60-Second Lesson on...Crunk

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.

Originally posted Dec 12, 2003 Published in issue #741 Dec 12, 2003 Order article reprints

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