Top Ten Songs by Lil Jon

Ahhhh Lil Jon. Producer, rapper, certified hype man. A hyper concoction of dreadlocks and platinum teeth, pimp cups and random exclamations shouted at regular intervals, with a penchant for making hits. Or, as he likes to call himself, the King of Crunk.

While some people consider Lil Jon completely over-the-top and annoying, one thing’s clear: He knows how to make hits. He’s created countless smash singles not just for himself, but for a variety of other artists as well, because somehow, amidst all the scream-growling and incoherence, he has an almost uncanny understanding of exactly what sounds make people want to move. He’s taken abrasive, exaggerated ridiculousness and channeled into a high-energy brand of music that dominates the dance floor and bumps out of car speakers everywhere.

Even his gratuitous use of “What???” “Okaay!!!!” and “Yeeah!!!!” seems to make sense, and better yet, be a necessary part of his songs, despite the fact that the words mean absolutely nothing.

My Top Ten list for Lil Jon includes songs he’s made for himself as well as other artists, in no particular order:

Snap Yo Fingers

This is Lil Jon’s latest single, off his upcoming solo release “Crunk Rock.” It features Sean Paul of YoungBloodz and E-40 and it’s classic Jon synths and triangle, slightly tweaked to capitalize on the recent popularity of “snap music.” Very popular in the club, and rightfully so – it’s fun to dance to.

Yeah!

One of Jon’s favorite sayings, and it turned out to be one of his biggest hits, or at least one of the biggest hits he helped to create. Technically it’s Usher’s song, but it’s Lil Jon’s beat, and it has his stamp all over it, with plenty of growls and spastic shouts in between Usher’s crooning. Rapper Ludacris also provides a verse on this song, and the chemistry between the three Atlanta natives turned out to be explosive. The song climbed to #1 and is still popular in the clubs after two years.

Salt Shaker

This song is hilarious. Mostly because it’s based on a pretty pathetic analogy – “shake it like a salt shaker” – and still manages to be catchy as hell. This is technically a Ying Yang Twins song that Jon did the beat for, but again his stamp is all over it. Besides Jon’s signature yelling, the song would be a heap of stinking you know what without the bloated, elastic sounds of the beat. It’s totally irresistable in the club – as it turns out, you do, in fact, want to shake it like a salt shaker when you hear this song. Another hit for Jon, as this rose to #2 on the rap charts.

Lean Back (Remix)

The remix of Fat Joe’s monster hit features Mase and Eminem as well as production and rapping by Lil Jon. We can forgive the Mase apperance just because the beat is so good. Lil Jon basically took the hottest song of 2004 and made it better. He has a way of doing that.

Real Gangstaz

This is a song off Mobb Deep’s “Amerikaz Nightmare” and it might be Lil Jon’s best beat ever. Simply sinister, it blends perfectly with Mobb Deep’s morose, menacing lyricism, and surprisingly, Lil Jon’s outbursts and pseudo-raps work.

Goodies

An unbelievably infectious song, “Goodies” is Lil Jon at his pop/R&B production best. A pop and lock beat with an edge, it’s the perfect fit for singer Ciara with a rap verse by Petey Pablo. Lil Jon makes minimal vocal appearances on this one. Definitely a song you want to hear at the club.

Whats Happnin!

This is the kind of song that just makes you want to go out and run ten miles or get in the boxing ring and punch anything in sight, the kind of song that should be on the soundtrack of any and every workout mixtape. It’s another Ying Yang twins joint produced by Lil Jon with his signature screaming. The lyrics are largely incoherent and mostly irrelevant. The beat is the key here. Another club banger. Wait. They’re all club bangers. This song also features Trick Daddy.

No Problem

This is a Lil Scrappy song with Jon on typical production/screaming duties. With an ominous beat that seems to take a page out of the theme song to the movie “Halloween,” it’s not quite a club banger, but something you want to listen to before you prepare to destory the opposing team before a big game. Interestingly, Lil Jon saying “hey” on the off-beat is a staple part of the song. The whole song. And still it works.

Okay

A light, bouncy number that has Lil Jon written all over it, yet is unlike most of his previous work. Kind of like diet Lil Jon. The song is by Nivea, and to date this has been her only real hit. Signature Jon interjections are a welcome part of the song, strangely enough.

Get Low

I had to save the best for last. This is the ultimate club song. If you ever want to get someone moving, just play this song. It’s Lil Jon with his group, The Eastside Boyz, also featuring the Ying Yang Twins, and it’s four minutes of pure lyrical ridiculousness. “To the window, to the walls! ‘Til sweat drops down my balls! ” And so on. But it doesn’t matter, because when you’re in the club, it all makes sense.

And no I didn’t forget “Lovers and Friends,” I just can’t stand that song.

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