No slight intended.
After failing to mention Lil Jon in our piece about early 2000s rap last week, we received an animated tweet from the king of crunk himself, reaffirming his importance in any historical discussion of the era. And you know what? He’s absolutely right.
While Lil Wayne, T.I., Young Jeezy, Outkast, Rick Ross and Gucci Mane get props as the MCs who propelled Southern rap to the mainstream, no producer did more to infiltrate the pop charts than Lil Jon. With massive TR-808 kicks, harsh electronic melodies and cavernous sound design, Lil Jon's tracks were everything backpacker fans hated, and the X-rated content they inspired earned him more than a few side-eyes from conscious-minded listeners. Never mind them: Lil Jon's anthems are some of rap's most enduringly fun, and are key documents in Atlanta's transition from just another regional hub to the center of the hip-hop universe.