A few months back, we got excited when we heard that TVT Records, giddy over its success in 2003 with Atlanta artists Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz and Ying Yang Twins, was preparing a "crunk" Christmas album. Such a collection would be a proper way to celebrate the label's de facto rule over the so-called Dirty South's official genre, a drunken hybrid of booming Miami bass and hard-core gangster rap. So it was a great disappointment to see the finished product, because somewhere along the way the theme was all but abandoned.
While it's nice that TVT managed to cull most of crunk's hit-makers from this past year, there are only four Christmas-related songs here. Bone Crusher's lighthearted "Guess Who's Comin to Town" brings Santa to the 'hood for a jolly celebration, and Killer Mike's "A Christmas Grind" finds the MC exploring the mind state of someone whom the season forgot. But those tracks, along with Ying Yang Twins' "Ho! Ho!" and David Banner's "It's Christmas Time (Jingle Bells)," have all been sandwiched together at the end of the disc, making the holiday slant seem more like an afterthought.
A pleasant surprise, however, is that some of the best cuts come from females, a group not particularly known for ruling crunk. Chyna White's blistering, foulmouthed "What They Want" lays it down with twice the aggression of her male peers, while Trina (collaborating here with Deuce Poppi) brings perhaps the only element of sexiness to the proceedings as she purrs on "Get Loose." Unfortunately, though, these songs are not enough to save the record.
Maybe next year TVT will decide to do it properly and release a more holiday-oriented collection (assuming "crunk" isn't an unfashionable, dirty word by then). If this happens, here are some suggestions for songs we would like to hear get crunkdafied: "The Christmas Song (Big Buds Roasting on an Open Fire)," "O Little Town of Atlanta," and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (She's a Ho)."
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