Crunk was dead

Strange as it may seem, crunk may have more staying power than we gave it credit for.

Still, in retrospect, I have to be a little surprised how quickly it disappeared last time. It was huge in 2003, then it just, er, went up in thin air. Strange for a genre that was meant to be the next big thing, that me and a lot of people with me totally believed in at the time. How did a sound become so incredibly tired from 2006, when "Bojangles" by Pitbull was still quite hot, to 2008? I guess a lot of current hip-hop has subsumed little bits of it, from the distorted guitars (where Trick Daddy's "Let's Go" was a bit of a pioneer) to the dramatic build-ups a lot of songs have, but labelling a song crunk today? Hardly. Is it really all Dave Chapelle's fault?

No matter. Everyone involved seems to have moved on, except poor Lil Jon who these days produces frankly embarassing crap. Ying Yang twins are doing seemingly up-to-date stuff I quite like. Mr Collipark, always one step ahead, has gone through at least three different new phases since. And so on.

Which is why it's doubly surprising that I've been hearing the word "crunk" quite so much recently. And in the most unexpected places.

Because it's certainly not in Atlanta the new crunk is being made. How about Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the "creamo" or "crunk screamo" of american band Brokencyde (via)? Apparently huge among the teenies (over a million listens for a song on Myspace is not a piddling matter), and considerably more crunk than screamo to my ears, this seemingly is just bringing the same values to a new audience. That they're also incredibly poncy-looking posers doesn't matter - the genre is clearly not dead in the US Southwest.

Actually, it's not dead among punks in general. Would you really have expected 2008 as the release year of a compilation called "Punk Goes Crunk"? Admittedly it is an awful effort and the majority of the songs covered are not crunk at all (making it fairly egregiously mislabelled), but apparently in the punk world "Put Yo Hood Up" still lives on.

And then there's the apparent huge popularity of the crunk sound in... Ghana. Great African music blog conglomerate Museke (how about a full-text RSS feed guys?) has highlighted that current trend in hiplife, and while some of the stuff listed is fairly generally influenced by southern rap you can totally feel the crunk in some of the videos. Like this one by 4x4 - it's totally mixed into the hiplife but you still get those Lil Jon-ish synth riffs and that spoken-shouted chorus.

It's so interesting how a sound can be totally dead to a core of fans and yet spread on into the rural/foreign periphery. And it's not like I've even brought up eurocrunk...


Anonymous said...

I just thought about it too. Last week, the new album from Bohagon (who's actually sort of cool and hip, friends with B.O.B. as he is) leaked, and it's called "Crunk in HD".

I first thought the title might be some sort of joke, but a lot of the tracks actually have classic crunk components: the echoing kick drums that sound like someone banging on metal with a hammer, staccato rhyming/yelling and those walls of keyboards.

Birdseed said...

Wow, see that would have been good to include in my post. What would be a good place to look for this type of new releases?

Anonymous said...

Find out about them on blogs, I guess, http://www.therezidue.com/ and http://www.cocaineblunts.com/ are good ones. Also, read Murder Dog magazine.