Crime Mob
This Ain’t That

crimemob1.jpg

Crime Mob’s world headquarters doesn’t exactly scream street credibility. It’s a spare room just off the front entrance of a white, wood-sided tract home in Ellenwood, a middle-class Atlanta suburb. The walls are white, the carpeting is red, and the space is dominated by a queen-size bed with a matching comforter. In the corner, a small personal computer sits on one of those blond wood computer tables, like something out of an Ikea catalog circa 2002.

While she affects a vampy, femme fatale pose in videos, 20-year-old Crime Mob MC Venetia “Princess” Lewis looks younger in person. She’s lying forward on the bed, her baby fat poking out the bottom of her baby tee. Her empty, fur-lined Timbs sit pigeon toed on the floor. Her brother, Jonathan “Lil Jay” Lewis, sits on the side of the bed nearest the door. Older by a year, he’s tougher to read. His expression falls somewhere between tough-minded rap artist and embarrassed high schooler. Considering the circumstances, he might be feeling a little like both. It’s not often that rappers do an interview with their father present, but Fred Lewis, a stocky, kind-faced man who sports a red and black “Lewis Family Reunion” T-shirt, has inserted himself between his kids on the bed.

“When they first started getting into this business,” says Fred, a correctional officer at a federal penitentiary in downtown Atlanta, “me and my wife—of course, raised in a Christian environment—we didn’t care for the curses.”
“We couldn’t curse at all,” says Princess, laughing. “We had to wait for them to go to the grocery store.”

The group first came together when the Lewis kids were at Cedar Grove Middle School. Lil Jay’s access to recording equipment—a third-rate PC Fred bought for playing video games and a copy of the sampling/sequencing program Fruity Loops—made the house in Ellenwood the place to be.
“Twenty people have been in this room at one time,” says Fred. “Trust me, I hated it. Hated it!”

“All of them asking for water and something to eat,” Princess adds.
“Even in a small room, the smoke was in their clothes,” Fred continues. “I never smoked, never did any drugs in my life. So that type of environment, for one, I didn’t like them to associate with. We knew that type of element. When you say you do these things, people are gonna try you.”

Cedar Grove High School is a ’70s-era tanbrick building eight minutes from the Lewis house in Ellenwood. With an enrollment of 1,470, the school draws students from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. While the school consistently falls short of state-mandated educational standards, its basketball and football teams (the Saints) do well in South Dekalb County Division II competition. (Last year, Cedar Grove alum Marcus McNeill went to the Pro Bowl after his rookie season as an offensive lineman with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers.) And the Cedar Grove stock-market team took first place in the Georgia Council for Economic Education’s annual mock stock-market competition (portfolio valued at $325,087).

Above all else, though, Cedar Grove is known as a fertile breeding ground for crunk music—the smashmouth rap style pioneered by another short, middle-class Atlanta guy, Lil Jon, and centered around his record company, BME. In the wake of the success he found in 2004 with former Cedar Grove students Trillville and Lil Scrappy, Lil Jon opened BME’s doors to Scrappy’s protégés, Crime Mob. It was a dream come true for Lil Jay.

“When I came up, we listened to Lil Jon,” he says, also citing Timbaland and Mannie Fresh among his influences. “We were young. It was overwhelming, really. Just last year, we watching him on TV, and now we signed to his label.”

The Lewises, along with group mates Brittany “Diamond” Carpentero, Jarques “M.I.G.” Usher, Alphonce “Cyco Black” Smith and Christopher “Killa C” Henderson, brought BME “Knuck If You Buck,” proof positive that Lil Jay shared Lil Jon’s facility with drum-heavy fight music. But after “Knuck” blazed its way into the clubs, onto the radio and up the charts in the summer of 2004, sales of Crime Mob’s eponymous debut stalled shy of 300,000 copies.

crimemob2.jpgNot terrible. But coming after the millions sold by their predecessors at BME, a little disappointing. Like most fathers, Fred Lewis isn’t shy about sharing his opinions when it comes to his kids. “Signing with someone young like Scrappy,” he says, “I think he sees them as a competitor instead of [himself as] their boss. I think that he has opportunities to really make Crime Mob bigger. They work for him. He has opportunities to make them bigger. You hardly ever see them together. When the song says ‘Crime Mob featuring Lil Scrappy,’ the song is already done. He just walks into the studio and bam! He’s never been in the studio with them.” He pauses and adds, “If you wanna know everything, Lil Jon has never been in the studio with them.”

This spring, Crime Mob are finally getting their second chance. With Lil Jay’s latest party starter, “Rock Yo Hips,” booming out of trunks from Bankhead to Brooklyn, they seem well-positioned for the release of their sophomore album, Hated On Mostly. In the three years since their debut, the group has been through its share of upheaval. Lil Jay has decided not to pose for photographs of any kind (the one opposite this page is from 2006), choosing instead to remain, in Diamond’s words, “behind the scenes, making beats.” Princess, in the surest sign of stardom, attracted a stalker who sorted through every Lewis in the Atlanta phone book and tracked her down. (She hung up on him.) They’ve switched managers, dumping Tommy Phillips, who was also Scrappy’s manager, in favor of Johnnie Cabbell, who handles the business of crosstown snap group D4L. Most importantly, Crime Mob lost one of their original members. Killa C now resides at Phillips State Prison in Buford, Ga. More on that later.

  • Holla

    I’d fuck the shit out of that blonde girl – damn!

  • http://hotmail.com imari

    crime mo is aight but they aint lil jon

  • imairo

    u stupid get yo horny ass a flick or sumthin lol

  • sATaLyte

    Criminal Records stand up!!

  • THAT_BOY_NOAH

    YEAH THAT YELLA BONE LOOKS NICE!

  • ogloc

    Crime mob the ish

  • Brandi

    MAN LOOK CRIME MO IS BOUT’ DAT IM TELLIN YA SEE DAT BLONDE HEAD SHE REMIND ME OF 1 OF MY GUTTA RACELAND HAEAD BUSTAZ BUT LOOK DIS BNASTY AND IM DROPPING 1

  • rob

    i would holla at the blonde one to

  • Puddin

    Crime Mob is the ..ish; They will be much bigger i think they need to get out & do more concerts in the Midwest!!!! (kansas- okc

  • http://www.myspace.com/brownryder 404-Vato

    That Blonde Bitch was her Name Dimoned or Princess….Or whatever she Called looked ugly in skinney on “Rock Your Hips” Viedo….But that Bitch in this Pic Look like a Fine Hood Dyme I’ll Fucker her 2 :)…That Bitch thick 2….the other one look aright

  • http://www.myspace.com/brownryder 404-Vato

    Damn Is that Princess….Damn she Looked Ugly in “Rock Your Hips” Video……But she looking good as fuck in this pic….Damn pretty skin,she thick 2…lil mommie got a Culo on her…..I’ll Fuck her 2 :) Damoined look right…But Princess look better….I probbly can get with her faster then u Muthafucker (ha)….I Fucks with CM

  • http://xxlmag.com EJ

    Oh man the blonde chick is off the chain!!!

  • Jay Slay

    Shit i’d fuck’s wit both these hoes lookin damn fine in that pic. But u know sometimes princess looks like a big mouth billie bass. haha but that ass makes up for all that.

  • tha crook

    well im prety sure that most of yall is bout 14 yrs old and under… maybe when killa c come out yall could go see him nd be able to say you fucked one of tha crime mobb memmbers

  • John Cochran

    you see the ass one the one to the left. I’m tryin knuck that bitch buck. There music is garbage on a hot july afternoon, but I’d fuck the broads though.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=8920 K*Z

    hell yea man i’d fuck diamond til i cum on her sexy face

  • http://www.myspace.com/cordearo Duro

    that fucked up how Killa C raped his 6 year old brother and ain’t register as a sex offender! now not only in da nigga gay, he a pervert and it was his own brother. dats da kinda shine you don’t need 4real!

    http://www.myspace.com/cordearo

  • EReal

    Mannn,

    I BEEN sayin Id smash on Diamond. Bitch is only like 18 or 19 or some shit. Id let her rock her hips, sheittt.

    1 hunned.

  • !TOP NOTCH GLAMER CHICK!

    man i like they music i didnt kno princess and lil jay was related but they are so fucking youg i thouht they was like 23-25 but i still fucks wit tho

  • ro

    i feel the same way bout the blond shes bad as hell

  • Kim

    I like crime mob this cd is way better than the last one. I do think they should get out of the deal with Lil Scrappy that’s my boy but he needs just handle his own thing first.

  • F.U. Ent. ATL

    Knuck If You Buck Boy!!! if yall wuz from atlanta, yall would understand.

  • BZ

    I dont fukk wit crime mob like tha but princess could get it ……..luv dem lipz

  • Yung d

    Crime mob sum bitin ass niggas bruh juz like erybody else n atlanta blud. Fuck they music east oakland boys ben goin dum bruh we dnt snap r fingers or get crunk we go bruh! Fast like a nascar

  • Baby Bt

    im high ass fucc right now…….

  • corina

    are ya’ll gonna show more of the interview or do we have to buy the magazine ??

  • Baby Bt

    i’m still got damn high

  • Ju tha great

    A 4real diamond make tha group how sexy she is only thing princess got is a azz take that away and you got makeup havin bass oh yahh dem nigs lame suburb azz nigs talkin bout they’ll beat somebody azz nig go cut cha yard or do some productive!

    Ju tha alpha

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Ju tha alpha

    SSM partna you and yo lame azz boss he cant come bak 2 colla park and yall betta stay n ellenwood neva perform n atlanta surburban azz nigs. GET MONEY squares ya makin atlanta look fake shawty.4real bro

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Ju tha alpha

    oh yah diamond 2sexy 2 b wi dem lames princess went through pubertity she thick an sexy dem other nigs questionable an zone 3 false claimer (Scrappy) GET MONEY squares

  • BABY T #1

    4get all dem comments i think princess and diamond pretty f*** what yall say mane and the niggas look good 2

  • john

    stop hatin southside mafia and get up on yo own shit