Music News

Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz

At its best, Crunk Juice isn't so much a recapitulation of Lil Jon's previous work as an amplification of it. The beats are beatier. The synths are synthier. The screaming is screamier. "It's the most incredible experience you ever felt in your fuckin' life!" he declares on the title cut, and while there's plenty of hyperbole in that statement, his words accurately convey his crazed exuberance. Throughout tracks like "Get Crunk," he takes the concept of doin' it to death so seriously that he's lucky not to be wearing a solid-gold coffin.

If there's a problem here, it's Lil Jon's intermittent attempts to broaden his sonic palette. The guest stars just keep coming -- among them Usher, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube. Yet only Chris Rock, who does some amusing cameo bellowing, nears the loony heights Lil Jon reaches every time he opens his yap. "Stop Fuckin' Wit Me" is barely even a song, but when the main man shouts, "I'm havin' a hard fuckin' life right now, and I'm gonna give y'all some of my fuckin' pain!", it hurts so good.

Although Crunk Juice goes down rough, take a swig anyway. You'll be glad you did.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts