Lil Jon is the undisputed king of crunk music, and with his success in producing “Yeah!” for Usher, he’s obviously mastered the genre he calls “Crunk & B.” Jon has even brought crunk to reggae and merengue. So it was only a matter of time before ATL’s hottest beatmaker delved into the universe of headbanging and guitars.
“That’s the next thing: ’crunk-rock’!” Jon declared Tuesday. “The crunk-rock is gonna be over the top. I’m working with Jonathan Davis from Korn, we’re producing a track on [their] new album. I’m also about to get with Rick Rubin to do some rock sh– for my new album [Crunk Juice]. I’m taking it to another level, but I’m not going to stray away from where I started off. I think that’s where artists f— up, when they get bigger and bigger, they stray away too far to the left. I’mma keep doing what I been doing, but also give them a little of this over here.”
The recording session for Korn and the two Jons is scheduled for next week, and Lil Jon will head into the lab with Rubin at the beginning of June.
“When me and Rick Rubin get in the studio it’s going to be crazy, because Rick Rubin is a real big fan of mine and that f—ed me up,” Jon recalled. The two were introduced at a Chris Rock show by a mutual friend and Rubin expressed his fondness for the crunk king.
“After the show, I go back to meet Chris Rock and it wound up being Chris Rock, Rick Rubin, Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers and me,” Jon remembered. If that’s not the oddest combination since Tony Randall moved in with Jack Klugman [on TV], what is?
“Rick was like, ’Your music is what hip-hop used to be,’ ” Jon continued. “I was like, ’Wow, this is Rick Rubin telling me he’s a fan of mine and my sh– is hip-hop.’ He said in a couple of interviews that he had to play a couple of my records to get Slipknot in the right frame of mind [when he was producing their new album] (see “Slipknot: The Ties That Bind”). I’m used to being out here meeting people, but when major, major muthaf—as in the game show me that much respect, I just can’t believe it.”
In addition to Rubin, Lil Jon has already recorded tracks with R. Kelly and Ice Cube for Crunk Juice, and he recently co-produced a track with Timbaland that Jon says is going to be monumental. Usher and Ludacris are also scheduled to perform on the LP.
When he’s not in the studio, Jon is eyeing ways to take his iconic presence to the next level. He has a brand of sunglasses hitting the market soon and two versions of a Lil Jon doll. Everybody say, “Okaaaaayyyy!”
For a full-length feature on Rick Rubin, check out “What’s Up With That Bearded Guy In The ’99 Problems’ Video?”