Back/Forth (w/ Joe Hova) | The Crunkest Pioneer

Lil Jon

Back/Forth is just a friendly conversation via email that can happen with anyone about anything at any time… Enjoy today’s featured writers, Joe Hova (of and myself (of, um,, as we give credit to one of the pioneers of music in the early 2000s… Leave a comment if you have anything to add, and be sure to check out his site for more coverage of artists… On to the words…

Eljay – So here’s the thing. Work had me a little on edge the other day, and I decided to binge on Lil’ Jon albums to relieve the stress on the way home. In the midst of me doing 90 (because, Lil’ Jon seemingly makes you drive like a mad man in Birmingham, AL) I actually decided to do something different with the music and listen with a critical ear. It hit me almost immediately that we do NOT give Lil’ Jon enough credit as a producer and as a glue guy for the crazy run that he had that, honestly, is probably one of the main reasons the South kicked in the door for rap in the early 2000’s. I feel like I’m on to something with this, but correct me if I’m wrong, man.

Joe Hova – You’re absolutely right, Lil’ Jon doesn’t get as much credit as he’s owed. He’s one of the reasons the South started taking over the landscape of Hip-Hop. Think about it: Once Jon’s success took off, we had him producing for everybody. Remember that Mobb Deep album with “Got It Twisted” and “Win or Lose”? Yep. Lil’ Jon produced on that. Remember that terrible “Lean Back (remix)”? Yep. Jon was on it. He even produced on Mario’s album when Mario was taking off. AND he gave us plenty of catchphrases thanks to Chappelle’s Show.

Eljay I actually don’t think the “Lean Back” remix was terrible, lowkey. Don’t judge me, lol. Jon had a knack for always pulling someone incredible for a track. On that one, that was Ma$e ad Eminem (and Em was in the pocket with the raps). And he did the same thing with each album, it seems. Kings of Krunk Crunk, he pulled Jadakiss and Styles P. Crunk Juice, he pulled Ice Cube. And almost every extra feature that wasn’t TVT-related were spitting for their life. Jon’s never gotten a wack Bun B verse. Ever.

Joe – EVER! His Bun verses were always on point, especially on “Grand Finale” from Crunk Juice. Can we talk about the greatness of “Throw It Up” while we’re at it? Good LORD that song hits when the bass drops and to add one of the pioneers of crunk in the south with Pastor Troy made great for annoying old white people who pulled up next to me while that was rattling the trunk of my 1995 Mercury Cougar.

Eljay – Bun slipped into a pocket for his last eight bars on “Grand Finale” that’s hard to put into words. Only people that’s mastered the pen can just pull that type of cohesiveness out. AND speaking of PT, I feel like Pastor Troy’s underrated as they come too, but that may be because of his output now (“Vice Versa” is still, in my head one of the top five greatest southern songs ever). Troy and Lil’ Jon did a lot for the culture on that front. It’s always funny to hear people critique Southern, Crunk music. Kind of shows how short-sighted they were to the hooks, because 80% of the verses that Jon had featured were quality joints that most Hip-Hop heads beg for, as far as lyricism and entertainment value.

Still don’t know what Big Sam was doing half the time he rapped, though.

Joe – Yeaaahhhh the Eastside Boyz must have been mad loyal because Big Sam rapped like he was reading that letter General Cornrow Wallace sent from jail on Chappelle’s Show. But back to Pastor Troy, “Vice Versa” a Top 10 song of any genre. We should use the rising “Yeah” adlibs as motivation in the gym every night to push that last set. Jon is definitely a legend and a pioneer in southern Hip-Hop, let alone Hip-Hop overall.

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