Michael Endelman
December 12, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

DEFINITION According to scene leader Lil Jon, crunk is ”high-energy rap music that makes people lose control and have a ball in the club.” Crunk is both a verb and a noun; the music is characterized by bone-rattling beats and throat-scarring chants designed to make you get…crunk.

HISTORY Crunk sprouts from the woofer-blowing party music that’s been popular down south since the ’80s. Consider it the mutant offspring of Miami bass, ”Whoomp! (There It Is),” and a college pep rally.

KEY PLAYERS Atlanta, crunk’s epicenter, is home to top dogs Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, along with the goofy Ying Yang Twins and the thoroughly sacrilegious Pastor Troy.

ESSENTIAL ALBUMS The just-released comp ”Crunk and Disorderly” (TVT), featuring entries from all of the big names, provides a solid overview. With over a million copies sold, Lil Jon’s ”Kings of Crunk” (2002) lives up to its moniker, while the Ying Yang Twins’ latest, ”Me & My Brother,” brings some light-hearted humor to the sound. For a little more, er, depth, try David Banner’s ”Mississippi: The Album” (2003), which mixes bluesy social consciousness into its roof-raising club jams.

NECESSARY ACCESSORY A supersized jewel-encrusted pimp chalice filled with ”crunk juice” — an eye-opening mix of Hennessey and Red Bull.

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