Shtetl Crunk

“Crunk,” writes Wikipedia, “is a specific type of hip hop music, based out of the southern United States, particularly Atlanta, Georgia.” Popularized by the likes of artists such as Lil Jon, “The sound itself is a mix of repetitive chants and drum machine rhythms […] The delivery of the lyrics, as with other Southern rap, is based on a rhythmic ‘bounce’ which is very effective in clubs. In fact, several crunk songs have been banned in venues due to how wild the crowds can get.”
The term “crunk” itself is allegedly a mixture of the words crazy and drunk, and it may very well be. But according to one entry in the Urban Dictionary, the word “crunk” may actually have Yiddish origins.

[Crunk] in Yiddish means “sick,” and was brought into the Southern Black vernacular through the presence of European Jewish immigrant shopkeepers in black neighborhoods in cities such as Atlanta.
Can be used in the sense of “messed up” as in “these forks are crunk,” and spread to “messed up” as from controlled substances.

Thus in proper usage: “We were swilling crazy amounts of schnaps at my brother’s simcha last night and my Zeidi got mad crunk.”
Is this yet another way we Jews have influenced the world unwittingly or just another amusing coincidence? (c/o Eli V.)

10 thoughts on “Shtetl Crunk

  1. psycho: yiddish in turn borrowed the word from the german “krank”, also meaning sick.. (e.g., krankenversicherung = health insurance)

  2. “crunk” is not a yiddish word instead of “krank”. again something of the folklorisation of yiddish and yiddish culture (the “potato yiddish”) in vernacular american culture : if something makes laughing it’s yiddish.

  3. I’ve also heard that the word “copasetic” comes from the Hebrew phrase “hakol beseder” which is loosely translated “it’s all good.” Say hakol besder quickly and you can kind of buy it. Who knows.

  4. no crunk is not yiddish from what i remember growing up. the word actually existed out here in the Dirty South before the music made it a popular vocab word. It orginiates from the act of getting Drunk and taking too much Crack. At that point you are so wild and out of control that you Cracked and Drunk… Crunk! This wild state later influence the naming of the wild music from the ATL, but rest assured the entire south shares in the use of the word. Peace!

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