Disco. Funk. Crunk. PUNK. What is the theory behind Lil’ Jon’s “Yea!” … Lil’ Jon’s “Okay!” … Lil’ Jon’s “What!” … The theory is as follows: no theory allowed. Lil’ Jon’s “Yea” escapes theory as an attempt to generalize the thing into a homogenous whole. Difference and repetition. Repetition that unveils difference without end. Untranslatable phonic materiality. Please excuse the mumbling, we’re just chasing thoughts in circles.
“How does slavery – or the Euro-American encounter/eclipse – inhabit the structure of Freudian discovery? Can we say that phantasy is structured like a sonata, a sonata quasi una fantasia? What will this reversal have to say for the structure of the unconscious in general; that it is structured not like a language but like music?” (Moten, Black and Blur, 56)
I didn’t recognize that disco, funk and crunk was black punk in the form of untranslatable phonic materiality until I started to sing myself, until I joined Aunt Hester’s choir and sung. Then, and only then, could I really begin to consider deeply all of the phantasmatic aspects of my own self-identification. There are many phantasmatic aspects of this thing that we call “Self”. The most peculiar one of which is the phantasy of solidity. The phantasy of the stable self is a precondition to various wars over and around procuring authenticity. One participates in innumerable performances of inauthenticity in order to maintain the phantasy of a solid self as if to say “it is okay to repress the anxiety-inducing questions around who or what I am as long as I continue to think therefore I am.” This is an illustration of unconscious desire, indeed. But, perhaps the structure of the unconscious in general is structured “not like a language but like music?” One would have to ask: What is the structure of music? What is the structure of language? Where do they connect and where do they disconnect? Are the divisions set between them, not themselves, divisions set by way of the Euro-American encounter/eclipse? Had we been singing all along? Lil’ Jon may have something to say about that last question…
Are there things that exist outside of theory? Perhaps, Lil’ Jon may have something to say about this question too.