It’s been almost two years since six rowdy teenagers from Ellenwood, Georgia first exploded on tational music scene with there thunderous tunes “Knuck if You Buck.” Like an uncontrollable wildfire the song blazed its way through the underground and literally became one of the hottest songs in the country. Their subsequent self-titled debut drew rave reviews from various critics from both hip-hop and mainstream press – the album is pure adrenaline on wax. The New York Times called their music “addictive” noting that it had their gritty and aggressive sound evoked “the gleeful mayhem of an out-of-control classroom.” If Lil Jon is considered the King of Crunk and Lil Scrappy the Crown Prince of Crunk then consider Crime Mob the Grand Dukes and Duchesses of Crunk music -the young Turks, reppin’ the next generation of Southern hip-hop.
Crime Mob’s musical tale has its roots deep in the streets of Ellenwood, a small suburb outside of Atlanta. “We came up in the same area,” says Cyco Black. “We all went to the same school, that’s how we hit it off really.” When the crew was in their early teens the guys got involved in a little more than their fair share of mischief. Back then they called themselves Crime Mob and were known for being a rowdy bunch. But it was their love of music that brought the six together over a homemade studio where they would develop a style that eventually led them to fame and fortune. “The name [Crime Mob] was made up a long time ago,” says Princess. “We still hold [onto] that name because it’s a part of our history, it’s a reminder of where we came from, but we’ve turned it into a positive thing.”
Soon the group started hitting the streets with their underground CDs, doing countless shows around the City of Atlanta. After a while Crime Mob earned a reputation for putting on exciting shows. One of the highlights of that show was their performance of the underground song, “Knuck if You Buck” – it caused sheer pandemonium. Whenever the beat dropped and the crew started chanting the hook, the clubs would go crazy. Impressed with their talent and performance skills, BME recording artist Lil Scrappy invited them to open up a few shows for him. Little did the group know that it would alter their lives forever. Scrappy had arranged for Lil Jon and BME executives to be at one of the shows and they were thoroughly impressed with what they saw. “Lil Jon and the rest of BME were in the club,” recalls Princess. “When we performed the song the crowd already knew it. So, that sparked their attention.” BME and Crime Mob inked a deal and immediately went into the studio to record. Two weeks later Crime Mob’s self-titled debut was ready. Fueled by the blazing hit single “Knuck if You Buck,” (the second single to reach platinum status in ringtones), Crime Mob’s debut album peaked at number five on the Billboard charts and sold well over four hundred thousand units with little promotions.
Now, just when you thought that it was safe to go to the clubs or turn on your radio and enjoy a nice quiet crime free evening, Cyco Black (20), Diamond (18), Lil Jay (20), Princess (19), MIG (19) and Killa C (20) return with their long-awaited sophomore album entitled Hated On Mostly, an album that features more of the chart-topping, head-busting music for you to rock yo hips and swing them bows to.
According to the group, Hated On Mostly not only represents the next plateau for the group artistically speaking, but it also serves as a big fat smack in the face of the crew’s haters and distracters who were waiting on Crime Mob’s downfall. This record says emphatically that it isn’t gonna happen.
“You know we were young when the first album came out,” explains MIG. “We were still in [high] school and there were haters.”
“A lotta people underestimated us,” adds Diamond. “But people all over the world, white folks, Black folks, green folks still love our music. People didn’t think that Crime Mob would really make it this far.”
Produced by Lil Jay, Killa C, MIG, Dirty Doc Jam and the Omp Camp, Hated On Mostly represents a creative milestone in Crime Mob’s artistic career and shakes the dreaded sophomore jinx like a junkie going cold turkey. The main thing that separates Hated On Mostly from the Crime Mob LP can be summed up in one word – maturity. Instead of saturating the album with the tried and true theme of I’ll-beat-yo-ass, the sextet also explore a softer side. For example, one need listen no further than the group’s lead single, “Rock Yo Hips,” featuring label mate, Lil Scrappy. “Rock Yo Hips” is a club-friendly ode to the rotating movement of the female posterior. The hypnotic track is built around a snap-styled beat with a booming bass drum and catchy flute riff. “Rock Yo Hips” leans more toward crunk n’ b than the head busting adrenaline filled beats that Crime Mob is known for.
“Don’t Need Ya,” is a joint that lyrically pits the ladies against the fellas in a mock lovers spat. “Princess came up with that one,” explains Diamond. She just was like on some kinda angry 3-6 type of stuff. Let the females go against the males. We spoke for the ladies and the guys spoke from the male point of view. That record is crazy. We had a good time doing that one.” “Don’t Need Ya” chops up a classic sample of Bobby Womack’s hit “If You Think You’re Lonely Now,” into a sweet melodic track that forms the perfect sonic juxtaposition to Crime Mob’s aggressive flow and combative lyrics.
Another song that stands out on Hated On Mostly is “Circles,” a haunting song about the painful agony of being in a dysfunctional relationship. Using a sample from the classic Luther Vandross song “Going in Circles,” the smooth out R&B-tinged song is bound to be one of the biggest tracks on the album and no doubt will take Crime Mob to the next plateau of success. “We really wanted to put it on our album to try something different,” says MIG. “Dirty Doc Jam brought us the track with the sample already in it and we really liked it. So we just sparked it up right there.”
But don’t let these smoothed out tracks fool you. In no way has the Mob gone soft. Rest assured that there are plenty of trunk-rattling, angst filled bow-throwing club anthems like the rowdy “Who You Be,” the badass jam “2nd Look,” and the menacing title-tune to keep die hard crunk fans more than satisfied.