Earlier this week Atlanta crunk group Crime Mob announced that they would be releasing their third studio album later this year—the first project they've put on in over ten years. The reveal came in an interview with Big Tigger after they performed at Atlanta's V-103 Live concert. What most people know the group for is their 2004 single "Knuck If You Buck," which has outlasted their moment in the spotlight by more than a decade. Last year the song was resurrected beyond imagination when Zay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall used the beat for the viral hit "Juju On That Beat.""I didn't like it until we started getting them checks," group member Diamond said of the track to Big Tigger.
When most publications started to pick up on news of the forthcoming album, Rap Twitter exploded, as it often does to hype up new music. I found myself getting ready to join in on the anticipation of the album when I quickly remembered that their first album didn't stick out to me when it dropped in 2004, barring the singles "Knuck If You Buck" and "Stilettos (Pumps)." I forgot they had a second album (Hated on Mostly). I had to Google the group to even remember the members' names outside of Diamond and Princess; they are Lil' J, M.I.G. and Cyco Black. So the rest of the Noisey team put me to the challenge to revisit the group's 12-track debut and to see if the timeline was being fake stans due to one smash hit or if there was actually something to be excited about. What follows is my track-by-track reaction to listening to the album for the first time in about 12 years:
"Crunk Inc.": I forgot how fire the intro was omfgfgfffmfmffhddbdhdbd
"Knuck If You Buck": It's crazy how much louder this song is compared to the intro. I'd be interested in seeing a scientific study on how this song has not been wack for one second after it was released. There must be some hypnotizing property of one of these chords.
DIAMOND! "I come in the club shaking my dreads." I don't know if white people are aware of this but the prominence of their air guitar doesn't come close to the ubiquitous joy that me and other black teenagers felt when we did our air dread shake when this dropped. I don't remember a time in history where I saw so many people shaking their heads this rapidly. I wanted to grow dreads for the sole purpose of having real dreads when Diamond's verse came on. If I could just regrow them for when I listened to this song that would've been fine. I remember being in love with Diamond and then those crazy rumors started spreading about her getting shot in the head and dying. Thank god that was a rumor.
"If You Got Ana": I do remember this being one of my favorites off the album. I don't care for the verses too heavy but it's interesting to revisit it because I'm picking up on some very Migo-esque flows on here. Also, those somber ass keys make this feel like a crunk version of Three 6 Mafia's "Late Night Tip"—an automatic win in my book.
"I'll Beat Yo Azz": Now I wanna fight. "Back back my nigga and give me 50 feet." OMG Lil' J killed this. His likeness to Takeoff is uncanny. Their voices are damn near identical. The flow isn't even that far off. Princess closed this off crazy too.
"Fuck Nigga": More than any song on the album so far, this is right out of the Three 6 Mafia book.
"Stilletos (Pumps)": For obvious reasons, "Knuck If You Buck" is stamped in history as Crime Mob's lone iconic song but I'd argue that "Stilletos," at the very least, is a hood classic. It's for sure the second best song on this album and one that was an instant hit when this first dropped too.
"Ain't No Joke": I could hear The Pack on this beat back in the day. Oh damn, well until the beat actually dropped. Nevermind on that. Everybody's flow is tight on here. One thing I do notice is that Diamond and Princess are consistently the most dynamic.
"If You Gonna Try Me": This one is the most skippable track so far. It's either that or me sitting still in an extremely relaxed environment is keeping me from fully appreciating it. If this came on in the club, I'd probably get hype.
"Ellenwood Area": I remember this being my favorite off the album barring the singles and it still checks out. Lil' J is eating this first verse. The beat is dark and a bit creepy. I'm 100 percent behind people screaming out their hood in unison; songs that have that are never not good. Just like it did back in '04, it's driving me to look up the neighborhood to get a true feel for what I'm listening to. That's one of my markers for an effective song: making me want to physically experience it.
"Put Yo Hands Up": This song is cool but it's starting to blend in with what I've already heard.
"Diggin Me": I don't even remember this song but whoa, this is amazing. I was already in from the way the beat breaks down because the tempo and drums feel a lot like club music. But what I'm also enjoying about this song is that, in content, it's different from everything else on this project. Just about every song on here except for "Stilettos" is about beating the shit out of people in the club. That's not a complaint. But this song is showing some vulnerability and expressing heartbreak. I'll definitely be adding this to my rotation.
"Black Market Bonus": I'm not feeling this one at all. I would say next but it's the last song so, yeah.
After reuniting with this full album for the first time since my early teens, my tweet from yesterday still stands. Referring to the bulk of the album as "duds" may be a bit of hyperbole but that was before I actually re-listened. I can honestly say that I probably won't be running this back in full any time soon. Rap twitter is once again guilty of gassing breaking news up beyond necessary extremes. It's fine to admit it, most people have no clue who the members of Crime Mob are and besides "Knuck If You Buck" and "Stilletos (Pumps)" the group has no songs that have withstood the test of time. I'm glad Twitter gave me a reason to listen again, though. But I'm still not excited about the new album.
Photo: Screengrab from interview with Big Tigger via Youtube.
Follow Lawrence Burney on Twitter.