Being at the fore of rap's hottest trend comes with perks. Those perks can be found on Crunk Juice, Lil Jon's fifth full-length, which features an A-list roster of rap superstars, including Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Nas and R. Kelly. Lil Jon needs all the help he can get. His party-animal persona is 60 feet tall and falling, but his mike skills are negligible--he chants rowdy choruses that club you over the head, and he screams like he's rap's answer to Sam Kinison. Never is this more evident than on "Lovers and Friends," a gorgeous slow jam that scores with sublime performances from Usher and Ludacris--until Lil Jon pisses all over the vibe. Juice swims in clichés: Song titles include "In Da Club" (50 Cent must be amused) and "Get Crunk" (a tune with the same title appeared on Lil Jon's 1997 debut), and the songs themselves yelp again about topics Jon's been shucking for the duration of his career--booze, chicks, tires and the A-T-L. Now that all the juice has been squeezed from the crunk trend, maybe rap can move on to the next episode. Yea-uh!
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