For other uses, see Crunk (disambiguation).
Crunk is a subgenre of hip hop music that emerged in the early 1990s and gained mainstream success during the mid 2000s. Performers of crunk music are sometimes referred to as "crunkmeisters". Crunk is often up-tempo and one of Southern hip hop's more dance and club oriented subgenres. An archetypal crunk track frequently uses a main groove consisting of layered keyboard synths, a drum machine rhythm, heavy basslines, and shouting vocals, often in a call and response manner. The term "crunk" is also used as a blanket term to denote any style of Southern hip hop, a side effect of the genre's breakthrough to the mainstream. The word derives from its African-American slang past-participle form, "crunk", of the verb "to crank" (as in the phrase "crank up").
The term has been attributed mainly to African-American slang, in which it holds various meanings. It most commonly refers to the verb phrase "to crank up". It is theorized that the use of the term came from a past-tense form of "crank", which was sometimes conjugated as "crunk" in the South, such that if a person, event, or party was hyped-up, i.e. energetic – "cranked" or "cranked up" – it was said to be "crunk".
In publications, "crunk" can be traced back to 1972 in the Dr. Seuss book Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!. He uses the term "Crunk-Car" without any given definition. The term has also been traced to usage in the 1980s coming out of Atlanta, Georgia nightclubs and meaning being "full of energy" or "hyped". In the mid-1990s, crunk was variously defined either as "hype", "phat", or "pumped up". Rolling Stone magazine published "glossary of Dirty South slang", where to crunk was defined as "to get excited".
The term was in part popularized on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 1993, though it was spelled differently and used in a different context. Writer Dino Stamatopoulos came up with the term "krunk" to epitomize the most offensive word to ever be said on network television, with the joke being that network censors, baffled by the word, were unable to cut it from the broadcast. "Krunk" became a recurring theme on the show between Conan and various guests. Ice-T was one of the first guests to use the word on air, as it was joked that the word was not offensive sounding enough, and Ice-T was the one person who could make it sound offensive.
Outkast has been attributed as the first artist to use the term in mainstream music, in the 1993 track "Player's Ball". A seminal year for the genre was 1996, with the releases of Three 6 Mafia album Chapter 1: The End (featuring "Gette'm Crunk"), and Memphis-based underground hip hop artist Tommy Wright III's album On the Run, which featured the Project Pimp track "Getting Crunk".
Artist Lil Jon was instrumental in bringing the term further into the mainstream with his 1997 album titled Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album. He later released other songs and albums using the term, and has been credited by other artists and musicians as galvanizing use of the term as well as mainstreaming the music genre itself.
Lil Jon further popularized the word with his 2004 album Crunk Juice, and has been credited with inventing the potent alcoholic cocktail by that name. This use of "crunk" became synonymous with the meaning "crazy drunk". Non-alcoholic drinks, to which alcohol could be added, were manufactured and marketed under the Crunk brand name, with Lil Jon as spokesman.
The term has continued to evolve, taking on a negative stigma with police, parents and the media. In 2011, the company which manufactured "Crunk" drink brought out an alcoholic version named "Crunk Juice". This drink was allegedly marketed towards 19- to 21-year-olds – those under the US legal drinking age – resulting in Crunk Juice drinking being blamed as a cause of crime or becoming a victim of crime. The mainstream media began publishing stories in which the term "crunk" was used to refer to "crazy and drunk" criminals.
Musically, crunk borrows heavily from bass music and 1980s-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 synthesizermelodies in the form of ostinato, to create a hypnotic effect, 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 a heavy, aggressive style of hip hop. These lyrics can often be isolated to simple chants ("Where you from?" and "You can't fuck 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.
Crunk music arose from Miami bass music before 1996 in the southern United States, particularly in African Americanstrip clubs of Memphis, Tennessee. One of the most prominent pioneers of crunk music, Lil Jon, said that crunk appeared as he decided to fuse hip hop and electro with electronic dance music. Memphis-based hip hop group Three 6 Mafia were "instrumental for the emergence of the crunk style" in the mid-to-late 1990s. 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". 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.
In 1997, in Atlanta, Lil Jon, with his group The East Side Boyz, released their first album titled Get Crunk, Who U Wit. These were the first of six albums released by Lil Jon and The East Side Boyz. Lil Jon said that they were first to use the word "crunk" in a song hook; he claimed that they had started to call themselves a "crunk group" due to this album. Crunk originates from African American strip clubs in Memphis, Tennessee. This is the case because of Three-Six Mafia came out of Memphis, Tennessee so their music was played local before it went nationwide. However, The New York Times denied that Get Crunk, Who Are You With was the first crunk album ever. He was one of the key figures in popularizing crunk during 1998 and 1999, and produced two gold records independently, before signing to TVT Records in 2001. After being named the "King of Crunk", Lil Jon went on to make collaborations with many popular artist such as Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Ludacris and Britney Spears. Nevertheless, crunk was not exclusively associated with Lil Jon and Three 6 Mafia. In its early stages, such artists as Ying Yang Twins, White Dawg, Bone Crusher, Lil Scrappy, Trillville, Youngbloodz and Pastor Troy from Atlanta, and David Banner from Mississippi also helped to popularize crunk music.
Popularity and evolution
In the early to mid-2000s, some crunk music hits like "Run It!", "Get Low", "Goodies", "Yeah!", and "Freek-a-Leek" produced by Lil Jon climbed to the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Other hits produced by Lil Jon included "Okay", "Cyclone", "Girlfight", "U and Dat", and "Touch". "Yeah!" and "Goodies" were the first tracks to introduce the substyle of crunk music and contemporary R&B, called crunk&B, to the public. Those two tracks (performed by Usher and Ciara, respectively) were mainstream hits of 2004. Since then, crunk&B has been one of the most popular genres of sung African-American music, along with electropop, the genre that replaced crunk and crunk&B in the charts by 2008.
The song "Get Low" (2003), performed by Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz with the Ying Yang Twins, is credited as the track which put crunk music into the national spotlight. "Get Low" reached the number two position on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart; overall, it spent more than 21 weeks in the charts. Though rappers not from Dixie had tended to avoid being associated with Southern hip hop music before, Busta Rhymes and Nelly accepted offers to perform on remixes of "Get Low". Lil Jon's album, titled Kings of Crunk, which contains "Get Low", became double platinum.
In 2004, independent label Crunk Incorporated signed a major distribution deal with Reprise/Warner Brothers Records for the crunk group, Crime Mob dropped the platinum single "Knuck if you Buck". They followed this with their 2006 hit, "Rock Yo Hips". In March 2004, The R&B singer Houston released his crunk&B hit "I Like That", which reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2005 crunk&B reached the Billboard Hot 100 number one position with the song "Run It!", performed by Chris Brown. In 2005 and 2006, crunk and crunk&B conquered the American R&B charts (and other charts specializing in music with rapping) and replaced hip hop and older styles of contemporary R&B. Atlanta R&B group Cherish also gained prominence with their summer 2006 song, Do It to It where the song debuted at number 86 on US Billboard Hot 100 for the week of May 20, 2006. where peaked at number 12 for the week of September 2, 2006 and stayed on the charts for twenty-one weeks.
The growing interest in crunk music among music producers outside the Southern hip hop scene led to the development of various subgenres of crunk, including eurocrunk, crunkcore, crunkczar, aquacrunk, acid crunk and most recently, trap music. By the end of 2009, crunk has seen a relative decline in mainstream American music, mostly due to the rising popularity of trap and drill music subgenres during the 2010s. In 2015, American singer Tinashe incorporated crunk elements in her single "All Hands on Deck," featuring Iggy Azalea. The song contains themes of girl power and self empowerment.
|Look up crunk in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
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For other electronic music styles abbreviated as "electro", see electropop, electroclash, and electro house.
For other uses, see Electro (disambiguation).
"Electrocore" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Electronicore.
"Electro-funk" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Boogie (genre).
Electro (or electro-funk) is a genre of electronic music and early hip hop directly influenced by the use of the Roland TR-808drum machines, and funk. Records in the genre typically feature drum machines and heavy electronic sounds, usually without vocals, although if vocals are present they are delivered in a deadpan manner, often through electronic distortion such as vocoding and talkboxing. This is the main distinction between electro and previously prominent genres such as disco, in which the electronic sound was only part of the instrumentation. It also palpably deviates from its predecessor boogie for being less vocal-oriented and more focused on electronic beats produced by drum machines.
Following the decline of disco music in the United States, electro emerged as a fusion of funk and New York boogie. Early hip hop and rap combined with German and Japanese electropop influences such as Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) inspired the birth of electro. In 1982, producer Arthur Baker with Afrika Bambaataa released the seminal "Planet Rock", which was built using samples from Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express and drum beats supplied by the TR-808. Planet Rock was followed later that year by another breakthrough electro record, Nunk by Warp 9. In 1983, Hashim created an electro funk sound which influenced Herbie Hancock, resulting in his hit single "Rockit". The early 1980s were electro's mainstream peak. By the mid 1980s, the genre moved away from its electronic and funk influences, using harder edged beats and rock samples, exemplified by Run DMC. Electro became popular again in the late 1990s with artists such as Anthony Rother and DJs such as Dave Clarke. A third wave of popularity occurred in 2007. Electro has branched out into subgenres, including Electrocore and Skweee, which developed in Sweden and Finland.
Definition and characteristics
An electro track example
The beat like that of a TR-808 at 0:04 and the electronically processed vocals at 0:22 are characteristic of the genre. (credit: Breaking Energy by 808Chunk)
Problems playing this file? See media help.
From its inception, one of the defining characteristics of the electro sound was the use of drum machines, particularly the Roland TR-808, as the rhythmic basis of the track. As the genre evolved, computers and sampling replaced drum machines in electronic music, and are now used by the majority of electro producers. It is important to note, that although the electro of the 1980s and contemporary electro (electronic dance music) both grew out of the dissolution of disco, they are now different genres.
Classic (1980s) electro drum patterns tend to be electronic emulations of breakbeats (occasionally a four to the floor pattern is used as well), with a syncopated kick drum, and usually a snare or clap accenting the backbeat. The difference between electro drumbeats and breakbeats (or breaks) is that electro tends to be more mechanical, while breakbeats tend to have more of a human-like feel, like that of a live drummer. The definition however is somewhat ambiguous in nature due to the various uses of the term.
The Roland TR-808 drum machine hit the market in 1980, defining early electro with its immediately recognizable sound. Staccato, percussive drumbeats tended to dominate electro, almost exclusively provided by the TR-808. As an inexpensive way of producing a drum sound, the TR-808 caught on quickly with the producers of early electro because of the ability of its bass drum to generate extreme low-frequencies. This aspect of the Roland TR-808 was especially appealing to producers who would test drive their tracks in nightclubs (like NYC's Funhouse), where the bass drum sound was essential for a record's success. Its unique percussion sounds like handclaps, open and closed high-hat, clave and cowbell became integral to the electro sound. A number of popular songs in the early 1980s employed the TR-808, including Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing,” Cybotron’s “Clear,” and Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock.” The Roland TR-808 has attained iconic status, eventually being used on more hits than any other drum machine. Through the use of samples, the Roland TR-808 remains popular in electro and other genres to the present day.
Other electro instrumentation was generally electronic, favoring analog synthesis, programmed bass lines, sequenced or arpeggiated synthetic riffs, and atonal sound effects all created with synthesizers. Heavy use of effects such as reverbs, delays, chorus or phasers along with eerie synthetic ensemble strings or pad sounds emphasized the science fiction or futuristic themes of classic (1980s) electro, represented in the lyrics and/or music. Electro hip hop group Warp 9's 1983 single, Light Years Away, produced and written by Lotti Golden and Richard Scher, exemplifies the Sci-Fi, afrofuturist aspect of electro, reflected in both the lyrics and instrumentation. The imagery of its lyrical refrain space is the place for the human race pays homage to Sun Ra's 1974 film, while its synth lines and sound effects are informed by sci-fi, computer games, and cartoons,"born of a science-fiction revival.".:148
Most electro is instrumental, but a common element is vocals processed through a vocoder. Additionally, speech synthesis may be used to create robotic or mechanical lyrical content, as in the iconic Planet Rock and the automatous chant in the chorus of Nunk by Warp 9. Although primarily instrumental, early electro utilized rap. Male rap dominated the genre, however female rappers are an integral part of the electro tradition, whether featured in a group as in Warp 9 or as solo performers like Roxanne Shante. The lyrical style that emerged along with electro became less popular by the 1990s, as rapping continued to evolve, becoming the domain of hip hop music.
About electro origins, Greg Wilson claims:
|“||It was all about stretching the boundaries that had begun to stifle black music, and its influences lay not only with German technopop wizards Kraftwerk, the acknowledged forefathers of pure electro, plus British futurist acts like the Human League and Gary Numan, but also with a number of pioneering black musicians. Major artists like Miles Davis, Sly Stone, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, legendary producer Norman Whitfield and, of course, George Clinton and his P Funk brigade, would all play their part in shaping this new sound via their innovative use of electronic instruments during the 70’s (and as early as the late 60’s in Miles Davis’s case).||”|
Following the decline of disco music in the late 1970s, various funk artists such as Zapp & Roger began experimenting with talk boxes and the use of heavier, more distinctive beats. Boogie played a role during the formative years of electro, notably "Feels Good" by Electra (Emergency – EMDS-6527), the post-disco production "You're the One for Me" by D. Train (Prelude – PRL D 621), and the Eric Matthew/Darryl Payne productions "Thanks to You" by Sinnamon (Becket – BKD 508), and "On A Journey (I Sing The Funk Electric)" by Electrik Funk (Prelude – PRL D 541). Electro eventually emerged as a fusion of different styles, including funk, boogie combined with German and Japanese technopop, in addition to influences from the futurism of Alvin Toffler, martial arts films, and video game music. The genre's immediate forebearers included Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), and Cat Stevens.
In 1980, YMO was the first band to utilize the TR-808 programmable drum machine. That same year, YMO member Ryuichi Sakamoto released "Riot in Lagos", which is regarded as an early example of electro music, and is credited for having anticipated the beats and sounds of electro. The song's influence can be seen in the work of later pioneering electro artists such as Afrika Bambaataa and Mantronix.
1982 was a watershed year for electro. Bronx based producer Afrika Bambaataa released the seminal track "Planet Rock", which contained elements of Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express" (from the album of the same name) and "Numbers" (from Kraftwerk's 1981 Computer World album) combined with the use of distinctive TR-808 beats. "Planet Rock" is widely regarded as a turning point in the electro genre, "like a light being switched on.":146 Another groundbreaking record released that year, Nunk by Warp 9 utilized "imagery drawn from computer games and hip hop slanguage." Although remaining unreleased, a pre-Def JamRussell Simmons produced Bruce Haack's proto hip-hop single "Party Machine" at a studio in Philadelphia. Electro hip hop releases in 1982 include songs by: Planet Patrol, Warp 9, Man Parrish, George Clinton (Computer Games), Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Tyrone Brunson, The Jonzun Crew and Whodini.
In 1983, Hashim created the influential electro funk tune "Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)" which became Cutting Record's first release in November 1983. At the time Hashim was influenced by Man Parrish's "Hip Hop, Be Bop", Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science" and Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock". "Al-Nafyish" was later included in Playgroup's compilation albumKings of Electro (2007), alongside other electro classics such as Sakamoto's "Riot in Lagos". Also in 1983, Herbie Hancock, in collaboration with Grand Mixer D.ST, released the hit single "Rockit".
Bambaataa and groups like Planet Patrol, Jonzun Crew, Mantronix, Newcleus, Warp 9 and Juan Atkins' Detroit-based group Cybotron went on to influence the genres of Detroit techno, ghettotech, breakbeat, drum and bass and electroclash. Early producers in the electro genre (notably Arthur Baker,John Robie and Shep Pettibone) later featured prominently in the Latin Freestyle (or simply "Freestyle") movement, along with Lotti Golden and Richard Scher (the producer/writers of Warp 9) fusing electro, funk, and hip hop with elements of Latin music. Detroit techno DJ Eddie Fowlkes shaped a style called electro-soul, which was characterized by a predominant bass line and a chopped up electro breakbeat contrasted with soulful male vocals.Kurtis Mantronik's electro-soul productions for Joyce Sims presaged new jack swing's combination of hip hop and soul elements.
By the late 1980s, the genre evolved into what is known today as new school hip hop. The release of Run DMC's It's Like That (1983) marked a stylistic shift, focusing down on the beats in a stark, metal minimalism.:151 Rock samples replaced synthesizers that had figured so prominently in electro, and rap styles and techniques evolved in tandem, anchoring rap to the changing hip hop culture. Baker, Pettibone, Golden and Scher enjoyed robust careers well into the house era, eluding the "genre trap" to successfully produce mainstream artists.
See also: Electroclash, Electro house, and Skweee
Although the early 1980s were electro's heyday in the mainstream, it enjoyed renewed popularity in the late 1990s with artists such as Anthony Rother and DJs such as Dave Clarke, and has made yet another comeback for a third wave of popularity in 2007. The continued interest in electro, though influenced to a great degree by Florida, Detroit, Miami, Los Angeles and New York styles, has primarily taken hold in Florida and Europe with electro club nights becoming commonplace again. The scene still manages to support hundreds of electro labels, from the disco electro of Clone Records, to the old schoolb-boy styles of Breakin’ Records and Dominance Electricity, to the electrofunk of Citinite, and to harder more modern styles of electro of labels like Bass Frequency Productions and Nu Illusion Music.
New branches of electro have risen over the last couple of years. Florida has pioneered the "Electrocore" sound, started in the late 1990s by artists like Jackal & Hyde and Dynamix II and carried on to this day. Skweee is a genre which developed in Nordic countries such as Sweden and Finland, hence its first name "Scandinavian Funk". The outlets and artists of Skweee are still mostly limited to the Nordic countries.
From the late 1990s onward, the term "electro" is also used to refer two other fusion genres of electro, either blended with techno and new wave in electroclash, or with house and the former in electro house. There is some debate within the electro community on how much these genres constitute electro.
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|Look up electro in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|