Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

When Atlanta MC Bone Crusher signed with So So Def/Arista, his pile-driving, electronica-edged independent hip-hop single, "Never Scared," had already made a dent at local radio. Now his debut album, "Attenchun!," is ready to drop April 29 and the video for single has been added to BET's "rated next" category.

Arista senior VP Jermaine Dupri was quite familiar with the physically imposing rapper (who is 6'3" and weighs 300 pounds), as the artistically inclined Bone Crusher had designed a logo for Dupri, among other things.

"He's been around the Atlanta scene," the veteran producer/label entrepreneur says. "He was in a group called the LGs [Lyrical Giants], who were signed to Erick Sermon's Death Squad label, and a band called the Chronicle." (The Chronicle included Bone Crusher's current producers A-1 [Avery Johnson], Billy Hume, and L-Roc, along with Lil Jon of Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz.)

Bone Crusher's live performance and the single he handed out to fans after a late 2002 show equally impressed the veteran producer/label entrepreneur. Dupri, who hosts So So Def Radio on Atlanta's R&B/hip-hop WVEE (V-103), immediately decided to air "Never Scared" (which features fellow Atlantans Killer Mike and T.I.) "as my Atlanta pick of the week. It has that street grind. I wasn't thinking about signing him yet, since my deal with Arista wasn't 100% done."

With a So So Def/Arista partnership eventually forged, Bone Crusher (born Wayne Hardnett) became its flagship artist. Though "Attenchun!" is the rapper's first major-label-starring vehicle, he is no stranger to the big leagues. He has provided hooks for such acts as Too Short, Bow Wow, and Clipse. In fact, when released last fall on Atlanta indie Break 'Em Off Records, the album's original title was "Bone Crusher and His Industry Friends." Break 'Em Off is co-releasing "Attenchun!" with So So Def/Arista.

The MC says the aggressiveness of "Attenchun!" reflects "a period of darkness to enlightenment [in my life]. It's a prime example of persistence -- I've been in the game 10 years."

Dupri sees Bone Crusher's immediate audience as the "fans of crunk. It's grittier, meaner, more hyper -- it's mad music, like black people's version of slam dancing."





Excerpted from the April 12, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.

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