Anyone stepping into a club in the last two years has certainly thrown them bows to the crunk stylings of Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz. The Atlanta-based trio of Lil Jon, Big Sam and Lil Bo unleashed the gold-certified Put Yo Hood Up album in 2001, which spawned the smash singles "Bia Bia" (with Ludacris, Too $hort, Big Kap and Chyna White) and the title track (whose rambunctious remix featured Jadakiss and Petey Pablo).

Torchbearers to the hip-hop movement known as "crunk", with its signature rowdy choruses and block-rocking beats, Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz return with their fourth, and best, album to date. Simply put, Kings Of Crunk (which features Jadakiss, Mystikal, Petey Pablo, UGK, 8Ball, Krayzie Bone, Pastor Troy, MJG and E-40, among others) will take crunk music from a regional sensation to a national phenomenon.

"Im calling the album the Crunk Chronic?, explains Lil Jon, referring to the landmark Dr. Dre album that introduced the world to Snoop Dogg and launched Death Row Records. "We抳e got so many hot rappers on the album and the production level has stepped up tremendously. It just going to be a good all-around album for everybody, from women to men, from black to white. The energy level of all of the songs is just amazing. It抯 going to be one of those records where it抯 hit after hit after hit."

Lead single "I Don抰 Give A Fuck" will send crowds into a frenzy, as the bone-crushing beat and the spirited guest shots from Mystikal and Krayzie Bone make this cut one of The East Side Boyz抯 best songs to date.

"We were recording in Miami, so Mystikal came to Miami, came in the studio and we were all writing together," Lil Jon says. "We wrote the hook while he was writing his rap. We laid the hook down and by the time we finished, he came in and laid his rap. Krayzie Bone came in with all the guys from Bone. We thought he抎 be hot on that track and he put his verse down quick."

Another effortless collaboration came with "Knockin?Heads Off", which features Jadakiss and Styles. After recording the pounding "Put Your Hood Up" remix with Jadakiss, this lauded member of the LOX, Lil Jon knew that their collaborative magic should strike again. But this time Jon made it more hype, as both Styles P and Jadakiss represent on "Knockin?Heads Off.拻 The results are, as expected, explosive.

That抯 to say nothing of the dream teaming of Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz with fellow A-Town icon, Pastor Troy. The two forces unite on "Throw It Up," a dramatic ode to Southern hoods. A similar display of Southern pride pops up on the driving "Rep Your City" a punishing posse cut with Petey Pablo, UGK, 8Ball and E-40. "There抯 no Southern posse record out, so we wanted to put the best rappers from the South on that joint," Lil Jon says. "We wanted to make a hot record for everybody to represent to."
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Although the majority of Kings Of Crunk maintains the energy of a riot, there are some calmer, more soulful moments. Such is the case with "Diamonds", a guitar-driven cut with MJG and UGK. After collaborating with the two acts extensively, Lil Jon felt it was only right to flip their energy into a hot track for all of his fans in Texas.

"We did that song for Texas," says Lil Jon. "The vibe of the track is on some Texas shit, so we did that song for our Texas fans. They love us for that crunk shit, but we also want to show we can rap if we wanted to. The song just felt good. It has a good flow, good transitions, good build-up, the hook is nice and the guitar feels good."

With such searing results, it comes as no surprise that Lil Jon & The EastSide Boyz filled their album with guest stars. Everyone wanted to record with them. "Last album, we had a lot of people saying they wanted to be on the album," says Big Sam, who delivers his best performance on "Diamonds". "They wanted to know why we didn抰 put them on the album. This time we branched out to everybody we could."

Indeed, Kings Of Crunk stands as an artistic advancement of a group who was already at the top of its game. "We wanted to show the growth of us as a group and step up the game as far as production, the hooks and everything," Lil Jon explains. "We抮e not really considering ourselves rappers, so we got the best rappers in the game to get on the tracks. We do our chant thing, make the beats and let other people who really rap do the rap. We wanted to work with people who we wanted to work with, who we admire and whose music we admired. We went into it like we俽e going to make a hot-ass album."

Truth be told, Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz have been making hot-ass albums for years. The trio emerged in 1996 with their "Who U With", Get Crunk: Da Album and quickly established themselves as one of the South抯 hottest hip-hop acts. With Jon handling the beats, Sam and Bo collaborating on the hooks and lyrics, they became a treacherous three, packing that club energy into each of their recordings.

With 2000抯 We Still Crunk!!, the group returned and became an outright sensation thanks to their party-starting beats, chantable choruses and undeniable energy. Put Yo Hood Up broke the crew on a major level, earning them the respect of hip-hop fans across the country and establishing the crew as the pioneers of crunk. "We brought crunkness to hip-hop," Lil Jon says. "For us to go to New York and do show with Funkmaster Flex at his club, that shows that the crunk thing has really grown. We brought the aspect of putting our records and getting the clubs rowdy."

Now, with Kings Of Crunk, there is no choice but to bow down to these musical masters. "Back in the day, we were just making records for Atlanta, for them to get crunk in the club to," Lil Jon says. "Now, we抮e making records for the nation and the world to get crunk to."
Brace yourself.


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