as most people know, i can't stand crunk music and all genres affiliated with it. every now and then, a hit will come along that i find tolerable, but the bad FAR outweigh the few.
crunk originated in the south. it's known for high-energy beats and loud, crude yelling. it's minimalistic, but not in a good way. there is often a high-hat associated percussion with much synthesization in terms of musicality. i believe that it contains and fosters no creativity whatsoever. to get an idea of what the genre sounds like, listen to these popular songs:
lil' jon and the eastside boyz - get low
usher featuring ludacris - yeah!
ciara featuring petey pablo - goodies
ying yang twins - salt shaker
petey pablo - freek-a-leek
those are the more common, mainstream examples. odds are you've heard at least one of them (and probably at length). and those songs are ones i find fairly tolerable. however, artists like t.i., dem franchize boyz, bone crusher, lil' scrappy, chamillionaire, and three 6 mafia - i have no patience for.
and it bugs me so much that three 6 mafia is so "in" right now. just because they won that oscar for that song in "hustle and flow". granted, it was a really funny moment. queen latifah, who had been presenting the award, stumbled back upon opening the envelope and abandoned all poise she had spent years cultivating and maintaining and yelled, "oh mah GAHD, three 6 mafia!!" but come on. three 6 mafia had never been wholly respected before. and now because they beat out alison krauss and dolly parton at the oscars, they get all sorts of cred? if that had never happened, would they really be on justin timberlake's new album?
and crunk has pervaded the music scene so much now that in order to have a hit, one must incorporate crunk elements into their music. take a listen to top 40 radio - i guarantee you'll hear that high hat, that cacophanous synth, or that abrasive, gritty yelling in half the songs.
i never thought i'd say this, but thank god for christina aguilera. to incorporate a hip-hop sound into her new album, she hired a producer who actually makes hip-hop. dj premier, a true oldschooler and the genius behind the beats of gangstarr and countless other classic hip-hop songs, manned the booth for aguilera's first disc of her new album. what a smart, classy move. i'm so relieved she knows what's up and didn't go the way of crunk - a useless, tired fad that will be nothing but embarrassing ten years from now. i bet we'll all look back on this period of music and realize how dismal it was.
and unfortuantely, some people i highly respect are falling into the trend. dj shadow, one of the frontrunners of the trip-hop movement, went all crunk in his latest album. in the south, they call it crunk. on the west coast, they call it hyphy (pronounced "HY-fee"). to me, that's like calling garbage rubbish. and dan the automator, an incredible producer and mastermind for acts like handsome boy modeling school, kool keith, and almost anything mike patton has done, has also jumped on the crunk bandwagon! why do these people think it's okay?? e-40, someone who used to have a lot of oldschool clout but has fallen into the dark depths of this shit-tastic trend, is on both of these guys' new albums. ugh. it makes me sick.
i miss the days when rap, r&b, hip-hop, and soul used to be smooth. remember how it was in the 90's and early 00's? i have no problem with those genres being hard - it just needs to be executed well (see wu-tang clan). but man, when biggie, ll cool j, aaliyah, keith sweat, and total were big - daaamn that was the shit.
to get an idea of what i'm talking about (and to get your hands on some really good music), check out the following:
notorious b.i.g. - one more chance (remix)
the isley brothers featuring lil' kim - float on (remix)
aaliyah - rock the boat
erick sermon featuring marvin gaye - music
total featuring dmx - trippin' (remix)
mary j. blige - not gon' cry
jay-z featuring mary j. blige - can't knock the hustle
jodeci featuring redman - you got it
consider that your homework, i guess. thanks for reading!
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