Lil Scrappy and Trillville
The King of Crunk & BME Recordings Present…
hile it may be anathema to each group (although it’s little discussed in the content of the tracks) in terms of getting as many royalties as they would otherwise, this release that introduces Lil’ Scrappy and Trillville to the major label world is both sound marketing decision and fantastic product for music fan. Forcing each artist to cut the fat, both of ATL’s crunkest only get twenty tracks between the two of them to display their wares and prove their worth.
The disc was reportedly produced in two different versions, with each group corralling the lead spot in one. For our purposes here, we’ll begin with Lil’ Scrappy. The first major song on the disc is “What the F***” , which is a typical Lil’ Jon stomp utilizing a “No Diggity”-esque female humming beautifully in the background amid Lil’ Scrappy’s exhortations to try to understand what, indeed, is going on. His concerns are far from Marvin Gaye, but no less vitally important or urgent when taking into account his vocals and the insistent production. Following this up is the irrepressible “Head Bussa”, which will probably go down as the album’s most successful and enduring single. The subject matter apparent, Lil’ Scrappy’s flow here is of interest, proving himself entirely capable of working different ways around the same beat with ease. “No Problem”, however, is the lyrical highlight of Scrappy’s half—weaving a half-hearted siren and a repeating piano sample and canned “hey’s”, it’s a tour de force for Scrappy to switch up his flow and show off a little bit. He takes full advantage of the opportunity. The final mind-bending piece that deserves mention here is the psychedelic production of “F.I.L.A” —ostensibly both shoe commercial and love letter to Atlanta (Forever I Love…). The chorus is ridiculously compacted, forcing Scrappy to rush the words in the style of a dancehall MC, but it can easily be ignored in favor of the truly insane sonics that Lil’ Jon employs here. Anyone that argues that crunk may be artistically unviable for long-term success can merely look here to realize Jon has more tricks up his sleeve than previously thought.
The Trillville half of the equation starts off with a skit that introduces their now well-known “Neva Eva”. It rivals “Head Bussa” quite admirably in complexity of production and the political idea of “staying on message”. “Weakest Link” continues crunk’s fascination with other forms of popular song and culture—utilizing the popular TV show’s memorable catchphrase throughout the track. It doesn’t exactly work very well and is perhaps hampered by its continual repetition throughout the song. Already awkwardly placed, it reaches epic proportions by the end. Despite this, the production endures throughout, once again amazing the listener in its complexity. Listen intently for what sounds like a digital violin at the beginning of selected lines. “Bitch Niggaz” and “The Hood” utilize the pan flute equally, celebrating one of the best revivals that Lil’ Jon has instituted in Hip-Hop. Overall, however, Trillville’s side of the disc is decidedly weaker than Lil’ Scrappy’s, due to some lackluster production on the non-Lil’ Jon tracks and a lack of distinctive personalities. While Scrappy has the benefit of rapping alone, the trio is forced to carve out their particular niches in ten tracks, a few of which are taken up to skits. This, in any situation, would be nigh on impossible, but the group does a particularly poor job of doing anything to help.
In the end, the inevitable question that arises, of course, is who buys this release and why? Are there more Trillville fans than Lil’ Scrappy fans? Who deserves a full length release? If crunk endures, as many think it will, these questions and more will become problematic in the long run for major record labels. For now, the answer is easy: cop that disc.