DAR Hip Hop: 11 Pivotal Artists From The Crunk & Snap Eras

By @TrueGodImmortal

Once upon a time, long before the current era of hip hop, the world existed as a place for artists with high energy music  and dances that you could do very simply. That time period lasted about 3 or 4 years total in terms of large popularity, and while it spawned nothing major or too important, it was a significant time in music. While the slight conscious movement of Kanye West, Common, and others were important and the gangsta rap style of 50 Cent, Dipset, D-Block were hugely popular, and legends like Jay-Z and Nas remained who they were, during this period of time, we would see artists from mostly the south take the genre to a new area, starting with the crunk sound that really began in the late 90's and eventually developed more into the 2000s. Shortly after the Crunk, Snap music began its rise and ascension, and in many ways, it was the slightly more mellow evolution of Crunk. The eras intersected somewhat and while K-Rab is said to be one of the pioneers of Snap music, T-Pain made perhaps the best Snap music song ever in "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin)". Neither of their impact really were enough to crown them as centerpieces of the Snap movement, and the same could be said for names like Bone Crusher, David Banner, and Youngbloodz when talking Crunk. These were artists who were successful in the Crunk field, but were not the true centerpieces. Who were the centerpieces of the era? Let's take a look.

*Lil Jon and The Eastside Boyz

-Of course, the most notable face and name of the era was Lil Jon, but his run as the Crunk master began mostly with his crew in tow. With Big Sam and Lil' Bo next to him, Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz would capture the ears of a million listeners and then some. In 1997, they would debut, gaining attention and minor success with the slept on release "Get Crunk, Who U Wit:  Da Album". In 2000, Jon and the Boyz would end up releasing their breakthrough project "We Still Crunk", before finally hitting the mainstream with the gold selling Put Yo Hood Up in 2001, then followed it up with the 2002 classic Kings Of Crunk before finishing their run off with the mega successful 2004 album Crunk Juice. Lil' Jon was crunk personified and even started his own "drink" based around crunk, along with numerous productions for artists who desired the crunk sound. Without Lil' Jon, this era wouldn't have existed, and wherher you love him or hate him, he is a legend. Period.

*Three 6 Mafia 

-If there was a group that truly embodied the crunk sound and feel, it was Three 6. Their music was energy. Period. Energy was what crunk was built off, and no one gave you more energy than Three 6. Through their numerous albums and tracks, Three 6 could give you something smooth and laid back like "Late Night Tip", or even an anthem like "Sippin On Some Syrup", while also making you reach the highest energy level on "Tear Da Club Up", "Mafia Niggas", and more. Three 6 would be seen as crunk legends, but honestly, their style is one of the most influential in hip hop period, so they don't just get labeled as Crunk, because they were more than just that.

*Lil Scrappy

-So, Lil' Jon would make sure to bring more artists into the fold for his BME Recordings label and one of the most obvious crunk names to speak of for the era. He would debut alongside Trillville and instantly take attention as the songs he would release got bigger and he would drop anthem after anthem such as "Head Bussa", "No Problem", "Diamonds In My Pinky Ring", "F.I.L.A.", and even the "Money In The Bank" track with Young Buck. Scrappy was a crunk legend in reality and he was a pivotal player in the era.

*Pastor Troy

-The Atlanta native is a pioneer in the Georgia scene and the Down South Georgia Boy debuted in 1999 with his anthem "I Declare War" and one of my personal favorites "No Mo' Play In GA". He would be a part of singles with Lil' Jon and The Eastside Boyz, as well as the high energy track with Ludacris "Get Off Me". Pastor Troy is often slept on, but as a crunk ambassador he is one of the most infamous names.

*Ying Yang Twins

-The essential crunk duo besides Lil' Jon that truly defined what crunk was about. They were a prime example of entertaining music, from their album tracks like "ATL Eternally" to the crunk hits like "Get Low" and "Salt Shaker". The crunk hits are what make them so special and they even have a Snap hit in their catalog with the classic "Wait (The Whisper Song)". The Ying Yang Twins are crunk legends and if I were to rank every name here listed, they would be in the top 3 for sure.

*Crime Mob

-I wasn't the biggest fan of this group personally, but they were really important to the crunk era as it was evolving. Without Lil Jon assisting on the hooks or the songs like a number of crunk artists, Crime Mob crafted their own music and stood out, mainly due to their legendary hit "Knuck If You Buck", which is one of the most legendary crunk songs. They would have other high energy songs that gained notoriety like "I'll Beat Yo Azz", "Rock Yo Hips", and "Stilettos (Pumps)". Crime Mob managed to make a name for themselves in the midst of an era that was dominated by Lil' Jon.


-So, with Lil' Jon making his name as a label owner, he needed a group that could really take the crunk feel to the next level and get the energy to the highest power. They would release their first project combined with Scrappy, and it would be a solid crunk album with hits like "Get Some Crunk In Yo System", "Neva Eva", "Bitch Niggaz", and "Some Cut". They were popular for a moment, but nothing materialized after this release, which speaks to the era itself.

*Soulja Boy

-So, I guess Soulja Boy is someone that you have to consider a Snap legend for his music. His style wasn't just snap, but during the Snap era, he would debut with his classic single "Crank Dat", which is still a staple in a number of bars, especially as a throwback. His debut album was essentially a Snap rap project with a little crunk style infused, with tracks like "Soulja Girl", "Donk", and "Yahhh" blurring the lines between Snap and crunk. For that, Soulja has to be a key player in both of those subgenres.

*Yung Joc

-I was hesitant to mention Joc for several reasons. For one, Joc was never really a crunk nor snap rapper, but he had momentum off the Snap inspired style for a few singles early on. After his first album however, he would drift off into a different style, but New Joc City is a mix of trap, snap, and slight crunk music. He gets love here for releasing the top single "It's Goin' Down", which was a major hit and regard as one of the biggest "Snap" rap songs.

*Dem Franchize Boyz

-The crunk and snap intersection was perfect for this group. They were a great blend of both. They had the smoothness for the Snap, but the liveness for the Crunk side. Their first album was more so Crunk than anything, as they would gain notoriety for the hit single "White Tee" and the booming "Oh, I Think They Like Me", but then took it to the next level with the infamous "Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It". Dem Franchize Boyz were actually a staple in music from 2004-2006, giving the masses a few hits.


-The GOAT when it comes to Snap music and that's a fact. This group gave us both Shawty Lo and Fabo, two legends on different sides of the spectrum, so for that, D4L is legendary. They would debut with the hip hop purist's nightmare "Laffy Taffy", which is still a Snap classic and probably the greatest Snap song of all time. Well, it is either that or the infamous "Betcha Can't Do It Like Me", which was another popular D4L song. As crazy as it sounds, even as a diehard hip hop fan, I loved D4L and the energy they brought into music. The crunk and Snap eras were interesting better or worse, but without it, we wouldn't have been blessed with "Tatted Up" or Fabo, so this era was clearly necessary.



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