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When Lil Jon commenced work on his highly anticipated solo album Crunk Rock, he made a surprising decision. He decided to work with other producers. "After a certain amount of time, it's hard to be the artist, producer and everything," he explains. "And, I wanted a new sound, to take it to another level! I wanted to have the best producers, the best of the best at whatever they do and let them do their thing. I just went to other people and it was dope because, for a change, I got a chance to just be an artist. It gave me a new energy and a new freshness."
That new energy and freshness is reflected throughout Crunk Rock, an innovative, genre-bending collection that features explosive new sounds and attitudes. Hitmakers Drumma Boy, LMFAO, DJ Chuckie and Kassiano are among the producers who join Lil Jon (who also produced several selections) to create Crunk Rock's searing soundscapes.
Just as Lil Jon popularized Crunk to the pop culture lexicon, he plans to do the same with Crunk Rock. "Crunk Rock is a lifestyle," he says. "It doesn't just mean Crunk and rock music. It means we live Crunk and party like rock stars! You live life to the fullest. You don't let nobody tell you, you can't do nothing. You're on 10. You're living life and you're doing your thing."
Crunk Rock boasts the spastic, confrontational "Get In Get Out" and the equally raucous radio smashes "Shots" and "Outta Your Mind." (The latter two feature and were produced by LMFAO.) "Outta Your Mind," in particular, serves as a sort of sonic energy source. "It's a record you can put on when you want to go work out and you need some energy, if you're going to a club and you're ready to get Crunk for the night, or if you need your energy up when you're going to work," Lil Jon says. "Whatever you're trying to do to get your energy level up and you're trying to have a good time, that's the song you want to hear."
The same could be said for the block-rocking "Throw It Up PT. 2," which reunites Lil Jon and Pastor Troy and also features rising rapper Waka Flocka Flame. Jon then showcases an angst-riddled rock sound courtesy of punk band Whole Wheat Bread on "Killas," which features guest vocals from Ice Cube, The Game and Elephant Man. Things then take a decidedly gangster turn on "G Walk," which features Soulja Boy.
But Crunk Rock contains more than rowdy music for the clubs. "Like A Stripper," for instance, should make the ladies swoon, while "Ms. Chocolate" with R. Kelly and Mario gives an often-overlooked segment of the population a theme song. "I was in the studio eating some chocolate and was like, `We need to make a song for the chocolate girls,'" Lil Jon recalls. "That's how that came about. It was that simple. The dark-skinned women have an anthem, finally. The light-skinned girls always get all the credit, but now the dark-skinned girls got their song!"
Always one to introduce new sounds to his fans, Lil Jon then teams with Balie funk maestros Kassiano and Mr. Catra, as well as Baile funk dancer and Playboy model Mulher File, for the pulsating "Machuka." Jon was drawn to the pulsating sounds of Baile funk - a form of Brazilian music - while touring the world as a DJ in between albums. "Baile funk reminds me of Miami bass back in the late `80s and `90s," Lil Jon explains. "They've got the booty shake dancers. They even use old Miami bass records in Baile funk songs. The women love the songs. They dance to it like they're going crazy!"
Lil Jon himself was the one going crazy when he got to collaborate with reggae legends Stephen and Damian Marley on "On De Grind." A lifelong fan of reggae music, Lil Jon was particularly impressed by how the Marley's embraced him. "It was dope that the Marley's opened up their home in Miami to me," he says. "I came to their studio and recorded it. They don't do a lot of records with a lot of different people and for them to show me that much love was amazing. To work with those talented guys -- both of them won Grammys before and their father is a legend -- it was amazing just to work with them period."
Other artists surely say the same thing about Lil Jon. After delivering a string of regional hits with the East Side Boyz in the 1990s, Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz became a national force in 2001 thanks to the hits "Bia Bia" and "Put Yo Hood Up." Lil Jon's mesmerizing, club-ready production launched the Crunk movement, which introduced Jon's patented high-energy music and guttural growls to a worldwide audience. Crunk became so popular that Jon became a fixture on Chappelle's Show and artists not directly connected to him, such as Mary J. Blige, began using the word Crunk, in their own music.
Lil Jon's reach quickly expanded to endorsement deals with Oakley sunglasses and Crunk!!! Energy Drink - which recently introduced two new flavors, Grape and Peach Mango - among others. More recently, Lil Jon has introduced Crunk!!! Energy Stix, a powder version of his energy drink. There's also his award-winning wine label, Little Jonathan Winery, which garnered tremendous press including a feature in People Magazine. Another project he's especially proud of is his forthcoming television program Designated Driver. "It's like Taxicab Confessions meets Cash Cab," Lil Jon gushes. "So just imagine me picking drunk people up and taking them home from the club."
But for Lil Jon it always comes back to music, who is looking forward to producing for other artists again now that Crunk Rock is complete. "This album has definitely been fun because I'm doing stuff that I've never done before," he says. "I feel fresh and new again!"
The last time Lil Jon brought something this drastically new to the table, Crunk revolutionized the musical landscape. With Crunk Rock, Lil Jon plans to continue his revolution.
Some of Lil Jon's best songs are here so enjoy with you glass in the air!!
This CD was solely created to trick people into buying it, not because it's quality music, but because it's borderline mainstream pop.
On de Grind: 3/5 I like the beat to it, but its just so boring, I don't think its even worth listening to.
Unfortunately, unless you love the F bomb this will leave you quite speechless! I had mistakenly purchased this thinking I had gotten the "clean" version... Read morePublished on August 24, 2012 by tater1969
I'll keep this short...a VERY enjoyable cd, great tracks that are well produced. Do NOT understand the negative reviews.Published on July 27, 2010 by Alan de Mena
this album has unintelligent written all over it the lyrics are childish the guests are childish if you want to listen to a real album check out these amazing albums... Read morePublished on July 2, 2010 by Darth Nihilus