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    Lil Jon

    Lil Jon Biography

    We received an overwhelming amount of responses to our "Ask the Artist" feature with Lil Jon. Thank you all for submitting your questions. We wish we could've used all of your intriguing inquiries, but alas the King of Crunk is a busy man. Lil Jon took time out of his busy schedule to bestow upon us his answers to these burning questions...

    1. Who are some of the non-hip hop artists that influenced you? (Josh B. from Burleson, Texas)

    Bad Brains.

    2. How did you learn to make your beats? Did you always have it in you or did you have some training? (Tim Webb from Statesboro, GA)

    I was always into making beats. I use to be A&R for So So Def and I learn a lot about the studio from that time.

    3. What type of software and equipment do you use for making your music? (Trey Sloan from North Carolina)

    808 all the way.

    4. What drives you? And how do you know when you've reached your highest potential? (Sara Averett from Patterson, CA)

    Highest, well I feel like I still have a lot of potential. I guess when my beats don’t make people rush the floor.

    5. Who inspires you? (King from Paris)

    My son.

    6. What’s the best way to get your own record label started? (Tha BlakSmif from Oakland)

    Get the right people to work for or with you.

    7. How did the pimp juice cup come about and where can I get one? (Alicia Barnes from Atlanta)

    This old grandmother in Chicago makes them. She made them for Snoop.

    8. What artists would you like to work with on your next album? (Michael Mckenzie from HardeeVille, South Carolina)

    Good Charlotte.

    9. Will you ever do a track with Eminem, Dr. Dre or G-Unit? (Jose Vallejo from Waco, Texas)

    I did the "Lean Back" remix that Eminem was on.

    10. When are you coming to Europe and The Netherlands? (Neek from The Netherlands)

    I was just there last week, stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in Hyde Park.

    11. Have you ever considered starting your own clothing line? (Torquesia from South Holland, Illinois)

    Somewhat, right now we are working on the new porno.

    12. Where did you get married and where was your honeymoon? (Brittany from Vero Beach, Florida)

    I got married at a beautiful location and the honeymoon too.

    13. Who are you married to? (Tamika from Dallas, Texas)

    ha ha ha

    14. How much money do you have? (Jake from La Crosse, WI)

    I live comfortable.

    15. What’s your real name? (Jonathan from Quebec)

    Jon Smith.

    Lil Jon All Music Guide Biography

    Exuberant, loud-mouthed, and regularly adorned with a bejeweled pimp chalice at hand, Lil Jon was the charismatic figurehead of the Dirty South crunk movement that arose from the Atlanta area around the turn of the century. Born Jonathan Smith on January 27, 1971, in Atlanta, GA, the producer/rapper began his rap industry ascension as part of Jermaine Dupri's So So Def label, for which he worked from 1993 to 2000. In the mid-'90s Lil Jon began making a name for himself as a producer with a knack for club remixes. Before long he formed his own group, Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, comprised of Big Sam and Lil Bo, in addition to himself. Essentially a means of showcasing his production talent, and profiting from it as well, Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz signed to Mirror Image Records, an Atlanta-based label distributed by Ichiban Records. In 1997 the label released Who U Wit?, a CD single, and Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album; a second CD single, Shawty Freak a Lil Sumtin', followed in 1998. The regional success of "Who U Wit?" brought with it plenty of outside production opportunities for Lil Jon, and so it wasn't until 2000 that he returned with another East Side Boyz album, We Still Crunk, this one released independently by BME Recordings. A contract with TVT Records followed, as did the group's label debut, Put Yo Hood Up (2001), which boasted some previously released material (e.g., "Who U Wit?," "I Like Dem Girlz"), as well as "Bia' Bia'," the first Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz single to get national airplay, thanks in part to the song's guest features (i.e., Ludacris, Too Short). Led by the single "I Don't Give a @#&%," Kings of Crunk (2002) then capitalized on Lil Jon's breakthrough, spawning the Top Five hit "Get Low." Featuring the Ying Yang Twins, "Get Low" was a club phenomenon throughout 2003; Part II, a CD/DVD EP released toward the end of the year, featured dancehall and merengue remixes of the song, along with additional material. Lil Jon's production style became ubiquitous on urban radio thereafter, as "Salt Shaker" (a production for the Ying Yang Twins), "Goodies" (Ciara), "Yeah!" (Usher), "Freek-a-Leek" (Petey Pablo), "Shorty Wanna Ride" (Young Buck), "Damn!" (YoungBloodZ), "Let's Go" (Trick Daddy), "Culo" (Pitbull), "Head Bussa" (Lil Scrappy), "Neva Eva" (Trillville), and "Shake That Monkey" (Too Short) all garnered significant airplay in 2003-2004. By this point, the celebrity of Lil Jon was such that comedian Dave Chappelle was memorably satirizing him (especially his signature "yeaaah!" and "whaaat!?" expressions) on a couple episodes of The Chappelle Show. Toward the end of 2004, "What U Gon' Do," a Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz single featuring Lil Scrappy, announced the release of Crunk Juice, a star-studded album featuring guest features on nearly every song. "Friends & Lovers," featuring Usher and Ludacris, became the most successful single, reaching the Top Three of the Billboard 100. In the wake of Crunk Juice, Lil Jon put his solo career on hold while his label went through bankruptcy hearings. He continued to produce hits for others, including "I'm a King" (T.I., 2005), "Touch" (Amerie, 2005), "Girlfight" (Brooke Valentine, 2005), "Okay" (Nivea, 2005), "Presidential" (YoungBloodZ, 2006), "U and Dat" (E-40, 2006), "Gangsta Gangsta" (Lil Scrappy, 2006), and "Dime/Tell Me" (Pitbull, 2006), among others. In 2010 his solo career was back in the forefront with the release of that year's Crunk Rock. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi


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