Responsible for numerous crunk party tunes and plenty of over-the-top hits, producer Lil Jon could easily be mistaken for a flash-in-the-pan whose time is almost up. Then again, his formulaic records that generally come up aces bring to mind AC/DC and their always-the-same, generally-very-good track record. You can count the songs that Lil Jon has been involved with and didn't shout "yeah!" and "okay!" on one hand, and his Crunk Juice album is more of the same. But keeping the AC/DC comparison going, Crunk Juice is his Back in Black, just as exciting and remarkably powerful, but twice as long and with a lot more help. Even though most of the songs are built on the same party-crunk foundation, the difference is in the details. Production by production, record by record, Lil Jon has become a more detailed producer. Crunk Juice is the payoff of every single that's come before it. Take the incredibly hard "What U Gon' Do" with it's simple, everybody's-feelin'-it beat. Lil Scrappy's tough rap proves he's the man for the job on this track, while the loopy, faraway melody and robot filters Lil Jon runs Scrappy's vocal through are what really makes it. The East Side Boyz -- Big Sam and Lil Bo -- are a worthy support crew and gel with their resident superstar as well as G-Unit does with 50 Cent. Great, but it's the ridiculously well-picked guest list you've come for, isn't it? The biggies -- R. Kelly, Usher, Ice Cube, Snoop, Rick Rubin, and on and on -- all bring it, while Southern stalwarts like Trillville, Eightball & MJG, Ying Yang Twins, and Gangsta Boo -- whose brash vocals are slowed down eerily, screwed-and-chopped style -- sound especially triumphant, proud to be with the South's greatest chart-topper. Running 75 minutes long and with too many highlights to mention, the worst thing you can say about Crunk Juice is that it's overwhelming. Funny skits from Chris Rock and E-40 tie it all together if you can stand over an hour of crunk pummeling, but Crunk Juice is best taken in two or three glorious listens. That's a lot of top-notch crunk, and more than enough to justify Lil Jon's "King of Crunk" title.
Crunk Juice Review
by David Jeffries