By Spencer Wilking
By Christina Black
By Calum Marsh
By J. Pablo
By Phillip Mlynar
By Jenna Sauers
By Brian McManus
By Elliott Sharp
(So So Def)
An Atlanta-crunk concept album about drinking and driving. Guests: Lil Jon, Killer Mike, Backbone. The twosome has a real circular way with country-fried drawl choruses, the yummiest of which occurs in "Sean Paul," named not for a dancehall superstar but for a Youngblood. "Mud Pit" spins dirty doughnuts; there's a G-funk-like slow and low and upbeat-despite-it-all hot-summer-afternoon windows-down wooze and haze to "My Automobile"; the ode to "tequila my Mexican lover" out-cheeses Tim McGraw's "Señorita Margarita." But the truest love song is the heartwarming title cut, rapped man to man.
YING YANG TWINS
Me & My Brother
Another self-deprecatingly good-natured male-bonding Atlanta-crunk duo starting with "Y"! Guests: Lil Jon, Trick Daddy, Bone Crusher, Killer Mike, Hitman Sammy Sam, Khujo Goodie, and two random women who do the great distaff answer to the great single, which applies "There's a Place in France" and "Shoo Fly" playground hooks to a gender battle in the tradition of the Halos' "Nag" and Cabaret Voltaire's "Nag Nag Nag." Another fun one revolves around a police-siren-pig-sooey squeal that goes "haaangh!!!" Half rapped in a dynamite-fuse-lighting quiver that's been hiding since the Coasters' "Along Came Jones," the rest is mostly Cheech and Chong bitch-baiting, seemingly dashed-off between Grey Goose (tour sponsor, song title) and greeny green. But the extended electro instrumentals that end several songs are beautifully spare.
LIL JON & THE EAST SIDE BOYZ
Kings of Crunk
Still way up high in Billboard after nearly a year, this is the Back in Black of Atlanta crunk, and its unbelievably vocally complex Ying Yang-collab limbo-dance "Get Low" has the best "3-6-9 Goose Drank Wine" playground hook since "Shiny Shiny" by Haysi Fantayzee if not "The Clapping Song" by Shirley Ellis. East Side Boyz concerts regularly inspire moshpits; the group deny being rappers, so they hire guests (too many) whose "real" rapping invariably downshifts the energy level from all the joyously redundant pep-rally stomps "representin' for the home team," the football-bootboy skinhead gang-shouts for gangstas. A sad theme: how they ain't scared, repeated too often to believe. Appropriate: occasional "Maggot Brain" guitar. Missing the point completely: tracks featuring girls.
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