About five years ago, Lil Jon had a rocking vision for his next album, "Crunk Rock." The disc is still called that - but don't expect to hear endless electric guitar riffs over thumping drums.
Jon says the new album, which is out now, went through many phases. Instead of producing the album himself, he recruited the likes of David Guetta, Stephen Marley, Drumma Boy and Dr. Luke. That added a new sound to the CD - including Euro-flavored dance grooves and what he calls "Bolly-funk."
You usually produce your own albums, so was it hard to have some of that control in another's hands?
It was kind of way easier, because everybody I worked with knew my music and knew my production and they gave me a lot of respect. And we just kind of collaborated until we both got what we liked.
We all grew up on rock music. In the '80s, I remember the radio stations would play everything from rock to rap. And even if you go back to Run DMC, they said, "I'm the king of rock" because rock was the hard-core stuff. When you put the guitars on your music it makes it a little bit more harder [and] I think that's part of it. And then we all wanted to be rock stars in the early days. We wanted to be rap stars, but the rock stars had the crazy lifestyle. And for me, it was the energy of rock music. I grew up on punk music, too. I was into The Ramones, Bad Brains, all of that, when I was in high school.
Do you see more dance and hip-hop collaborations in the future?
I think that's the future of music right now - DJs like Guetta and Tiesto collaborating with hip-hop artists, basically starting a new form of music. . . . Right now, house music is the biggest. If you go to a club that plays everything, that's what's going to take the club over the top. And I see a lot more collaborations with the dance guys and the hip-hop guys. Right now, with all the problems in the world, people want to party, people want to feel good.
There are more and more music stars doing reality TV. Would you consider doing a show?
I hate reality shows. It's funny because me and my wife be arguing all the time about reality shows 'cause she loves reality shows and watches them all day, all the time. And I be like, "C'mon. No. No." To me, I don't want people in my life like that.
What are her favorite shows?
She's watching "Basketball Wives" right now. And all of "The Real Housewives of" wherever the hell, she's watching all of [that].
If Bravo asked her to join the "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," would you be down?
No. No. Somebody approached her years ago about that, and she was entertaining it. And I kind of explained to her, "Once you get on this show, you're not going to be able to go nowhere without people not recognizing you. And then the most important thing with those shows is the Internet has strong opinions about the characters, and if you can't take criticism or you can't take people talking about you, you really don't want to get on them shows because women are harsh critics on women." . . . So she weighed in her own options and she decided not to do it.