Ghost riding

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Ghost riding, frequently used in the context of "ghost riding the whip" (a "whip" being a vehicle) or simply ghostin', is when a person exits their moving vehicle, and dances beside and around it. Ghost riding is also another term used for car surfing, and the term is also occasionally used to describe a moving vehicle with no occupant, such as when a car without the hand brake applied starts to roll down an incline.[1] Ghostin' originated on the West Coast of the United States, primarily in California. It gets its name from the fact that while the driver is dancing beside the moving vehicle, it appears that the vehicle is being driven by an invisible driver.


Ghost riding is an activity that has been practiced in the Bay Area for years during what are called sideshows.[citation needed] The popularization of ghost riding is a byproduct of popular Bay Area music, and the hyphy subculture in general.[citation needed]

Ghost riding is performed by exiting an automobile while it is left in gear. The automobile's engine runs at idle speed, slowly propelling the car forward.

In pop culture[edit]

  • The term "ghost ride the whip" received nationwide exposure in E-40's 2006 song "Tell Me When to Go".[2]
  • Oakland rapper Mistah F.A.B.'s hit song "Ghost Ride It" further popularized it. A single from the unreleased studio album Da Yellow Bus Rydah by Bay Area rapper Mistah F.A.B., and produced by Sean T., the song references actor Patrick Swayze, lead star in the 1990 film Ghost,[3] sparking internet references to ghost riding as "going (Patrick) Swayze".[citation needed] While Mistah F.A.B's studio album remains unreleased, the song itself (written in 2006) was released on a compilation album entitled "Hyphy Hitz", released as a digital download (iTunes) on September 18, 2009. The song runs 3:52, and is owned by the Faeva Afta Entertainment/Thizz Entertainment/Atlantic label. The song imitates the theme song of Ghostbusters.
  • MTV asked that Mistah F.A.B's video be edited after people were reported killed while ghost riding.[4] (The video explains what "hyphy" and "ghost riding" are.) MTV stopped playing it after Columbia Pictures protested the unlicensed use of their Ghostbusters logo.
  • "Ghostride the Whip" is a featured song on Family Force 5's album Dance or Die with a Vengeance.
  • Nashville rock band JEFF the Brotherhood featured a lengthy krautrock inspired song called "Ghost Ride Th' Whip to Berlin" on their 2008 album "The Boys R Back in Town".
  • Ghost riding is a minigame in the hip-hop-culture-centered video game Pimp My Ride.[5]
  • Ghost riding has been featured on episodes of Spike's 1000 Ways to Die.
  • Ghost riding was performed by fictional character Cleveland Brown on The Cleveland Show in the episode "Da Daggone Daddy-Daughter Dinner Dance".


As with car surfing, ghost riding can be dangerous and has resulted in between two and eight deaths in North America. Ghost riding is often featured in similarly risky urban sideshows, which also originated in Oakland, California.[3]


  1. ^ Flambosting the hyphy nation. Steve Jones, April 13, 2006. Last accessed January 6, 2007.
  2. ^ Ghost-riding: Another bad idea from California. Paul Farhi, Washington Post. January 8, 2007. Last accessed January 10, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Farhi, Paul. "Ghost-Riding: Brake-Dancing With Zip Under the Hood", The Washington Post, December 27, 2006, p. C01. Accessed October 18, 2007.
  4. ^ Liu, Marian (2007-05-14). "Mistah F.A.B. walks the walk". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  5. ^ Pimp My Ride GameSpot Review; December 18, 2006 article; accessed January 6, 2007.