Ludacris and Three 6 Mafia are among those who join Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz on the Atlanta group's third album, Put Yo Hood Up.
The follow-up to last year's We Still Crunk!! is scheduled to arrive in stores May 22. Ludacris joins Lil Jon, Big Sam and Lil Bo on the ultra-rowdy "Bia Bia," while Three 6 Mafia share the mic with Jon and friends on the ferocious "Move Bitch."
The group's shouted choruses make Jim Carrey's most spastic moments seem serene, yet serve as hooks for bass-heavy, dance-inducing music.
"I try to put an album together where every song on there could be a potential single," said Lil Jon, a seasoned Atlanta DJ who used to work at Jermaine Dupri's So So Def Recordings in the A&R department, where he would help assemble albums. "Coming from an A&R background and being a DJ, I'm hook-oriented like a motherf---er. If the hook ain't hot, we've got to find another hook. Every song has the potential to blow up."
Jon's intent was to appeal to fans of all regions with his group's forthcoming release, which is why he featured New York's Big Kap, Atlanta's Ludacris and Memphis' Three 6 Mafia on the 20-cut collection.
"The album is like gumbo because there's something on there for everybody," he said. "If you're from Miami and you like booty shake, or if you're from New York and you like straight underground hip-hop, we've got something on there for you. Even West Coast, we've got something for them. If you're a woman and you don't like that hard sh--, we've got something on there for you."
But it's "Heads Off," a collaboration with hardcore underground New York favorites M.O.P., that Lil Jon feels will help him crack into the often xenophobic Big Apple hip-hop scene.
"Yeah, people are going to be like, 'Who the f--- are these cats?' because M.O.P. doesn't really rock on other people's sh--," Jon said. "Plus, us being a Southern artist, they're really going to ask what's going on. But it's something that's going to make people check it out to see what it is, especially the purest hip-hop cats. They'll be like, 'Who are these South cats that did a song with M.O.P.?"
Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz released their debut album, Who U With, Get Crunk: Da Album, in 1996. Fans of the album, which introduced the term "crunk" into hip-hop vernacular, included rap pioneer Too $hort, who appears on Put Yo Hood Up's "Bia Bia," "Let My Nuts Go" and "Bia Bia 2."
With such a storied history, it may come as a surprise that Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz don't consider themselves rappers.
"To me, a rapper or an MC is someone who writes all the time and who's got a book full of raps and who freestyles," Lil Jon said. "I don't do none of that. I just want to get the club hype. I'm not trying to be lyrical. We're just having fun with it.
"I'm having a good time watching people going crazy for the records in the clubs," he continued. "That's what makes me happy."