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Lil Jon shifts from crunk to 'world music'

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NEW YORK —  Lil Jon is known for crunk music, but he's hoping his upcoming album will show that he has a broader appeal.

"It's not just music for the United States: It's world music," Lil Jon said of his new sound in an interview. "I'm touching so many different kinds of people on this album as well as keeping my core fan base at the same time."

The producer and rapper, best known for hits like "Get Low," Usher's "Yeah" and Ciara's "Goodies," is working on a new album following his release from his longtime label, TVT Records. TVT filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and its assets were purchased by the digital entertainment company The Orchard.

The working title of the CD was "Crunk Rock," but Lil Jon says he's thinking of changing the title to reflect the album's new direction _ and his new freedom.

"It's totally given me a new energey, a new everything," he said of his release. "When you have a lot of stress and negativity around you, when you cut that away, you cleanse. ... I'm starting over, basically."

And Lil Jon, 37, says he's looking to incorporate different musical styles in his synth-rap sound, working with dance acts, soca musicians, rock stars and more.

"I want people to say it's breath of fresh air from everything that's out there," he says. "It's still going to be me and what they know me for, but it's still going to be newer."

But Lil Jon is still searching for a new label to release his record. While he says he was open exploring different ways to get his music out _ even a Radiohead-type deal in which he would put his music out on the Internet for a pay-what-you-wish system _ he's more interested in a bigger label.

"With my fan base being broader and larger now, I'm looking to somewhere where somebody can really take advantage of that and take it to the next level."


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