Lil Jon finishing up album in Miami (AP)


MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Rapper and music producer Lil Jon says completing his long-awaited new album has taken him longer than he thought, but sticking to his ambitious idea of mixing crunk music with rock has always been his driving force.

“We’re pretty much like 80 percent done,” Lil Jon said of “Crunk Rock,” his first solo album, slated to be released by early next year. “It’s probably one of my best albums to date in the sense that it’s got a little bit of everything that I know everybody’s going to groove to.”

The Atlanta-based entertainer, best known for hits like “Get Low” with the Eastside Boyz, has been working on the upcoming album for about five years. His new single, a disco tune, is called “Give It All U Got.”

“I basically got the tracks that I want down, and I just need to make some final touches.” Lil Jon said in an interview at a recording studio.

Lil Jon, whose real name is Jonathan Smith, said focusing on other musical projects and the growing demand of his new wine label would tear him away from the recording process of his new album. But he’s not complaining.

“We won a silver medal in some California wine competition,” he said of Little Jonathan Winery, which distributes its merlots, cabernets and Chardonnays from California and Colorado online. “So, we’re doing pretty good.”

The “Get Low” rapper added that negotiation issues with his longtime label, TVT Records, which filed for bankruptcy in 2008, was probably the toughest thing he had to go through in his musical career.

Lil Jon, 38, said the stress of it all was too much and forced him to eventually take a break from recording all together.

But it wasn’t until Lil Jon found himself recently behind turntables at clubs across the country – a gig he said he mastered before his music career skyrocketed – that he got back on track to finish the album.

“It got me back to my core, and when I started as a DJ, I loved making people dance,” he said. “That’s what I’m getting back to.”

Associated Press Writer

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