Various Artists

Bootleg Crunk: Da Mix Tape

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Although he's only directly responsible for two of the tracks here, Lil Jon's loud influence is all over Bootleg Crunk -- a collection that is hardly bootleg but is most definitely crunk. Beats are hard, chants are rowdy, and raps are simple but a tough kind of exuberant that's perfect for the weekend. DJ Crunk Mix's name might be horribly uncreative, but his flow isn't, jumping from spirited Lil Jon wannabes to the classic sound of MC Breed. His mixing of U Know Who's grits-meet-P-Funk "Who da Phuck Are You" into Lil Jon's anthem "Get Crunk" is thrilling, and the disc winds up with some authentic boom. Manhood's excellent "Yah Yah" is dancehall reggae through a cough-syrup sipper's cloudy eyes and Hype Boyz's "Exercise Program" is exactly that with "breath deeply/bend that back" lyrics and a booty beat. Lil Jon defined the crunk sound for the syrup generation, but his followers have added clever bits of humor and borrow enough from the outside world to keep the limited genre going. The cover looks as "cash-in" as they come, the DJ's name is weak, and this is the label that brought the world a Macarena collection back in the day. Still, Bootleg Crunk is better than most of the competition and an authentic, pimp-chalice-swinging good time.

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