No Trivia

Archive for the ‘Lil Jon’ Category

Spin: “When Rap Rock Didn’t Suck, Lil Jon’s Crunk Rebellion.”


Inspired by the release of Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz’s Crunkest Hits, an evaluation of crunk’s strange musical legacy:

For the first half of the 2000s, crunk music was rap music. The production of Lil Jon — the fight songs of Memphis’ Three 6 Mafia by way of shiny, Atlanta pop-rap — was a hybrid style technically “from Atlanta,” but with roots extending across the South (some Miami Bass and a distinct, New Orleans-based Cash-Money/No Limit influence too), but it was never beholden to area code or region. Crunk was southern hip-hop malleable enough to make room for a Midwestern double-time rapper like Krayzie Bone (“I Don’t Give A Fuck”), universally hard-edged enough to support lyrical New York tough guys like Styles P and Jadakiss (“Knockin’ Heads Off”), or just plain fun enough to direct Usher’s career away from slow jams (“Yeah”).

Crunkest Hits, a compilation of some of Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz’s most well-known songs, featuring “I Don’t Give a Fuck,” “Knockin’ Heads Off,” “Yeah,” and eleven others, arrives in stores this week. That’s less than a year after Crunk Rock, Lil Jon’s much-delayed, rap-metal genre mash-up, which was actually more like a Hot Topic-infused party record. Crunkest Hits makes a much better case for the idea of “crunk” as “rock.”

Written by Brandon

March 11th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Posted in Lil Jon, Spin, Spin column

leave a comment

Rappers Discover Acid (Not Really).
When rock music addresses the use of psychedelic drugs it is generally either the sonic equivalent of a life-changing “I saw God” moment or it’s a psychedelic freak-out; the sonic equivalent of a bad trip. Lil Wayne’s ‘I Feel Like Dying’ and ‘I’m a J Remix’ featuring Lil Jon, D4L’s Fabo, and Gucci Mane are two songs that I’ve been listening to a lot and in my opinion, address certain realities of drug-use much more accurately than your average acid-trip jam.

‘I Feel Like Dying’ is sort of a bad-trip song but we primarily get that feeling from the suicidal chorus, Wayne’s blissed-out flow, and a weird, meandering guitar. The lyrical content of the verses is a counterpoint to the bad trip feeling, giving you excited visions of Willy Wonka land or the Altered State of Druggachusets. While say, Led Zeppelin’s ‘Dazed and Confused’ gets increasingly freaky, reflecting the shift into a bad trip, the reality of drugs is that its pretty much a constant struggle between feeling great and well, feeling like you’re dying. Sometimes both feelings hit you at the same time and then you’re really confused and really feel like dying.

One assumes a great deal of acid rock musicians actually did acid so it is even stranger that their presentations of the drug rely so much on the same cliches (although I guess the same could be said of “gangsta” rappers). As I said before, Lil Wayne is well-versed in played-out Strawberry Alarm Clockisms, but when mixed with the strange production and chorus, it feels wholly original. This is in part because rap, even when it does address tripping, never goes out on a limb this far to be weird but still listenable and even sort of catchy. The song isn’t a total clusterfuck freak-out but it isn’t a normal rap song with conventional lyrics replaced with lyrics about tripping. Also, Wayne knows his stoner clichés are clichés and he delivers them with glee. Particularly strange is his mixing of sports and drugs. I don’t even get what he’s going for at all but of course, that’s why it becomes some genuine stoner shit: “Playing touch football on Marijuana Street/Or in a marijuana field, you are so beneath my cleats”. I just finished reading this and the pretty much perfect soundtrack to it would be ‘I Feel Like Dying’, half-baked glee fighting with like, tangible grossness all filtered through some hit or miss profundity.

On ‘I’m a J Remix’, Lil Jon stumbles upon the little-addressed but undeniable reality that IT TOTALLY SUCKS TO TRIP WITH GIRLS: “then the hoe start trippin’/about to blow my high”. I mean really…I don’t know what it is but girls really do blow your high. They get way too freaked-out or they just talk the whole fucking time; it’s like they stole all of their “I’m high” moves from Pauly Shore in ‘Biodome’…of course, it doesn’t phase Lil Jon because he’ll “just jump up in [his] spaceship and fly”. I really like the “just” in there, as if he really could just do it on a whim…I imagine this like, really trippy ‘California Raisins’ style claymation and he just leaps up in the air like a jackalope and lands in this old-style 50s sci-fi rocket and circles the moon…the same moon Weezy is playing basketball with?????

Now, I know rap and psychedelics aren’t a new thing and I know neither of these songs are chartbusters, but the fact that two successful, well-known rappers are rapping about it is pretty interesting. Even more interesting is the way that both songs address the drug from a fairly realistic perspective, capturing the highs and the lows, often at the same time.

Written by Brandon

August 4th, 2007 at 8:45 am

Posted in Lil Jon, Lil Wayne, drugs