By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
By Steve Weinstein
BONE CRUSHER FEATURING COTTON MOUTH
"The Fat Man Stomp" So So Def
In 1949, 200-pound New Orleans pianist Fats Domino released "The Fat Man," which some people call the first rock 'n' roll record ever; it featured his mouth making guitar wah-wah noises. Fifty-four years later, a song with a similar title by 380-pound Atlanta rapper Bone Crusher contains vocal wah-wah sounds as well. And in the great whomping overweight onomatopoeic tradition that the Fat Boys, Heavy D, and Chubb Rock inherited from Fats, these wah-wahs audibly wobble, all over the floor. Or at least back and forth: "You go left to right, left to right, left to right." Easiest dance steps ever! Bone even says it's OK to step on shoes, like a crazy fool. And "stomp" rhymes with "cronk."
Raw & Uncut
Hot Boy Tab Virgil's Crescent City roots run even deeper, seeing how he's from the Magnolia Projects. Which is to say the opening cut's horns strut with some barbecue. After that, backing tracks go Jamaican dancehall, Asian flute, soap-opera piano, over-the-top gabba techno, and acoustic guitar blues. Which is to say par-for-the-course crunk. "Penitentiary Chances," a ridiculously cute and deliriously happy singsonged and nursery-chimed rhyme about living dangerously, could perk up any windup music box. Turk's obligatory sub-Snoop mack-and-pimp posturing couldn't, maybe, but when he turns paranoid about plea-copping snitches or turns hustling for 8,670 hours into a math quiz or turns blue about everything he's tired of or turns bluer about going cold turkey, you might not mind. Plus, the duet where Bubba Sparxxx ponders how penises affect female facial expressions has Turk calling himself "a dog like Blue's Clues," but so's his mom! "You my girl, you my dog, you my best friend," he tells her in "I Love U for Dat," about how overprotective she was. On his last CD, he thanked Mama in a heartbreaker called "Growing Up." But this one seems even sadder.
CRUNK AND DISORDERLY
Most important news is that tracks 11 through 14, linked by poverty as well as good cheer, are the best Christmas music in years. Bone Crusher cooks up a jolly old wallop featuring collard greens and cornmeal, the irrepressible Ying Yang Twins request weed and a 12-pack, David Banner ill-advisedly approves of unemployed folks robbing so they can eat, and the latter two, especially, make an eggnog party out of 19th-century midnight-mass cathedral-belfry tidings of comfort and joy like no goth music you've heard: Sinterklaas, go straight to the ghetto. In fact, the disc's truest common denominator is neither gang chants nor thuggery so much as a minimalist Teutonic electro also getting weirdly ominous, obsessive, spare, and sci-fi in the Lil Jon, Three 6 Mafia, and Youngbloodz tracks. As bonuses, Trina's unabashed sex-drawl strikes a blow for Southern girls sippin' Malibu punch, Big Boi has trouble keeping up, and Pit Bull puts 24s on his truck. Hence, my fearless crunk prediction for 2004: 25-inch rims!