of this out, and I wish YouTube would make it easier to do so — is that the most popular instantiation is neither the “original” video by Del Patio & Blackpoint (a static image w/ audio, uploaded in early summer 09 — plz correct me if I’m wrong), which has, nonetheless, had over 1M views, nor (at least not yet) the new remix w/ Pitbull & Lil Jon, but the loopy, casual, creative theatrics of a handful of young DominicanYorks which has racked up over 3.5M views since it was posted in early August. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re missing out; get cultured–

I love that the dudes who made the video above had the cojones to label it the “Official Video.” It may as well be, for it has arguably done more to popularize the song — to make it what it is — than anything else.

I confess, though, that I have been able to glean relatively little about how all these productions are related. Does anyone know if there’s any (formal) connection between these Wash Heights kids and Sensato del Patio & Blackpoint? Whether or not, it sure offers a fine example of how legions of YouTubers can add value to something by making it their own.

Let’s hope that the new, Big Music-funded version doesn’t produce the kind of collateral damage on the YouTubosphere that, say, the signing of the New Boyz seemingly caused to many of the videos that helped make “You’re a Jerk” the career-breaking single that it became — the majority of which either suddenly disappeared once the song’s audio became Major Label property, became unfortunately muted, or even more oddly, took the option of “swapping” the song for something “legal.” Of the latter camp, this is my favorite, surreal example (click thru for some sad/hilarious comments about the “African” music now soundtracking the Action Figures’ moves):

Sounds more like Avatar than Africa to me, but whatevs…


  • 1. rizzla  |  March 8th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Have you heard the new Janet/Pitbull/Machel(????) joint? pitbull brings a little berry w/him

  • 2. Benoit  |  March 8th, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I’ve been in contact to this video with the dominicans dancing via my little niece who just contribute to spam it to everyone of her friends around halloween! I think we will see so many video like that in the future. I think kids prefer that kind of stuff and I’m dreaming of an artist who will release a track and let everyone doint the video of it in a viral way of propagation!

  • 3. Birdseed  |  March 9th, 2010 at 10:01 am

    What’s African as imagined by the Jerk crowd is just as fascinating as what’s “actually” African. And arguably more likely to induce new mutations.

  • 4. w&w  |  March 9th, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I don’t actually find either of those things terribly “fascinating.” Interesting, maybe — but not very surprising. (Ok, maybe the question of what’s “actually” African is a fascinating question, but as one will never arrive at an answer with closure, it can get a little tiresome too.) I’m more curious by why the Action Figures chose that particular bit of audio for the swap.

  • 5. nina  |  March 9th, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE homemade teen dancing videos. They make me happy.

    Music labels are stupid. Back in the day when I danced and posted videos, way before youtube, some were really popular and people wanted to know the songs. On the salsa dance forums whenever this is a great homemade dance video people go crazy trying to figure out “whats that SONG”. There are songs that I know and own but didn’t love until I saw some homemade video.

    What better word of mouth endorsement can there be than to see people genuinely LOVING and enjoying your product? Most industries have to pay, hell right now I am PAYING people to LOVE a product so others will be interested. These folk are getting it FREE

  • 6. » W&hellip  |  March 10th, 2010 at 11:40 am

    […] my recent post on “Watagatapitusberry” I wondered aloud, in so many words, where “the text” in question might reside, given […]

  • 7. yllat the gringo  |  March 10th, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    i hate to be the dude that doesnt speak spanish and only listens to mega for like 45 min a week when im driving in traffic in queens… but I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS TRACK IS ABOUT OR MEANS…. is there any “deeper” meaning to the phrase/word “Watagatapitusberry,” caus even my spanish speaking gringa housemate is clueless.

  • 8. wayneandwax  |  March 11th, 2010 at 8:57 am

    i’ve seen plenty of speculation about the meaning of the term, sometimes all too strict in breaking down the chain of signification (wata + gata + pitus + berry), but i like it more as a somewhat absurd, suggestive phrase — as inspired by quasi-bilingual stumblings. i’m not sure it adds to the pleasure of the song to have too clear a meaning in mind.

  • 9. Rodney  |  March 12th, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    I would think a large portion of the point of the song is that the word is meaningless.

  • 10. Rodney  |  March 14th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    It occured to me that the instrumental is taken from DJ Class’ “I’m the Shit”, a Baltimore Club which itself inspired many remixes last year (including one by Lil Jon):

  • 11. wayneandwax  |  March 15th, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Yep, that’s true, which is one reason why Lil Jon’s presence here is not too surprising. The fact that it’s a Bmore break instead of a dembow makes it a little harder to place this squarely in reggaeton’s omnivorous stylistic realm, but only a little harder.

  • 12. Rodney  |  April 5th, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Club music is kinda omnivorous itself though, yeah?

  • 13. wayneandwax  |  April 5th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Yeah, I think that’s true in general, Rodney. But I also think that some scenes are remarkable in the extent to which they grab stuff from other places — and how explicitly these borrowings are foregrounded in the mix — while others seem to prefer something a little more insular/self-generated (to the extent that any of these lines can even be drawn clearly).

  • 14. DUTTY ARTZ » Blog A&hellip  |  May 11th, 2010 at 9:48 am

    […] Dominican MC’s with a great ear for club music. Wayne Marshall has already contributed alot of thought on their first smash and Toy Selectah’s remix has been on a lot of DJ’s playlist in the […]

  • 15. » N&hellip  |  February 9th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    […] panache and piquancy of “Pan y Queso.” Washington Heights representando! Long live the Dominican YouTubosphere! Long live […]


I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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