The fluid nature of any language
eventually allows corruptions, or combination of words to
assimilate into the previously established vocabulary. Often times
these words represent the attitudes, cultural and international
influences from a sub-group of those people that speak the
In other words, Yeah! Yeah! YEAAAAAHHH!
A time is upon us in the sprawling history of the English
language in which a single human, so bold and innovative can shift
the very way in which we communicate. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Eliot,
and now Lil’ Jon. But what is this minstrel of the Southland
really proclaiming with his embezzled chalice and clarion call?
The word “crunk” has shot into the mouths of
seemingly every American youth with access to a television or
radio. While the word is obviously a manipulation of the words
“funk” and “crazy,” Lil’ Jon did so
much more than simply take slang words and mash them together like
so many frosted diamonds in his mouth. An entire clique, nay, a
full lifestyle of frenzied and raucous behavior has sprung from the
feet of this bold innovator of language. Though the man himself did
add the squelching synth chords and sonar whistles than have
infected the airwaves like some marvelous disease, the history of
“crunk” dates back to the very seeds of human art.
Outlining the very elements of “crunk” is as elusive
a job as trying to make Usher sound like a credible singer. The
people and objects that fall under the umbrella of
“crunk” all have a certainly earthy, revelatory, and
often hedonistic mood. So I must ask once more, “what
cha’ll know about crunk historical figures?”
To start, Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech
Republic not only is one of the most famous writers in Czech
history (any type of art is crunk) but he also brought in Lou Reed
as an official guest of the state. Havel beat the communists and
turned Prague into the party capital of Europe.
Most of us run into William Blake in the dreary pages of some
poetry anthology but look at it this way: Blake knew humans were
flawed angels, hopeful demons and something in between. He was part
of a small sect of Christianity but never reigned in his passion
and zeal for reforming the church as a whole. Plus he painted
pictures to accompany his poems. When you’re crunked up you
need some visual guidance. “Tyger, Tyger” is also
fairly crunked out and deadly.
Closer to home, easily the most “crunk” group of
people on the Michigan campus has to be the marching band. First
off, they’re just plain dirty. What other group of people can
slam together various pieces of music once a week and still manage
to hit almost every goddamn note? Their parties rock and most of
all, they are so cocky about the fact that they play in the band!
All we need is some Drumline-esque scene were Petey Pablo runs in
the middle of a halftime show and rips some verses. Damn. Then he
could party with the whole trumpet section.
Most importantly, I’m the most crunked-out writer at the
Daily. While other people are toiling away to bring you vital news
about some budget crisis or football failure, I’m usually
somewhere in a crowd of people screaming outdated catch phrases and
generally causing a public disturbance. So by my logic I’m
cooler than Blake, the first president of the Czech Republic and
pretty much everyone else who attempts to wrestle the crown of
crunk from my iced out hands.