Crime Mob Biography
For the members of Atlanta-based Crime Mob, music is more than just another hustle. It is an outlet for them to vent and to somehow extricate themselves from the crime and poverty that encircled them. It is a road that has led them away from the danger they had grown so accustomed to and diverted their attention from their daily menacing routines.
“Knuck if you buck boy!” That’s the spirited chant that resonates throughout Crime Mob’s debut single, “Knuck If You Buck,” featuring fellow ATL headbussa Lil Scrappy. It’s a song that, for a group of teenage renegades, aptly sums up their never-scared, in-your-face attitude as well as the attitudes of many of their peers. It also sets the tone for their debut Crunk Inc. self-titled CD, a set loaded with brash, hardcore fight songs that are as crunk as anything to ever come out of the Dirty South.
But for anyone who thinks Crime Mob is merely a posse of unruly teens who kicked and scratched their way into the music industry, they need to look a little closer. Comprised of Princess, 17; Lil Jay, 18; Psycho Black, 18; Killa C, 18; MIG, 17; and Diamond, 16; Crime Mob is an intriguing crop of gifted emcees, producers and songwriters who are as poetic and prolific as they are rowdy and rambunctious.
This is not one of those pre-fab, put-together groups concocted to fit some preconceived industry idealism; the members of Crime Mob go way back. Their friendship didn’t begin in some plush studio or at one of Atlanta’s trendy music spots; it took root on the streets of Ellenwood, a suburb of Atlanta, when the boys were 12 and 13 years old. Says Killa C, “Crime Mob used to be a gang, stealing cars and doing other hot shit.” That wasn’t all they did, says Lil Jay. “We were all in the same school. On an average day we would be rapping in the gym, rapping in the lunchroom, making beats in the hallway. That’s how we started making music.”
The group eventually started making their rounds. Says Psycho Black, “We started performing at clubs, getting to know the promoters and we created a buzz for ourselves.” It was the fiery “Knuck If You Buck” that helped ignite the Crime Mob frenzy in and around Atlanta as early as 2002. Says Lil Jay, “The song took off. It’s different. It ain’t got no cussing. It’s hard, it sticks in your head. I have people come up to me and say ‘I only saw y’all perform one time but I remember that song – buck if you knuck.’ They can’t say it but they remember it.”
Characterized by chants, heavy basslines and bold, aggressive lyrics, Crime Mob’s music instantly struck a chord on the streets of Atlanta with “Knuck” getting its first spark on the East Side of Atlanta, spreading to the West Side and then burning an unstoppable path straight to radio. Says Killa C, “We made a name for ourselves on the streets. The radio got our song from the streets. It didn’t go from the radio to the streets; it came from the streets to the radio. We were the first group to get picked off ‘Dig It Or Dish It’ and get played in rotation.”
They’ll remember all of Crime Mob’s songs, he says. “We got our own unique sound. We use this beat program called ‘fruity loops’ so we got our own distinct sound. When you hear a Crime Mob song come on the radio you know it’s Crime Mob. You won’t have us mixed up with nobody else.” Killa C agrees, “If you get another artist and play their CD and then play a Crime Mob CD, from that day on any time you hear another Crime Mob song – even one that you never even heard – you’ll know ‘that’s Crime Mob right there’.”
Despite some of their lyrics, all six members of Crime Mob say they would much rather be making music than making trouble, stressing that their past antics were leading them to certain destruction; much like the fate of a close friend who was killed last year just minutes after he left them. It was a painful, eye-opening reality check. “We had to realize that this wasn’t gonna get us nowhere,” says Killa C, recalling his days of stealing cars and committing other petty crimes. “This car I got today, I don’t know if I’m gonna have it tomorrow,” he reflects. “It ain’t mine, but I could got to jail for this car for 10 years because it ain’t mine, but I won’t have it when I get out. It wasn’t benefiting us so we started making music. That was like an anti-drug or something. Somebody piss you off, go make some beats, go write a verse or something.”
For Crime Mob music has always been hope, a way to show the world who they are and how they feel. And now music has truly been their salvation, taking them away from danger but not away from who they are. Keeping it real never meant so much.