Lil Jon is a very popular American rapper and a respectable record producer from Atlanta who is known as the leader of a rap group “Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz”. He is also a Grammy Award winner and has gained a lot of fortune through his work.
There are not a lot of people who are not familiar with his work and everyone in the music industry knows his name. It is very probable that he is also one of the best selling authors in the hip hop industry. He has a distinct, fluent sound to his music.
Lil John was born on January 17, 1971, as Jonathan Smith in family settled in Georgia, United States. His father Lickled Martin is an engineer and his mother worked in the Army. He has four more siblings and is the eldest of them. The family was always very tight and they are still big support to one each other.
He was a pupil in the middle school when he met three boys who became his friends for life: Robert McDowell, Dwayne Searcy, and Vince Philips. They were all big fans of skateboarding and soon found work in a skate shop.
He was a student at Frederick Douglass High School which is a public school in Atlanta. While he was in high school he was involved in the work of the school’s marching band. He got interested in music when he became a teen and he taught himself the basics of being a DJ when he was only 15.
His parents were very strict and tried to keep him out of trouble but they still let him have parties in their own home, in the basement. He used the parties to get better DJ skills and at the same time his parties to get better DJ skills and at the same time, his parents were happy because he wasn’t wilding out in the streets.
His parties were named “Old Eng and Chicken Parties” and they became very popular among teens in the neighborhood. Lil John got popular and the local dance clubs started hiring him as a DJ. This was great for him to build his career.
After graduating from high school he decided not to continue education or go to university. He just continued working in Atlanta clubs as a DJ. He met Jermaine Dupri there and eventually Jermaine hired him as a talent scouter (A&R).
Jermaine Dupri is also a known American record producer, rapper and a respectable songwriter. They loved to work together because they had a similar way of thinking and this made the whole working process much easier for both of them.
Lil John started recruiting producers and rapper such as Shawty Redd and DJ Smurf because he wanted to start his own project for a compilation album for So So Def record label. He really wanted to be independent and start some work on his own because he knew about all of the dirty secrets the hip hop industry holds.
He knew that he would be at peace if he didn’t have to sign a contract with anyone, but he had to start out by working with someone else rather than just starting out on his own just at the beginning like that.
So So Def Recordings is a record label which is owned by Jermaine Dupri, his longtime collaborator. The label is based in Atlanta and it releases albums mainly with Southern hip hop music and it has released albums of several notable rappers such as Usher and Bow Wow.
He released it under the name “So So Bass All-Stars” and the album was a big success. It took the album only 4 months to become certified gold. The series was later completed with two albums: So So Def Bass All-Stars Vol. II from 1997 and So So Def Bass All-Stars Vol. III from 1998.
Lil John also started working as a DJ on the V-103 radio station, alongside working in clubs and producing for other artists.
He started collaborating with two other artists, Big Sam, and Lil’ Bo and they created group “The East Side Boyz”. Their first single was names “Who U Wit?” And it created a new term in hip hop: “Crunk”. He loved to collaborate with other people, not only because it was a nice experience and he likes to meet new artists in the industry, but also because this is an easy way to get followers and fans.
In 1997 the group released their very first album named “Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album”. This debut album contains 18 singles. It actually did a really good job for a debut album and his record label was pretty happy with what they were doing. They soon encouraged him to start working on a new album.
Three years later they released their new album “We Still Crunk!”, published by Black Market which became a very huge success. The biggest single entered Billboard charts, “I Like Dem Girlz” went to No.3 on Hot Rap Chart.
They were spotted by Bryan Leach who signed them to TBT Records so they soon released “Put Yo Hood Up” album. In the summer of 2002, the album became certified gold.
In 2001 they have released “Kings of Crunk”. Their biggest hit “Get Low” featuring Ying Yang Twins came to No. 10 of Billboard Hot 100. This album was certified platinum in 2004.
In 2004 they have released their last album named “Crunk Juice” with “What U Gon’ Do” with Lil’ Scrappy coming to Top 20 of Billboard charts. “Lovers & Friends” was their next single with Usher and Ludacris which came to No.1, No.2 and No. 3 on main Billboard charts. The album was certified platinum in 2005 after which the group stopped working together.
In 2006, Lil John released “Snap Yo Fingers” with E-40 and Sean P which became very popular and became platinum in 2006. After that, he stopped recording for TVT Records and the label bankrupted two years later. They learned that this was a mistake and it was soon heard all over the industry, so no one wanted to turn Lil Jon down later on.
In summer 2019, he released his debut album named “Crunk Rock” via his new record label: Universal Republic Records. A lot of known artists made guest appearances on his album: Pitbull, Ice Cube and Waka Flocka Flame are some of them.
The album entered Top 10 Billboard chart of Albums. His single “Hey” became the soundtrack of “Jersey Shore” and “Outta Your Mind” was used as a soundtrack of “Project X” movie.
He said that he loves to make music for all sorts of show. He isn’t one of those guys that says that a job is too stupid for them. Lil Jon says that it is always an adventure to leave his comfort zone and work on some things that he has maybe not seen before.
This album has a very interesting cover with katakana characters which are distinctive for Japan. This is the Japanese transcription of the title which is read “Kurunku Rokku”.
In 2011 he made a collaboration with LMFAO for a single “Drink” which was used in a trailer for “The World’s End” with Nick Frost and Martin Freeman.
In 2013 he made another collaboration, this time with DJ Snake: “Turn Down for What”. This song entered Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Songs chart fitness program called Zumba Fitness, in 2013 and he made a new song for them called “Work”.
In 2014 he released his new work again, this name titled “Bend Ova”, a single made in collaboration titled “Bend Ova”, a single made in collaboration with Tyga and released by Epic Records. In 2016 he has released “Take it Off” which was featured by Becky G and two years later he released “Alive” feat 2Chainz and Offset.
He made an endorsement deal with Kool-Aid brand in 2018 so he released a Christmas single made for them: “All I Really Want For Christmas”.
Lil Jon stated that he was influenced by Outkast, Geto Boys, and Dr. Dre. He said that old school music was the best music and many people share this opinion, but he also said that he is here to help young artists remain cool and create really good music.
Lil Jon appeared in several TV shows from Hell’s Kitchen, American Idol, The Bachelorette and more. He said that it was always fun to visit TV shows and be on TV.
At one point he thought that he could maybe start being an actor because he was having so much fun on the set, but he knew that he has too much work with his music already and wouldn’t have the time.
He was also hired for a commercial for Bud Light Beer. It was a pleasure to do this deal, he said because he is a beer lover and enjoys drinking the Bud Light.
Lil John loves “The Walking Dead” series, an extremely known TV show which aired on Fox and gained huge popularity due to its great special effects. He says that he loves horror movies as well because the adrenaline helps him stay awake and cool for the upcoming beats.
In 2019 he appeared in a commercial for Pepsi. It was a really popular commercial and there were some memes made from this as well.
In 2005 he won a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration with “Yeah!”, a single made in collaboration with Usher and Ludacris. This is probably the most famous hip hop / r&b song in the industry during that year. Everyone knew this song.
Lil Jon has also founded his own company which produces his own label of energy drink named “Crunk”. He also garners a lot of money by selling Oakley sunglasses and he got involved in producing wines with starting his own wine business. He has Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay in his assortment.
With an estimated net worth of $28 million, he is amongst the richest rappers in the United States.
In 2004 he got married to Nicole, his longtime girlfriend and they have a son Nathan who was born 6 years before they got married. His son became a DJ when he was only 11 and today is known as DJ Slade.
Lil Jon is a huge sports fan so he rooted for Atlanta Thrashers but today is a fan of the Vegas Golden Knights. He says that sport is a great way to express yourself and he was very sorry that he couldn’t become an athlete. He said that he was never made for it, though.
Lil Jon is also a philanthropist and he helped in building two schools in Ghana by raising funds. He is one of the rare r&b artists that do this.
In 2018 he covered the expenses of a marching bands travel to another city.
He has a lot of money and it was no trouble for him to buy himself a custom made yellow Lamborghini Murcielago. It cost him $400 thousand and he didn’t doubt at all.
He has a set of grillz with platinum and diamonds worth $50 thousand which were also custom made. In 2009 he was even crowned as the “King of da Grillz.”
He lives in a $1,3 million worth house in Alpharetta in a luxurious mansion where he lives with his family.
He is a big fan of Vinyl records and owns a big collection with almost 2000 records.
Lil Jon is a proud owner of the most expensive chain in the world. He has a chain “Crunk Aint Dead” which is worth around $500. It has 73 carats of diamonds. It is made from yellow and white gold.
He broke a world record with the biggest chain in the world.
He has one of the biggest collection of sunglasses amongst other rappers.
Full name: Jonathan Smith
Date of birth: January 17, 1971
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Profession: rapper, record producer, songwriter, entrepreneur, collector
Height: 1,68 m
Weight: 70 kgs
Net Worth: $28 million