In 2017, Atlanta rapper Playboi Carti dropped Magnolia, an incredibly popular song that would later go Platinum. In it, he raps “In New York I Milly Rock,” homaging (in the right terms) a dance that was created and popularized by Brooklyn MC 2 Milly.
However, most Fortnite players will already know this dance but have no idea who Playboi Carti or 2 Milly are. In Epic Games’ immensely popular Battle Royale title, the dance is known as ‘Swipe It’, and (at the time of its inclusion in the Battlepass,) you could purchase it as an emote with real money.
This has stirred controversy over the legality of this. 2 Milly spoke to CBS about the matter, questioning Epic’s use of his dance. “They actually sell that particular move. It’s for purchase. That’s when I really was like… oh nah, this can’t go on too long.”
2 Milly may is looking to enter into a legal battle with Epic over the use of the dance, most likely to recover some of the money lost from appropriating his creation.
Many rappers have previously voiced concern for the way in which Fortnite uses dances created by rappers and sells them for cash. Chance the Rapper took to Twitter back in July to voice his concerns.
“Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them.”
As can be seen in this Twitter video from Insider, it looks like Epic is animating their emotes frame by frame from popular culture, including Blocboy JB’s wildly popular ‘Shoot’ dance and Snoop Dogg’s moves from ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot.’
Even Donald Faison’s amazing ‘Poison’ dance from Scrubs has been co-opted, much to his chagrin. The question is whether Epic Games is breaking the law here or if it is just frowned upon. Does the creator own the dance move? Personally, I hope so, but I’m sure this question will be solved soon in court, as Epic continues to accrue millions of dollars from Fortnite off the backs of the creativity of popular rappers.