May 02, 2017

Lil' Jon & The East Side Boyz - Put Yo Hood Up (2001)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Crunk
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© 2001 TVT Records
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
There was a time when Southern rappers felt marginalized. That was before the rise of 2 Live Crew and their bass colleagues in the late '80s; southern rap has long since become a huge industry, and Dirty South MCs who hit big in cities like New Orleans, Memphis, and Miami can easily sell a ton of CDs in the South alone. While some Dirty South rappers have a gangsta/thug life agenda and some are into serious sociopolitical messages, Atlanta rapper Lil Jon and his two East Side Boyz (Lil Bo and Big Sam) have tended to favor rowdy, in-your-face, profanity-filled party music. Kings of Crunk, like the trio's previous releases, is full of the sort of hook-filled call-and-response jams that Southern hip-hop clubs are known for. The list of guests reads like a who's-who of Dirty South rapping -- Mystikal, Petey Pablo, Trick Daddy, and Pastor Troy all have cameos -- and Jon's trio works the crunk formula to death on relentlessly energetic tunes such as "Knockin' Heads Off," "Throw It Up," and the single "I Don't Give a Fuck." At times, the group sounds like it is recycling hits from previous albums, but one is inclined to be forgiving because even the CD's most formulaic tracks are infectious -- the Atlanta residents do have a way with a hook. And to their credit, not every track is formulaic crunk. Kings of Crunk detours into more of a Texas-type sound when Jon features U.G.K. on the rock-influenced "Diamonds," and those who find that Jon's up-tempo material can be exhausting will be surprised at how much his group chills out on "Nothin's Free" and a few other smooth, R&B-drenched items. Arguably the trio's most well-rounded album, Kings of Crunk will keep crunk fans happy, but has enough variety to keep listeners from calling them one-dimensional.

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