By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Thus far, crunk has been a one-sided affair -- the Dirty South-originated genre has spread like a virus from clubs to radio to video, spawning converts and imitators with each rowdy chant, ear-splitting handclap and stomp-inspiring snare hit. Yet its lyrics have hardly been memorable, usually instructing women to gyrate in a succession of scandalous dance-floor positions.
As for the actual Lil Jon, he has engineered a bold takeover of the music industry, symbolized best by Usher's "Yeah!" On Crunk Juice, the follow-up to 2003's multiplatinum Kings of Crunk, LJ flexes his A-list status with guest appearances by everyone from Ice Cube to Fat Joe to Nas to Pharrell Williams. There's enough profanity here to satisfy anyone who can't get enough of the word "bitch," but the adrenaline-charged beats far outshine that.
Pitbull's M.I.A.M.I.-- an acronym for "Money Is a Major Issue" -- does nothing to lessen the degree of crunk's misogyny, with songs like "She's Freaky," "That's Nasty" and "Culo" ("ass" in Spanish). But while not politically correct, crunk's answer to Tony Montana is also the closest thing to Rakim the genre has yet produced. Pitbull's tight, interlocking flows transcend his shallow subject matter (sex and cocaine). Meanwhile, Lil Jon's presence behind the boards solidifies the link between crunk, dancehall reggae and bass music, a combination sure to free your culo, if not your mind.