I wish I could blame this sort of thing on April Fools Day, and perhaps the timing is all-out irony, but it’s stuff like this that reminds you how everyone lives under their own rock at times. What am I talking about specifically?
(It’s important to note that, the number 1 spot for scrunk on urban dictionary is “the act of being stupidly crunk,” a definition that I have heard, making me feel not quite as old-for-my-age as the above definition.)
And glancing at the myspace pages for scrunk acts BrokeNCYDE and I Set My Friends On Fire and seeing the millions of listens that have occurred in these groups’ short life spans, you have to wonder… sometimes it’s a little hard keeping up with the speed of information and culture dissemination these days. This does, however, explain the presence of a number of headlining bands on Warped Tour that I’ve never heard of… they’re in the scrunk scene.
Then again, there doesn’t appear to be much of a “scrunk scene” as the term scene would indicate… just a couple of bands from different parts of (most likely suburban) America combining two seemingly disparate genres. In many ways, this sound is something that can be traced back to a number of influences, many having cropped up within the past few years. Scrunk can be seen as the screamo extension of the infusion of electronics in emo and pop-punk, a sound glorified in the music by bands such as Panic! at the Disco, The Higher, and Hellogoodbye.
The mass popularity of these acts could conceivably trace their way up to the scrunk sound; the combination of different genres with an emo subgenre isn’t that hard to conceive. In many ways, it’s a monument to the power of technology, the dissemination of information, and the high speed with which our culture travels. In that, it’s not inconceivable to consider groups of suburban kids picking up a hip-hop genre from Atlanta and other southern urban areas, and fusing it with another popular genre that they listen to extensively. In many ways, crunk is no more foreign than anything else when you consider its pairing with screamo. With the exception of notable acts such as Thursday, screamo has been susceptible to many of the pains (no connection to actual content by emo/screamo acts) that emo is criticized for adhering to. Shallow music about romance, sure thing. Sometimes taken to extremes with strong hints of misogyny that Jessica Hopper so eloquently pointed out in a 2004 Punk Planet article entitled “Emo: Where The Girls Aren’t?” Set that level to “scream” and you’ve got that tenfold. The violence and oft-stereotyped images of hatred towards women that can be evoked in some emo songs can be taken to extremes in screamo. So, when you’ve got a hip-hop sub-genre that’s known for misogyny, repetitive and stereotyped beats, and an extreme version of its former electronic essence (“electro” or “Miami bass” – take your pick) and post-hardcore sub-genre that’s equally extreme, musically stereotyped, and known for romanticizing the problems in romantic longing, all while it’s original part (emo) is making waves by moving in the direction of using electronic instruments… well, the math adds up pretty clearly.
Don’t believe that crunk and screamo can be equal? Well, BrokeNCYDE have had no problem adapting the two in a matter of time…
Perhaps someday scrunk may change, but if it doesn’t, it just may just fade away… and probably for the better.
Still, you have to marvel at just how quickly these bands have managed to crop up, generate a sound, and gain millions of fans and hits… it’s quite mind-numbing…
BrokeNCYDE – “Get Crunk”:
I Set My Friends On Fire – “Crank Dat” (Dora the Explorer-themed video):