Monday, 30 April 2007 14:03

Destination Hip Hop: Get Crunk

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Crunk is a type of hip hop music, originating in Memphis, Tennessee,in the early 1990s. Crunk is classified as a subdivision of Memphis rap, Dirty South, Southern rap, Miami bass and Electro music.


Traditionally, crunk meant a hoarse, harsh cry. The term is often used as slang to mean intoxicated. Folk etymology suggests the modern usage of crunk originated as a portmanteau of the words “crazy” and “drunk”, or of “chronic” and “drunk”, referring to the state of being both drunk from alcohol and high on marijuana, at the same time. Lil Jon defines crunk as a “state of heightened excitement”. Crunk is also said to mean high on cocaine and being drunk at the same time. The crunk genre originated in the early 90’s but did not become mainstream until the early 2000s. The first notable crunked single is commonly believed to be “Tear Da Club Up ‘97” by Three 6 Mafia which appeared in 1997 and reached #29 on the US Rap charts. In the year 2003, the crunk genre had surprise hit singles with “Never Scared” (Bone Crusher, featuring Killer Mike and T.I.), “Salt Shaker” (Ying Yang Twins, featuring Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz), “Damn!” (YoungBloodZ featuring Lil Jon, and produced by Lil Jon), and most notably “Get Low” (Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz, featuring the Ying Yang Twins), which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. By 2004, crunk music was in such high demand that superstar R&B singer Usher enlisted Lil Jon to produce his single “Yeah!” which went on to be the biggest hit of 2004, according to Billboard magazine. Lil Jon produced another #1 hit in 2004 with “Goodies” by R&B singer Ciara, featuring Petey Pablo. The release of ‘Hustle and Flow’ and its Oscar for best original song, ‘It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp’, helped crunk reach mainstream American culture. By 2005, however, it was widely perceived that crunk was on the wane, with its appeal primarily confined to its birthplace of Memphis and in places in Atlanta.


Unlike the East Coast style of hip hop, crunk music has a high-energy and club-oriented feel. While other hip hop styles might involve a more conversational vocal delivery, crunk usually involves hoarse chants and repetitive, simple refrains. Lyrics are based on a rhythmic bounce, which is very effective in a club environment. In fact, several crunk songs have been banned in venues due to how wild or “crunk” the crowds can get.


Looped drum machine rhythms are usually in the forefront of the mix, with the Roland TR-808 being especially popular. A typical crunk song uses 4 bars of music generated by electronic drums and synthesizers that repeat throughout the song, but sometimes includes a break towards the end of the song. Many of the drum machines and rhythms they produce were previously well known in specialty genres of dance music. Crunk also employs non-melodic sound effects such as whistles and synth blips.


Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz have several albums with crunk in the title, such as “Kings of Crunk”, “Crunk Juice”, “Get Crunk”, “We Still Crunk”, and “Crunk Rock”. Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz often claim to be the “Kings of Crunk” with Rasheeda as the “Queen of Crunk,” while Lil’ Scrappy is referred to as the “Prince of Crunk”, Ciara is often referred to as the “Princess of Crunk” or the “First Lady of Crunk & B”, and Petey Pablo is referred to as the “Godfather” of crunk. Serious, the founder of the Crunk Incorporated record label, is known as the “Lord of Crunk”. Serious discovered both Lil’ Scrappy and Crime Mob.


Also, as a tribute to the word and style of music, fashion and entertainment, Desmick Perkins is owner and publisher of Crunk Magazine which was founded in Atlanta, the city that now dominates crunk entertainment. Also, known for her links with Crunk Magazine as a model and executive is Keitha aka “Ms Crunk” who is known simply for being crunk all of the time. Ms Crunk travels throughout the US to many crunk events with a Crunk Magazine Street Team. Most notably, is Crunk Magazine’s presence at Crunkfest, an all out Crunk event that takes place annually in Memphis, Tn during the summer that features major hip-hop artists. Crunkfest 2006 featured Three Six Mafia, Remy Ma, Young Dro, Nakia Shine, Al Kapone, Paul Wall, and other artists.


Notable Crunk artists


    * Bohagon

    * Bone Crusher

    * Ciara

    * Crime Mob

    * Crunchy Black

    * Eightball & MJG

    * Juicy J

    * Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz

    * Lil Scrappy

    * Lil Wyte

    * Petey Pablo

    * Pitbull

    * Prophet Entertainment

    * Rasheeda

    * Three 6 Mafia

    * Ying Yang Twins

    * Young Buck

Last modified on Sunday, 22 January 2012 10:44

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