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Crunk
Stylistic origins Hip hop music - Electro
Cultural origins 1990s, USA
Typical instruments Drum machine - Synthesizer - Vocals - Robotic voice effects
Mainstream popularity Became mainstream around 2003 - 2004
Subgenres
Snap music - Trap rap
Fusion genres
Aquacrunk - Crunk&B - Crunkchata - Crunkcore - Crunkczar - Gospel-crunk fusion

Crunk is a fusion genre of hip hop music[1] and electro[2] that originated alongside the concept of crunk, meaning "crazy drunk'. Crunk originated in the mid to late 1990s and gained mainstream success around 2003 - 2004, and there are a few crunk songs as of 2009.[3] Performers of crunk music are sometimes denoted with the term crunksters.[4]

The term "crunk" is a fusion of two words, chronic (marijuana) and drunk; slang for being high and drunk at the same time, often the topic of crunk lyrics.

An archetypal crunk track most frequently uses a drum machine rhythm, heavy bassline, shouting vocals, often in call and response manner.[3]

The term crunk is often mistakenly used as a blanket term to denote any style of southern hip hop, a side effect of the genres' breakthrough to the mainstream.[4]

Contents

Etymology

Before its new use, the word crunk meant a hoarse, harsh cry.[5] In the mid 1990s, crunk was variously defined either as "hype, phat" or "the past tense of 'crank'" on rec.music.hip-hop newsgroup.[4] In 1999, Rolling Stone magazine published "glossary of Dirty South slang", where to crunk was defined as "to get excited".[4] The lyrics of "Who U Wit?", 1996 song by Lil Jon, contained the very first use of the word crunk in the context of crunk music.[2]

Characteristics

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Musical characteristics

Sonically, crunk borrows heavily from bass music and 80's era call and response hip hop. Heavy use of synthesized instruments and sparse, truncated 808 drums are staples of the crunk sound.

Looped, stripped-down drum machine rhythms are usually used. The Roland TR-808 and 909 are among the most popular. The drum machines are usually accompanied by simple, repeated synthesizer melodies and heavy bass stabs. The tempo of the music is somewhat slower than hip hop, around the speed of reggaeton.

The focal point of crunk is more often the beats and music than the lyrics therein. Crunk rappers, however, often shout and scream their lyrics, creating an aggressive, almost heavy, style of hip hop. These lyrics can often be isolated to simple chants ("Where you from?" & "You can't F*** with me" are common examples). While other subgenres of hip hop address sociopolitical or personal concerns, crunk is almost exclusively party music, favoring call and response slogans in lieu of more substantive approaches.[4]

History

Three 6 Mafia - Chapter 2: World Domination cover
Lil Jon & East Size Boyz - Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album cover

Origin of crunk

In the late 1980s - early 1990s the concept of crunk appeared in the southern United States. At first it wasn't connected to any particular kind of music, but meant a rowdy, high energy out-of-control crowd action in southern night clubs.[4] One member of Three 6 Mafia suggested that the violent nature of crunk music was connected to this initial meaning of crunk.[4]

It was either Atlanta-based Lil Jon or Memphis-based Three 6 Mafia who pioneered crunk music.[4]. In 1991, two mixtape DJs from Memphis, DJ Paul and Juicy J, started making their original music, which was distinctive with its "spare, low-BPM rhythms, simplistic chants . . . and narcotically repetitive, slasher-flick textures,"[4]. This duo soon became known as Three 6 Mafia. Frequently featuring rappers such as Project Pat, Lord Infamous and Gangsta Boo on their releases, they became instrumental in the formation of crunk music.[6] In 1996, now in Atlanta, Lil Jon and his group called "East Side Boyz" released their first album, entitled "Get Crunk Who U Wit". Lil Jon said, that they were first to use the word crunk in a song hook; he claimed that they had started call themselves a "crunk group" on the account of this album.[4] However, The New York Times denied that "Get Crunk, Who U Wit" was the first crunk album ever.[2]

Lil Jon was the key figure in popularizing crunk during its early years. In 1990s, he produced two gold record independently, before signing to TVT Records in 2001. But crunk wasn't exclusively associated with Lil Jon and Three 6 Mafia, on its early stages such artists as Ying Yang Twins, Bone Crusher, Pastor Troy from Atlanta, and David Banner from Mississippi also helped to popularize crunk music.[4]

Rise in popularity

Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz feat. Ying Yang Twins - Get Low cover
Usher - Yeah! cover

The song called "Get Low" (2003), performed by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz with Ying Yang Twins, is credited as the track, which put crunk music into the national spotlight.[7] "Get Low" reached number-two position in Billboard Hot 100 music charts; overall, it spent more than 21 weeks in charts.[8] Though rappers not from Dixie had tended to avoid being associated with southern hip hop music before, Busta Rhymes and Nelly accepted to record remixes on "Get Low".[7] Lil Jon's album, entitled "Kings of Crunk" which contained "Get Low", became double platinum.

In 2004 crunk blended with urban contemporary music, when Lil Jon produced "Yeah!" for Usher, this blend became known as crunk&B.

Crunk music arose from miami bass music before 1996[2] in the southern United States, particularly in African American strip clubs of Atlanta, Georgia. One of the most prominent pioneers of crunk music Lil Jon said that crunk appeared as he decided to fuse hip hop and electro music with electronic dance music like house and techno. In the early 2000s, some of crunk music hits like "Get Low", "Goodies" and "Yeah!" produced by Lil Jon climbed to Top10 of Billboard Hot 100 charts. Both "Yeah!" and "Goodies" were the first tracks to introduce the substyle of crunk music and contemporary R&B called Crunk & B to the public. Both of those tracks (performed by Usher and Ciara, respectively) were the main mainstream hits of 2004[9]. Since then, crunk & B has been one of the most popular genres of sung African American music, along with electro pop. As In 2005, crunk & B reached Billboard Hot 100 number one position once again, now with the Pop song "Run It!" hit, performed by Chris Brown. In 2005-2006 crunk/crunk&B conquered American R&B charts and charts specialising on music with rapping and replaced hip hop and older styles of contemporary R&B there. In 2007, 17 year old entertainer Soulja Boy made the massive superhit called "Crank That" which enjoyed number one position in Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks, was nominated for Grammy and had become one of the main hits of the year. Around 2007, a bunch of internet websites specialising on crunk and hip hop mixtapes opened, and that fact caused the growing of the popularity of crunk. Around 2007, crunk singer and rapper T-Pain popularised the use of autotune effect in crunk music, which became very popular in many styles of popular music since then. In 2008, both crunk and its subgenre crunk & B developed a new subgenre of trance crunk, and Usher's superhit "Love in This Club" enjoyed number one position in Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Around 2006-2008 many crunk music albums appeared on Billboard Top 200 number one position. However, it was 2008 when crunk and crunk'n'B started getting replaced in charts by electro pop. In 2009, numerous crunk hits reached Top40 in American charts. The growing interest in crunk music among white music producers caused the appearance of various subgenres of crunk, including eurocrunk, crunkcore, crunkczar, aquacrunk; crunk music started getting intensively mixed with dubstep.

2005, snap music

2006, hyphy and Academy Award for Best Song

Dance

References

  1. ^ "Southern Rap", Billboard Aug 9, 2003, p.86
  2. ^ a b c d "Lil Jon crunks up the volume", NY Times, November 28, 2004
  3. ^ a b "Southern Lights", Vibe Dec 2003
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Miller, Matt: "Dirty Decade: Rap Music and the U.S. South, 1997-2007".
  5. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  6. ^ Green, Tony, "Twerk to Do," Village Voice (Oct. 23, 2001): 149
  7. ^ a b Green, Tony, "Punk rap" at msnbc.com. Link
  8. ^ Annotation to "Bring in da crunk" article in The Denver Post, by Ricardo Baca. Link: [1]
  9. ^ Shepherd, Julianne, "Soul Bounce: Crunk 'n' B 101". Link

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