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Crunk music is a specific type of hip hop music, based out of the Southern United States, particularly on the eastern side of Atlanta, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Memphis, Tennessee. Crunk is classified as a subdivision of Dirty South or Southern rap and is an outgrowth of Atlanta-based Miami Bass and perhaps more directly, New Orleans' Bounce music.



The Crunk genre originated in the early 1990s but did not become mainstream until the early 2000s. The first notable Crunk single was "Get Crunked Up" by Iconz which appeared in 2000 and was on BET's 106 and Park Countdown for a short period. In the year 2003, the Crunk genre had surprise hit singles with "Never Scared" by Bone Crusher, featuring Killer Mike and T.I., "Salt Shaker" by Ying Yang Twins, featuring Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, "Damn!" by Youngbloodz (and produced by Lil Jon), and most notably "Get Low" by 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 and especially Lil Jon were 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. 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 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, similar to the style of late 20th Century minimalism which has the same repeating elements. 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 the crowds can get.

Looped drum machine rhythms are usually in the forefront of the mix, with the Roland TR-808 being especially popular. Many of the drum machines and the 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 & the East Side Boyz often claim to be the "Kings of Crunk", while Lil' Scrappy is referred to as the "Prince of Crunk" and Ciara is often referred to as the "Princess of Crunk". While these artists have embodied the term in the hip hop industry, the term was more widely exposed when Lil Jon named his albums Kings of Crunk and Crunk Juice. Serious, the founder of the Crunk Incorporated record label, is known as the "Lord of Crunk". Serious discovered both Lil' Scrappy and Crime Mob.

In the hip hop world, Crunk rappers have been criticized for lacking lyrical content and using essentially the same beats and styles. While agreeing that the subject of the lyrics are all more or less identical, others say that the music is specifically designed for the rowdy clubs in which this style thrives, and that it serves its purpose well for that scene. In any case, Crunk has established itself and will likely enjoy greater success due to the increased number of Crunk albums being released.

In early 2005, rapper Kanye West amusingly coined the term white crunk to describe the gritty drum sounds of the all Caucasian Scottish alternative dance-rock group Franz Ferdinand. West and the band met at the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards, where they sat down together to share praise and advice. West feels that the white crunk vibe has affected his new work and is best exemplified on his 2005 single "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" from the album Late Registration.


First known use of the word

During the first two seasons of his television program Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Conan O'Brien used the term "krunk" (an apparently invented nonsense word) as a multipurpose expletive, used as a replacement for the infamous "seven dirty words", explaining that it was the most profane expletive of all time. (In this sense, the word was very similar to "smeg" in the Red Dwarf universe.) O'Brien encouraged the guests on his show to insert the word into their conversations. The reason given was that the word was so new, television censors wouldn't know about it, thus allowing a curse word to go out over the airwaves. The show exhibited video clips of various people using the word, including one of Ice T (notorious in his rap persona for his use of expletive-laced language) sitting in the show's guest chair saying, "Wow, that's krunked up, man." Viewers at home were also encouraged to use use "krunk" in conversation, so as to bring the word into common use. According to Late Night writer Robert Smigel, the word was invented by fellow writer Dino Stamatopoulos.

The next popular figures to use the word were Outkast, who in their 1998, song "Rosa Parks" said, "We the type of folks that make the club get Crunk".

Unclear relationship between origins

The exact relationship between "crunk" and "krunk" is unclear. When American Idol judge Randy Jackson appeared on O'Brien's show on 30 April 2004 (nine years after O'Brien's endorsements of krunk), he used the word "krunked", but O'Brien seemed to have no recollection of the word. However, Urban Dictionary (where slang word definitions are submitted by users) attributes the word "crunk" to O'Brien.

Misconception of word origin

Contrary to popular misconception, there is no evidence at all to suggest that crunk derives from krank (ill) in Yiddish or German. Similarly, there is no evidence to suggest that Jewish shopkeepers introduced the word to black communities in the southern United States.

Other Meaning

Crunk is also thought to be derived from a combination of the words "crazy" and "drunk", or a combination of "chronic" and "drunk", referring to when someone is both drunk from alcohol and high on marijuana, at the same time.

Rap Artist Li'l John defines Crunk as a "state of hightened excitement".

Additionally, "crunk" is an onomatopoeic description of the noise a crane makes (as in, "the crunk of a crane").

Music sample

  • Get Low (sample)
    • Short sample of Get Low by Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz ft. Ying Yang Twins - harsh language advisory. Get Low was a breakout crunk hit in 2003, and illustrates both the club-oriented sound and lyrical simplicity characteristic of the style.

Notable crunk artists

Bone Crusher
Crime Mob
Dem Franchize Boyz
David Banner
Darkroom Familia
Detroit Crunkstar
Eightball & MJG
Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz
Lil Scrappy
Pastor Troy
Peter Harmon
Petey Pablo
Three 6 Mafia
Yo Gotti
Ying Yang Twins

Selected songs

Songs that contain "crunk" in their titles:

"Crunk Juice" - Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz
"Crunk Muzik" - Jim Jones
"Get Crunk" - Lil Flip
"Get Crunk" - Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz featuring Bo Hagon
"Get Crunk Tonight" - Joe Thomas
"Get Some Crunk in Yo System" - Trillville
"Crunk it up" - Will to the E
"Let's Get it Crunk" - Playa Fly
"So Crunk" - C-9 and Tommy Wright III
"We Get it Crunk" - Cool Breeze
"Get Crunk Remix" - White Dawg
"Represent (Get Crunk)" - Lecrae
"Get Crunk Shorty" - Nick Cannon featuring Ying Yang Twins
"Halftime (Stand Up and Get Crunk) - Ying Yang Twins featuring Homebwoi
"Official Crunk Junt" - Three 6 Mafia
"Get Crunk, Get Buck" - Al Kapone
"Get it Crunk" - 8 Ball & MJG
"Forest Crunk" - Blockhead:(Found on Aesop Rock's album Daylight)
"Crunk Revolution" - Patriarch

See also

Hip hop/Rap
DJing (Turntablism) - History (Roots)
African - American (East - West - South )
Abstract - Alternative - Chopped & Screwed - Christian - Country-rap - Crunk - Electro - Electro hop - Freestyle music - Gangsta - G-funk - Ghettotech - Golden age - Hardcore - Hip hop soul - Hip house - Horrorcore - Hyphy - Instrumental - Jazz rap - Latin rap - Miami bass - Mobb - Neo soul - Nerdcore - New jack swing - Old school - Pop rap - Rapcore - Ragga - Reggaeton - Snap music - Urban Pasifika

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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