[eDebate] Defining a Crunk Revolution

nicholas brady nicholas.brady89
Tue Apr 15 12:55:37 CDT 2008

I thank Mr. Glass for chiming in on this discussion, because he has added an
intelligent look at the debate community. He is right, it is time that
performance teams stop being so anti-establishment and move to the next
stage of the "project". As Andy said in his rather creative message, he did
not go into CEDA actually believing he would win a championship -- but now
that he and CL have won a championship i think this means that we have
entered into a new stage of this movement to create a more equal and diverse
debate community. Namely we have entered into a stage of mainstreaming and
commodification of this argument that means we have a different
responsibility to this debate community.

Andy brought up a good point about basketball that really resonates with me:
namely a "white/normal" aesthetic versus a "black/revolutionary" aesthetic.
Basketball used to be very different: more boring, more coach-centric, more
center-centric, more flow/pass-offense-centric, more zone-defense-centric.
Give me some leeway on this because I am very much making generalizations
here, but we can define this as the "white/normal" aesthetic. Not to be too
essentialist but as Black enrollment grew the game grew to be first more
forward-centric, then quickly became guard-centric. These forwards/guards
were not normal, they were superstar athletes with abilities to completely
takeover games. This superstar role used to be reserved for either centers
or maybe sharp-shooting shooting guards, instead these guards/forwards could
do it all from play in the post, slash into the lane, shoot the jay, and
break down defenses to get the ball to others. They also happened to be
Black. Due to the influx in Black, superstar talent from urban communities
the game became less about coaching and more about recruitment. Coaches
could take players to the next level, but now star recruiting was the prime
position on most teams. The offenses became less flow/pass-centric and more
about superstar talent while defenses adjusted by using more man-zone
instead of zone (because superstars eat zone up like wheaties). This new
style can be seen largely as a "black/revolutionary" aesthetic in the game,
and because basketball became less esoteric and more exciting its revenue
grew exponentially.

Basketball can teach us a couple lessons:

One to the debate community is that diversity pays bills. Though we in the
debate community love predictability and insularity, the outside community
doesn't much care for it. I do not claim to be an expert on why debate
budgets decrease, I am not a coach but I have read numerous messages and
articles by coaches. There appears to be a crisis in decreasing budgets and
as Andy stated: increasing diversity in both student involvement and
argumentation can have adverse effects on how departments contextualize the
importance of debate. So do not be afraid of debaters who offer something
different than the normative model of a debater, learn from OU, Towson, and
countless other debate teams that find alternative debaters much the same
way conventional squads go after the normal debater.

One to us project debaters is that in order to bring in more debaters that
look like us and resist the system of white supremacy is not through normal
project structure. I think the time has come to mainstream our movement so
that our people are no longer outcasts within THEIR OWN community. We are
entitled just as much as white students are to the development and the style
of this community so its time that we cease to ask for ballots to legitimize
our style and unflinchingly assert ourselves as the norm. This is how we
mainstream performance, no more "project" in conventional terms but simply
assert our style as a norm to truly create alternative ways to debate.

So what the hell does this have to do with crunk? Crunk music to me
represented Hip Hop of the new millennium, allow me to explain this. Hip Hop
did not go away at any point in the nineties, but definitely by the turn of
the century it got played out fast. With the death of the game's biggest
personalities in 2pac and B.I.G. the most exciting rapper was Eminem and
that was just sad ? everyone was tired of east coast/west coast bullshit,
tired of gangsta and mafia rap, tired of the same tired beats from Bad Boy,
they even got tired of Jay Z for a lil while. Rap and Hip Hop as a culture
had went from the hottest and freshest music form to another tired trend ?
Hip Hop was beginning to become as critics had slated it to be: simply music
of the times with no lasting impact. Hip Hop had come into the game and had
unflinchingly changed the music industry just as project debate teams have
done to this community: but the second it went from underground culture to
world wide pop it lost all of its power simply because it was not
anti-establishment anymore, it was the establishment. Once it became the
establishment, well Nelly became no different from Nelly Furtado: what once
was hot was now cold and old.

Then what happened to rap? Did it die? Hell to the nah is the answer.

CRUNK came onto the scene and forever changed Hip Hop and Popular culture ?
for better or for worse.

What made crunk so much different from other Hip Hop was simply its chaotic
fierceness. Sonically it broke speakers, broke down inhibition, broke down
barriers between "white" music and "black" music, and allowed all to revel
in the party. Crunk had no respect for its elders ? fuck a Pac, fuck a Big,
fuck a Diddy, fuck a Run DMC, fuck a Public Enemy (though they are in debt
to both Run and PE) ? Crunk was its own movement. Crunk came onto the scene
with no hesitation and declared that its time was NOW ? crunk was
revolution. And anybody with ears could tell you that this was not simply
rap posturing ? Crunk was very much unlike anything else the American public
had heard before. Crunk declared war on popular music while also declaring
control over popular music: it was revolution and victory all in the same
song. Though people mostly attribute "Get Low" as the manifesto of the crunk
music movement, I think it was truly "DAMN" that served as its manifesto.
The thumping base and the fierce, recognizable synth line gave the
Youngbloodz their only number 1 hit and established Lil Jon as a force in
the industry. Check out the chorus:

"If you don't give a damn, we don't give a fuck
If you don't give a damn, we don't give a fuck
If you don't give a damn, we don't give a fuck
If you don't give a damn, we don't give a fuck
Don't start no shit, won't be no shit
Don't start no shit, won't be no shit
Don't start no shit, won't be no shit
Don't start no shit, won't be no shit"

The simplicity is the beauty. Intelllectuals very much like to get on their
high horse and declare this music horrible, atrocious, idiotic, etc, etc,
etc. I think this critique is the same critiques I have heard of project
teams in the beginning and critiques judges have said to me ? These
performance arguments represent laziness, stupidity, and are just horrible
and atrocious. The time to listen to these critiques has ended ? if they
don't give a damn, we don't give a fuck. As with the crunk movement, project
arguments have been around for longer than their success: Ying Yang Twins,
Lil Jon, Petey Pablo, Three 6 Mafia were all thirty before their first hits
and were regional heroes. There is a place for the elders in this movement
(especially to Ede) consider this lyric:

"Y'all niggaz don't understand the seriousness of what Petey be sayin
I took a unknown piece of land (and planted) a God-damn flag!
Say I didn't motherfucker, I'd die for this
I done my God-damn thang, I brought my folks in this somma bitch"

So in recognition of the hard work of those that came before me its time we
understand we have come and change accordingly. Like Hip Hop we are no
longer in the days of the eighties where we are consistent underdogs ? we
have created a niche but we must expand to create more radical change to
this community. I propose the next stage of the movement for diversity is
the crunk movement ? an unflinching, chaotic, revolutionary attempt to make
our own aesthetic, ethic, and politic for this community to accept and move
with. No more victim shit my friends ? we are here and its time to start
acting like it. For the future of minority debaters in this league I propose
we follow in the steps of Lil Jon and the crunk movement ? we'll roll deep,
we'll make better arguments our own unique way, and we'll tear through and
forever change the debate community. We no longer have to separate ourselves
and critique the community as outsiders ? we are on the inside due to the
hard work of those that came before and now we can use this position to
forever change the way people think of debate. In the words of the
"In the club you goin feel it when we drop this summer
Like rain we gonna pour and hit you hard like thunder"

I love this community and I truly want to see it change for the better. I
think its time that we ? debaters of the oppressed community ? truly use the
power we have in our voices and continue to blaze a trail for others behind
us. That's why I will forever say GET CRUNK!

This is only the beginning ya'll, I look forward to this year of debate!

Leader of a Crunk Revolution
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