What is Swag Surfin? Everything to know about Chiefs’ viral dance celebration as Taylor Swift, Donna Kelce participate

Editor’s note: This article has been updated from its original version with additional context about the origins of “Swag Surfin” in Atlanta.

The Chiefs are trying to make a second consecutive Super Bowl run in 2024, and Arrowhead Stadium has adopted a familiar hype song to celebrate their efforts to get there.

The song and dance celebration was on full display Saturday at the end of Kansas City’s 26-7 domination of the Dolphins.

The Chiefs’ game-day staff began to play the song “Swag Surfin” by the Fast Life Yungstaz (also known as F.L.Y.). That caused the stadium to break out into one of the biggest dance parties the NFL has seen this season.

Involved in this celebration were pop star Taylor Swift, who was on hand to see her boyfriend Travis Kelce play, and the tight end’s mother, Donna Kelce. They were seen in their luxury suite swaying back and forth as the music blared over the public address system at Arrowhead Stadium.

The rest of the crowd in Kansas City partook in the celebration as well, drawing the attention of NFL fans everywhere — or at least those who paid the price to get Peacock to watch the streaming-exclusive game.

MORE: Rashee Rice, Travis Kelce become Patrick Mahomes’ clear-cut top weapons vs. Dolphins

But what is “Swag Surfin” and how did it come to be? Here’s everything to know about the song, its origins and why Kansas City has adopted it during its 2024 playoff run.

What is Swag Surfin?

“Swag Surfin” is a song that was released by the Fast Life Yungstaz (or F.L.Y.) as part of their debut album “Jamboree” in 2009. The song became a hit, peaking at No. 62 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and has a rich legacy. It has been played at the White House and sampled and remixed by the likes of Beyonce and Lil Wayne.

Perhaps most importantly, Swag Surfin quickly became “a staple at HBCUs,” as described by Briana Younger in the New Yorker, where it is part of “a ritual within a long tradition of black people dancing publicly and proudly.”

Younger further detailed that the song was “a cultural artifact, passed around and down as proof of existence.” These exchanges have happened often at HBCUs, which have, over time, spread across the larger Black community.

Swag Surfin then started to pervade sports. First, it could be seen at sporting events held on HBCU campuses. Then, the Falcons eventually adopted it as a gameday ritual as a way to pay homage to F.L.Y.’s Stone Mountain and Atlanta roots.

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In recent years, other NFL teams have participated in the Swag Surf. The Bears included it as part of their “Club Dub” celebrations under Matt Nagy in 2018 and 2019, per NBC Sports Chicago. The Saints played Swag Surfin at times in that period as well.

Notably, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics adopted it as their unofficial anthem during their 2019 championship run, per Andscape.

Most recently, the Chiefs have adopted the song and dance combination. And much like the other teams that have adopted that anthem, it all began naturally.

MORE: Andy Reid’s mustache freezes over during win vs. Dolphins

How the Chiefs adopted the ‘Swag Surfin’ celebration

The Kansas City edition of the “Swag Surfin” celebration had been used at times in recent seasons, but it was revived recently thanks to a message that linebacker Willie Gay passed to a cameraperson on the sidelines during the Chiefs’ 25-17 win over the Bengals in Week 17.

“Pass the word up and tell them to play Swag Surfin,” Gay said. “We really need that.”

The employee complied and soon enough, the public address system at Arrowhead Stadium had “Swag Surfin” blaring from the speakers. That led to a dance party on the sidelines, led by Gay but also featuring some moves from Travis Kelce and defensive end Charles Omenihu.

Chiefs fans noted the players dancing and some joined in. That included Taylor Swift, who saw Kelce making moves and joyously decided to join in from her luxury suite.

Kelce wasn’t surprised that the dance caught on quickly. As he detailed on his “New Heights” podcast, “Swag Surfin” had been featured on one of the Chiefs’ in-stadium highlight-reel videos looking to hype up the crowd before big moments.

“It’s a classic man,” Kelce said. “I really want to say since I’ve been here, it’s been a huge fourth quarter, big-time moment, big-time like drive in the game for our defense, they play a highlight video that has fSwag surf’ on it as a song and it gets everybody hyped.”

So, while the Chiefs vs. Dolphins game was Kansas City’s first home contest since the team fully broke into a dance against the Bengals, it’s little surprise that the song was embraced enthusiastically by the crowd.

MORE: Patrick Mahomes’ helmet breaks after hard hit in freezing Chiefs vs. Dolphins game

How to swag surf

The process of “Swag Surfin” is simple enough. The dance largely consists of the participant swaying or lunging to the right and left alternatively along with the beat of the song.

But aside from that, “there’s no defined routine or memorization,” as Younger detailed in the New Yorker piece.

“It’s largely stationary, all knees, hips, and shoulders,” she writes. “But, more than that, there’s something spiritual in the physical connection, of touching and agreeing, that no other popular dance requires. This is no spectator sport; you are compelled to participate by the inevitable grasp of the person next to you.”

While the elements Younger outlines have developed over the 15 years since the song’s release, its creators revealed in a 2023 interview with Khalila Douze of UDiscoverMusic.com that they simply got the dance — “an effortless wave-like sway and dip from side to side,” as Douze describes — “from some guys on the outside of Atlanta.”

“When you listen to the song, it’s not really a dance song,” Mook says. “We don’t give instructions on how to do the dance. The dance we got from some guys on the southside of Atlanta, and just happens to go with the song (a story of a night at the club, from the smoking references to the drinking references to the clothing references). But it wasn’t like how it was today.”

MORE: Taylor Swift honors Travis Kelce with jacket made by Kristin Juszscyk, wife of 49ers FB

Swag Surfin video

For those visual learners out there, the “Swag Surfin” dance is featured in the music video for that song, as one would expect. You can check that out below for a full tutorial.

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Swag Surfin lyrics

Below are the full lyrics to the song “Swag Surfin” by the Fast Life Yungstaz:

Man I got that swag
My hat matches my bag
You know I’m popping tags
‘Cause man I got that swag

Man I got that swag
My hat matches my bag
You know I’m popping tags
‘Cause man I got that swag

I’m on Hypnotic, exotic
This Polo on my body
Got a bad girl beside me
And her friend right behind me
And I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m clean like dish detergent
On Patron, yeah I’m gone
Purple by the zone, yeah I’m smoking strong
And you know I’m gone
Cause I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m clean like dish detergent

Okay I pop off in the club with a pocket full of bands
Big stupid fresh like I’m wrapped up in Saran
Swag super cool, blowing strong like a fan
And my chain shining hard it just gave my neck a tan
Pockets on Popeye cause they swoll of that spinach
Peachtree swag you can call me Mr. Lenox
Bottles in my hand, putting on just like cable
Surfing off the stands like a young Kelly Slater

I swag when I surf
I swag when I surf
I swag when I surf
Now watch me surf and swag

I swag when I surf
I swag when I surf
I swag when I surf
Now watch me surf and swag

Swagging in the club, you gon’ see me throwing money up
Catch me with a bad chick and all her friends as fine as her
Drinks, we gon’ pour them up
Exotic, what we rolling up
Patron, Goose, or Hennessy
They got it, I’mma drank it up
I’m always wearing Polo
N— I’m Ralph Lauren mascot
Cake on debit I don’t hesitate to cash out
Paint John Stephenson, the black and blue Jag out
Pockets on half-time, I’m always bringing bands out

I’m on Hypnotic, exotic
This Polo on my body
Got a bad girl beside me
And her friend right behind me
And I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m clean like dish detergent
On Patron, yeah I’m gone
Purple by the zone, yeah I’m smoking strong
And you know I’m gone
Cause I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m clean like dish detergent

When I hit the club, it’s like I gotta catch a wave
Boogie-board shawty, got me surfing off the stage
Purp’ got me geeked, smoking something like an Eddie Bauer
And I’m surfing like I’m Otto cause I got that Rocket Power
Gon’ on Patron, taking shots like a camera
Flat screen, shawty, man I’m surfing like a channel
Paper towel money, man I’m all about my count
And I’m screaming cowabunga while y’all boys wiping out

Got this Polo on my body with a Zach Morris swag
Yea Purple Label man go and check the tags
Went and got the shoes so you know I got the bag
Clean just like dish detergent with a Tide color swag
Chain swinging hard like a boxer throwing punches
Pappadeaux shawty, all on them sack lunches
I’m in the party surfing like I’m standing on a wave
Shawty check my dougie like she Patty Mayonnaise

I’m on Hypnotic, exotic
This Polo on my body
Got a bad girl beside me
And her friend right behind me
And I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m clean like dish detergent
On Patron, yeah I’m gone
Purple by the zone, yeah I’m smoking strong
And you know I’m gone
Cause I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m swagging, I’m surfing
I’m clean like dish detergent

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