Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz’s Southern-fried ballad “Lovers & Friends” continues to hang near the top of the charts with help from Usher and Ludacris, but fans looking for something a bit more along the lines of the trio’s high-energy, breakneck anthems only need to check out some of the other tracks on Crunk Juice.
For example, “Don’t F— Wit Me,” Jon’s collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, takes the trio into new territory, mixing their trademark crunk sound with the flash and thrash of rock guitars (see “Lil Jon Bangs Head, Creates ’Crunk-Rock’ “ ). Jon says the song was inspired by Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized.”
“Rick Rubin on that thing was crazy,” Jon said. “First day we came in, he had these loops and samples, and I was like, ’That ain’t hard enough!’ He said, ’All right,’ and pulled out some Slayer stuff. [We] found some samples we liked, put them together and had the track done that day. Next day we came in the studio, and I just had this Suicidal Tendencies song going over and over in my head, [so] I said I’m gonna take that and flip it. We flipped it onto some urban stuff and you got the ’Don’t F— Wit Me’ song.”
While the self-proclaimed king of crunk has made the sound a staple of current pop culture — along with its crunk & B and aforementioned crunk-rock sub-genres — Jon knows that the world may soon grow weary of crunk. Despite that, Jon says he isn’t worried about the trio’s longevity.
“We been making records since ’95 that were hits,” Lil Jon explained. “Every year we had a hit record in the South, and it grew and grew and grew. So, we look at it like that. We had a 10-year run, and realistically we haven’t had a bad album. Every album has gotten better and better as we are learning. I live my life on [the fact that] you can learn something every damn day, so we learning and learning, getting better and better and better.
“We just gonna keep on making good records,” he added. “We stay in the streets, we stay in the clubs. We stay true to the fans, our core fans. I think we’re gonna always be able to make good records. Of course everybody has their time, so that’s another reason we out here working so hard. We’re getting it while we can and we ain’t trying to stop — till we’re dead.”