Two Years Later, Ghana’s Alkayida Dance Craze Is Still Inspiring Bangers

Kwamz & Flava want you to “Go Mad.”

July 14, 2015

Many of the dance styles that have captured the world's imagination over the past few years originated in Ghana. Take the Azonto, for instance, which in the early '10s became an international club stable, spurring charting tracks like Fuse ODG's "Azonto" and countless amateur dance videos on YouTube and elsewhere.


The Alkayida, which gets its name from the terroist organization Al-Qaeda, is another such one—when it first began surfacing in the form of dance videos featuring Ghanaian youth, it was expected to be the next Azonto. Theories abound as to the name's origins, and I've heard etymological explanations ranging from the dance's apparent similarities to the lateral movements of militant combatants to a political objection to Al-Qaeda's denunciation of music being. But, in part because of the actual dancing skill it requires—a lot of complex footwork-heavy moves and dextrous freestyling—the Alkayida didn't take off in the same way the Azonto did.

Still, it managed to make an impact on West African and diasporic pop, and, two years later, the afrohouse grooves with which it's commonly associated are still being recorded and released. Kwamz & Flava's "Go Mad," which features an appearance from Mista Silva, is a total Alkayida jam. Over a stuttering mid-tempo beat and a glittering keyboard loop, the trio instructs listeners to skank and go mad and make moves like Al-Qaeda. Watch the video above, and check out a classic Alkayida dance clip below.

Two Years Later, Ghana’s Alkayida Dance Craze Is Still Inspiring Bangers