An Oral History of the Rick James Stroll
You might just see some strolling if you happen to find yourself at a banquet, wedding, or any social gathering where there are Brothers of Sigma Lambda Beta around. But no song gets Betas to the floor quicker than “Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James. Just look at our last Betacon in 2016 where nearly every delegate was performing the stroll.
The stroll was created at Psi Chapter at the University of South Florida. We sat down with a few of the stroll’s creators to get an Oral History of the Rick James Stroll.
Junior Rabel: “We were at brother Adan Modesto’s house in Tampa when we put all of this together in 2005.”
Dennis Small: “I met up with Brother Jason Clavell (aka Elemento) at Modesto’s house. He commented that he and Junior had come up with a stroll, but we’re looking for a song with an old school feel to it. Since I’m a Seventies baby and was definitely the oldest brother in the chapter (29 at the time), I grew up on some classic music. At the time, everybody was RICK JAMES crazy over Dave Chapelle’s Rick James skit, and I had just bought a Rick James Greatest Hits CD. So when I saw the tempo of the stroll, and I was listening to the CD, “Give It To Me Baby” felt like it fit perfectly!”
Junior: “I remember them just playing the song one day and Dennis saying “this would be a good song to come out to” brother Elemento agreed and pretended he was on the mic at a coming out show introducing our fraternity and that song playing after.”
Dennis: “The young bloods then cleaned up the movements, and once people saw it in full swing, the rest was history!”
Junior: “The process started in my dorm room. I created the main part of it. Was kind of messing around with that part for about a week. That day we went to Tallahassee and we were talking about Rick James being the song, I showed the guys what I was messing around with and Brother Elemento said: “that s*** hot”. So on the spot, I added the hops in the beginning, transitioned into the main part added the spin, transitioned into the slide. Then the hop and clap under the leg, the slide back where it starts all over again. Brother Elemento suggested 2 hops instead of the one so that it was on beat with the song. Brother Castizo learned it and fine-tuned the moves to what you all see today. We created a new chapter stroll.”
Dennis: “All the other Greeks on the yard commented that it was a clean stroll, and eventually, it became our signature. Brother Castizo and Elemento did a great job representing it locally, and the bros were notorious for taking over a dance floor with a mob of Betas, all doing the Rick James!”
Junior: “I noticed it grow once I transferred to UCF in 2006. That chapter was much smaller and was on the up and up. I was membership educator and taught my guys the stroll. That was during a time where making chapter videos were popular and posting on YouTube. Also going to Festi, Spanish Fly and District Meetings where the guys always did it and taught other chapters from coast to coast. My vision was to always have a national stroll. One that everybody knew no matter where they were from. Once all that happened, it spread like wildfire. Years later going on YouTube I see brothers in California and Arizona doing the very stroll we at Psi chapter created. Amazing feeling.”
Dennis: “I remember seeing some Brothers from Colorado doing it at a house party…and I remember thinking, damn…this could go national! WHO KNEW?!?!?