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What is TURN UP and what does it mean?

May 15, 20235 min read

“Slang is the oral tradition of Hip Hop, passed down through generations, evolving with each new expression, and preserving the spirit of a vibrant culture.” - H. Samy Alim

What does TURN UP mean?

If you browse the web, here is the definition of TURN UP:

"Turn up" is a slang term used in hip hop culture that means to get hyped, excited, or energetic. It can refer to a party or event where people are having fun and dancing, or it can describe an individual's behavior when they are feeling lively and enthusiastic. The phrase has become popularized in many hip hop songs and is often used as a call to action to encourage people to let loose and enjoy themselves.

However, in the World of ATL Hip Hop, we ALWAYS reinforce and ground ourselves in Mother Hip Hop Before accepting what is ONLINE now.

Especially with the onslaught of money-hungry organizations using AI to release loads and loads of content, not concerned about its impact or its relevance.

And the biggest question of all - is this true?

So, let's unpack this term for you since you require a Primary Source.

The History of Turn Up

The term CRUNK was wonderful in the early days of Hip Hop, but as a gender-based term, Patriarchal, its ability to adapt was severely limited.

Like most slang terms, CRUNK was innovative in its inception, but it was crippled by being "set in time" and unable to alter or change with the times.

Let me go deeper into this concept.

In the early days of ATL Hip Hop, the word CRUNK was used to describe "professional dancers," who at the time were Breakers, Poppers, and Yeekers.

As ATL Hip Hop flourished throughout the city, it became readily apparent that CRUNK was not designed to communicate to the "General Populace."

So, we found ourselves STUCK in communication:

  • How do we describe our parents when they want to join in and get CRUNK?

  • How does a Grandmother get CRUNK?

  • How does a Cashier at Kessler's get CRUNK?

  • How do Therrell High School Cheerleaders get CRUNK?

Up to this point, ATL Hip Hop was OUR Movement, it was our THING.

We never considered that we would have to "share."

We never realized the imbalance of this movement.

We never looked around and asked, where are the females?

We were content with being "seen" and "acknowledged" by Females, but none of us ever asked the simplest of questions.

Why aren't there more females Yeeking?

The Problems with CRUNK

Although CRUNK was an appropriate term and it held its power for several decades, it severely limited our understanding and appreciation of this ancient energy that "consumed" us from our Souls.

First, it described either Breakdancers, Poppers, or Yeekers and this posed an incredible PROBLEM for the Movement.

These people I just described, these people were "Professionals," and it was impossible for "outsiders" to compete or even reach their professional level.

How would a brand-new dancer, only days in, go to Jellybeans Skating Rink and attempt to "challenge" someone like Ted Rush, from the Legendary Yeek Group Guess?

Since CRUNK only described the professionals, how would we describe someone who was "not" professional?

Unfortunately, the in-crowd (mostly guys) cared little for diversity and we were only interested in practicing and performing.

The ironic thing is that we all were driven and directed by Mother Hip Hop, a Feminine Figure.

How could we seriously address our Source as Feminine and not fight for the Feminine Force in ATL Hip Hop to experience inclusion?

As a result, our prejudice maintained its hold as we upheld a distorted "view of reality" that held us in suspended animation for several decades.

And then, the energies of Mother Hip Hop re-energized and a new term entered our Creative Space.

And this new term was wonderful and it was inclusive of all, not exclusive like its Big Brother CRUNK.

The Differences

Where Crunk is more of an ID persona with a high dosage of PRIMAL power, the term TURN UP defies this warrior-like instinct of self-awareness and jars the definition into a more abstract existence.

Where CRUNK deals with reaching what the ancients called Bliss and Inner Peace, what sports icons call being In “The Zone,” what people on streaks call “Feeling it,” what Emcees call "being in the Flow," the concept of Turn Up is more loose in its definition and much more forgiving in its interpretation.

The keen difference between the two is that Crunk is more a Masculine approach and Turn Up is a Feminine Approach.

The reason it is feminine is its willingness to BEND the RULES and make them subjective.

For example, a 20-year old young man in heat, if he TURNS UP, we may have to call them folks.

But a 75-year-old grandmother, just by walking to the mailbox and down the street and then doing it again, has also “TURNED UP.”


There are a few occasions where Crunk is loosely defined, but in its major interpretation, it refers to REAL HIGH energy by Professionals.

And this makes it Prejudiced.

However, TURN UP is relative to the person who is TURNING UP and this provides more diversity.

Just as mothers attune their behavior according to their children’s aptitudes and personalities, so too does TURN UP embrace people of all ages, backgrounds, forms of consciousness, cultures, and traditions.

In this regard, it's best to view TURN UP as an upgrade to Crunk.

Homework Questions

  1. What makes CRUNK prejudiced?

  2. Why is CRUNK considered Masculine?

  3. Why is TURN UP considered Feminine?

  4. What factors led to the creation of TURN UP?

  5. Why is Mother Hip Hop considered the Source of ATL Hip Hop?

  6. Why is Hip Hop personified as a Feminine Force in the early days of ATL Hip Hop?

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Miquiel Banks

Miquiel Banks is the Power behind his Educational Site, The Hip Hop Evangelist. His site is dedicated to cultivating and preserving ATL Hip Hop and Yeek Culture.

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