"Dead Crunk" was released in 1998 and was the debut solo album from the DJ and producer DJ Smurf (who would later go on to be known as both Beat-N-Azz and Mr. Collipark as he moved onto producing for the likes of Soulja Boy, the Ying Yang Twins and Hurricane Chris with his Crunk and Snap Music to define the sound of Atlanta's Hip Hop scene. However this one, which dropped in the late nineties comes before all this was popular and before there were really any Hip Hop acts with proper exposure (as it was still a good year or two before Ludacris, OutKast and Trick Daddy really got into the mainstream's attention. This album is all about Smurf on the beats, with guests such as the Ying Yang twins, Luda and Lil' Jon.
1. "It's Ya Boyz"
Sampling Afrika Bambaataa's "Looking For The Perfect Beat", you see that we get a perfect start to the release as he comes to work with DJ Kizzy Rock and you find that together they carry through all the spirit of 2 Live Crew's material from ten year prior to this point and come with a tune that uses the Miami Bass style and borrows from the live-feeling atmosphere with the fly, chanting lyrics over the top.
2. "One On One"
You get much more familiar talent working with him on this one as the Ying Yang Twins step up to do their thing alongside him, and you see that with much stronger lyricists on his side, he is able to make for a tune that maintains the same quality level, if it hadn't just topped it. Here you get more of the high-energy stuff that I can't really see any major flaws in and so it means that he was able to keep me in from this point.
3. "Stop Trippin'"
You see that he takes things in a new direction with this one by lowering the pace significantly in order to give a better range of what he is capable of, and in this case to give for a Crunk atmosphere as you see that Lil' Jon comes through with some buck chants before Ludacris (who had just made the transition from a radio DJ) comes to show just how strong his rhymes are (to the point where I doesn't sound far from where he is currently at).
4. "We Hollin' Playa"
I can't say that I was familiar with who came to bring the raps on this one as June Dog and Da Organization take on this role in the thing and do a fair job with it (although you don't really need too high a standard when dealing with such hyped beats. You see that Smurf experiments by coming with a bit of a dark one with the standard Miami Booty Bass beats backing him up along the way as the rappers do some Gangsta Rap.
5. "Girls" (Southside Mix)
DJ Taz stands by the beatmaker as you see that with this one he takes things right back to the late eighties with this kind of Miami Bass material (that gained much controversy for its mandatory explicit lyrics). It is a freaky jam and one that brings back the sort of energy that the album began with to bring it right back up to where things should be for him. I can be said to get repetitive, but I was really into it.
6. "Ride On, Bounce Wit It"
This tune, one that features quite a few changes in pace is one that I felt had many more similarities to what the Crunk scene would become by around 2003/2004 (in its peaking years) where the beats are concerned and just how fresh they sound. Much of this concentrates around Smurf's DJing skills and he ensures that you can't say that there are anything other than the best you can expect to get around.
7. "Thug H**s" (Lude)
8. "Pop That Thang Girl" (Remix)
After having a look at the girls who aren't into the who Booty Bass material (and oppose it as 'thugs') you see that we are thrown right into another fresh tune that takes you right into the club atmosphere that you would want to get out of a DJ Smurf cut. It feels like a live event and it supports the way that things had been going since Miami Bounce emerged in the mid-eighties off the Electro-Hop style.
9. "And You Know This"
Gangsta Trick and Top come to lend a hand with this one as you find that in it the pace alters for some of the type of Dirty South material that sounds much more conventional where it is all about the Hardcore Gangsta Rap that takes heavily from the West Coast style (although it does so without any clear G-Funk). It is one that needs time to get into, but one I wouldn't say is particularly weak on the record.
10. "Shake H**s"
He doesn't give the listeners long to calm down as he returns back to the lively stuff with this one and returns back to the roots in Booty bass by sampling Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force's "Planet Rock" and so by taking it right back to some classic Electro-Hop he shows that he knows that you can only take things forward by looking back to how people have innovated in the past and taken over the game.
11. "Girls" (Sophisticated Mix)
Here you get an interesting remix to an earlier track on the album and you see that here you get what is considered to be a 'sophisticated mix', by incorporating the melody of "If I Ever Fall in love Again" into the chorus to mix things up again on top of a raw Booty Bass jam. It is an effective one, but one that is easy for some to be put off by due to it massive shifts in direction from one point to another.
12. "Put A Hump In Ya Back"
Sampling "A Dream" from DeBarge (which was used in BLACKstreet's "Don't Leave Me" and 2Pac's "Keep Your Head Up") you find that you get a tune that sounds a right mess, but I have to say that I really liked it even though he clearly forced the synth to work as he keeps to the raw freaky Bass beats that mean you have to concentrate on each side of things individually on to get their full effect.
The rapper who goes by the name of Pop is seen to accompany him on the final track here as you see that Smurf comes out with another tune that takes one beats that seem to fit in much more with the 2004/2005 style (although with contemporary equipment). It is one that winds things down gently, and I felt that it was a nice way to close things off and it seems like a better choice than having more lively work,
This is a pretty big album from DJ Smurf and you see that although he may not quite have the sound perfected yet, he is clearly on the way to doing so. There's lots to like about this album and certainly if you like your Booty Bass then you won't have any problems with what you get from it (although a couple of them aren't quite what you'll want to hear).
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 It's Ya Boyz - DJ Smurf, Kizzy Rock
2 One on One - D-Roc, DJ Smurf, Billy Western
3 Stop Trippin' - DJ Smurf, East Side Boyz, Lil Jon, Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, , , Ludacris, Daddy T
4 We Hollin' Playa - DJ Smurf, Da Organization, June Dog
5 Girls [Southside Mix] - DJ Smurf, DJ Taz
6 Ride on Out, Bounce With It - DJ Smurf
7 Thug Hoes - DJ Kizzy Rock, DJ Smurf, June Dog
8 Pop That Thang Girl [Remix] - DJ Kizzy Rock, DJ Smurf
9 And You Know This - DJ Smurf, Gansta Trick, Top
10 Shake Hoes - DJ Smurf
11 Girls [Sophisticated Mix] - DJ Kizzy Rock, DJ Smurf, DJ Taz, June Dog
12 Put a Hump in Ya Back (And Lift Ya Rump) - DJ Smurf, Kid Money
13 Flaw - DJ Smurf, Pop, The Pop