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Blake Solomon 04/07/08 04:55 PM

Various Artists - Punk Goes Crunk
Various Artists - Punk Goes Crunk
Record Label: Fearless Records
Release Date: April 8, 2008

Few phases in life shaped me more than my stint as a rap protégé. As suburban white kids, it was our duty, nay, our right to create bad beats on stolen computer programs. We were The Chronicle Brothers and we were all the rage. The collective was a clique-spanning wonder. We had computer nerds (DicKtion), we had football players (Baby Boom) and we had choir kids (Hawkeye and Streamline). Most of the raps were about an old lady named Midge Jones and the disgusting things we would do to her. If you had asked me back then, I would’ve definitely said “Inspect My Gadget” was a modern musical wonder. It had a hook that didn’t quit and a real understanding of the game. Now, though, I’m not so sure what we were thinking. Maybe it was a good thing Myspace shut us down for being too profane. (“Metallurgy" is still a club banger, though.) We were young, dumb and blinded by extreme cases of senioritis. So my question to the artists on Punk Goes Crunk is this: What are your excuses?

As I see it, there are two paths to creation on this compilation. There’s the serious route, which Emanuel took by basically recreating the Purple Ribbon All-Stars smash “Kryptonite” to the letter. They added a few gang vocals and a more formidable guitar riff, but not really anything else. Set Your Goals, however, embraced the lunacy of this whole thing and finally figured out what Lil’ Jon has been missing: a verse by Yoda. Which do I prefer? In this case, well, neither. The Yoda thing is funny on paper, but it’s annoying to actually hear over and over. Emanuel will never be durrtyy and they should have switched things up more. Not surprisingly, Max Bemis wins the prize for most interesting version of a song. His take on ODB’s “I Got Your Money” has huge handclaps, a nasty bassline and the hook is still infectious, even when being sung in falsetto by dirty scene dudes. Bemis tailors the lyrics to fit his unique style and this gives the song a standalone quality.

Too many bands on Punk Goes Crunk try to sound like T-Pain in tight pants. The Secret Handshake takes all the dynamics out of Skee-Lo’s delivery by covering the singer’s voice in jumpy electronics. My American Heart does a great job of updating the beat on “California Love” with a fuzzy haze, but the layering and layering and layering of glass-shattering, high-pitch voice modulation makes the song nearly unbearable. However, The Maine’s version of Akon’s “I Wanna Love You” might be the only song to improve on its predecessor. The song has a groovy drum section full of high hat and its lack of gimmicky electronics is a welcomed change. Person L also leaves the effects behind by doing a safe, cover-by-number’s version of The Roots’ “The Seed (2.1).” This song, along with All Time Low’s “Umbrella” cover, suffers from overplay-itis. We’ve heard these tracks a million times before, and with minimal tricks or departures in style, it’s very easy to skip them.

The biggest surprise of the comp is definitely Scary Kids Scaring Kids’ adaptation of the Notorious B.I.G. and Bone Thugz ‘N Harmony opus “Notorious Thugs.” The dark gangsta rap atmosphere is wonderfully recreated, especially in the homage to Biggie’s verse. This must have been a daunting song to tackle, but the obvious care taken here makes the song shine. Sadly, the update of Krayzie’s verse is too goofy, even considering who’s being covered. The “rapper’s” voice is grating to say the least, and when spitting lines like, “Thuggin’ wit me killas / Need us a liter of liquor / But N***** ain’t got shit,” he is less than believable. Even the best song on Punk Goes Crunk has major flaws. Still, this song is an exercise in compromise, something that should have been a higher priority for most of the artists. You can definitely hear SKSK’s presence in the heavy bassline and shouted backing vocals, but the history and, umm, realness of this song is preserved and respected. If only P.Diddy (he co-produced the original), and SKSK for that matter, still had songs like this in them.

There’s more I could say, but most of it would be negative. I’ve whined quite enough. It’s just that the gap between these “punk” stars and the rap artists being covered is, for the most part, too big to ignore. This compilation isn’t going to get pop-punk kids into rap, and I’m sure it will offend more than a few hip-hop aficionados. There should be great amounts of discretion applied when covering songs. If Fearless can’t guarantee quality, it simply shouldn’t be releasing this type of record.

Recommended If You Like: "punk" and/or "rap"

Tracklisting 1. "Put Yo Hood Up" - Set Your Goals (Lil Jon) (4:59)
2. "Got Your Money" - Say Anything (Ol' Dirty Bastard) (4:15)
3. "I Wish" - The Secret Handshake (Skee-Lo) (2:52)
4. "Men in Black" - Forever the Sickest Kids (Will Smith) (3:05)
5. "California Love" - My American Heart (2Pac) (4:16)
6. "I Wanna Love You" - The Maine (Akon) (3:03)
7. "Kryptonite (I'm on It)" - Emanuel (Purple Ribbon All-Stars) (4:30)
8. "The Seed" - Person L (The Roots) (4:22)
9. "Still Fly" - The Devil Wears Prada (Big Tymers) (4:55)
10. "Umbrella" - All Time Low (Rihanna) (3:49)
11. "Notorious Thugs" - Scary Kids Scaring Kids (The Notorious B.I.G.) (7:23)
12. "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang" - The Escape Frame (Dr. Dre) (3:30)
13. "Gin and Juice" - Hot Rod Circuit (Snoop Dogg) (3:44)
14. "Hey Ya!" - Lorene Drive (OutKast) (4:24)
15. "Tennessee" - New Found Glory (Arrested Development) (4:05)

Who's the killa, me or you?www.myspace.com/punkgoescrunk

Blake Solomon 04/07/08 05:00 PM

A few things:

1.) I apologize for the length. There was lots to say.

2.) I am pissed at Forever The Sickest Kids for ruining "Men In Black."

3.) NFG's song is a good closer, but I'm not sure if it's a great cover.

4.) xoxo

billyboatkid 04/07/08 05:03 PM

Great Review. Represented the album perfectly.

liar23 04/07/08 05:13 PM

great review; pretty long though

Shrillex 04/07/08 05:19 PM

all of punk goes are starting to get old and really bad.

Rich Duncan 04/07/08 05:25 PM

No way I would ever listen to this, I have heard a few songs and thought it was awful. Hahah I think the Chronicle Brothers need to make a comeback

smoke4thecaper 04/07/08 06:28 PM

It's sad that only six out of fifteen songs are even worthy of a listen. Some of these bands completely rape these songs, especially FTSK and TSH. I enjoy HRC's cover of Snoop Dogg and I think NFG's cover is good but not very recognizable.

Either way, you spoke the truth and I wish Fearless would give this series up and do something worth listening to the entire way through rather than a pick-and-choose comp.

Julia Conny 04/07/08 07:14 PM

Blake, you never fail to make me laugh. Hahahah.

Oh, and happy birthday!! I forgot to mention that.

allhourcymbals 04/07/08 07:32 PM

Great review, horrible album. Normally I wouldn't read all of a review that long, but after the first few parts, I knew I would agree with most, if not all, of what you had to say.

Blake Solomon 04/07/08 07:59 PM


Originally Posted by liar23 (Post 9113779)
great review; pretty long though

Yeah, sorry about that.

SanePsychotic 04/07/08 08:27 PM

Like everyone else has said, good review but horrid album. It's fun for kicks though.

thatwasamoment 04/07/08 08:55 PM


Originally Posted by Blake Solomon (Post 9115440)
Yeah, sorry about that.

The more content, the better brotha.

JohnnyTruant 04/07/08 09:26 PM

If I would've reviewed this album, a simple "lol" would've sufficed.

StillPickedLast 04/07/08 09:28 PM

can't think of a good punk goes.

Adrian Villagomez 04/07/08 09:59 PM

I didn't expect much from this album.


Originally Posted by StillPickedLast (Post 9116517)
can't think of a good punk goes.

I like some songs on Pop Goes Punk. Or vice-versa.