Real Name: Jonathan Smith
D.O.B.: January 27th, 1972 Atlanta, Georgia
Label: BME Recordings/TVT Records
Lil' Jon, is an ATLien rapper, hype man, and producer. He is best known as a "crunk" music pioneer. His group, The Eastside Boyz, which includes Big Sam and Lil Bo, is one of crunk's most notable acts. He is also a prolific producer for other groups, and frequently makes guest appearances. His eyes are recessed, which is the reason why he is never seen in public without his sunglasses on.
He was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He grew up in the Atlanta and is from an upper middle class professional family. Lil Jon graduated from Douglass High School in Atlanta, Georgia in 1989. He hosted a radio show on BET and started doing remixes for artists like Matty-K, Jamaal, Too Short, Kim Murdah, Xscape, and Total. He worked for So So Def between 1993 and 2000.
Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz returned in 2002 with "Put Yo Hood Up". "Bia Bia", the single from the album featuring Ludacris, Too Short, and Chyna Whyte, became a hit in clubs throughout the U.S., and also made the top twenty downloads on MP3.com.
In 2002, Lil Jon looked onto old school Miami bass artist Rick Taylor (also known as Disco Rick), one of the bass music kings and legends of Miami, who gave Lil Jon his first MPC-3000 in 1996. Taylor was then called by Lil Jon to come down to Rick's studio in Miami and work with him on The Kings Of Crunk LP. Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz released their breakthrough album Kings of Crunk. The first single, "I Don't Give a Fuck" featuring Mystikal and Krayzie Bone became another dance floor filler. However, it was "Get Low" with the Ying Yang Twins and its catchy hook that became a breakout hit. It reached the top five in a composite worldwide chart (compiled from U.S., German, French R&B charts) in 2003 and Internet download charts. It also went into the top 40 in markets such as Germany and Australia in 2004. Based on the success of "Get Low", Kings of Crunk reached the top twenty of the U.S. album chart in September 2003. Lil Jon put out a compilation CD and DVD in 2003 called Part II featuring remixes of Get Low featuring Busta Rhymes and Elephant Man as well as the Ying Yang Twins. Jon also produced the hit single Salt Shaker for the Ying Yang Twins.
In 2004, Lil Jon produced what would be his breakthrough, Usher's hit single Yeah!. The track which featured Ludacris quickly skyrocketed to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Lil Jon also helped produce two other big hits of the year. One was for the new R&B artist Ciara, also out of Atlanta. "Goodies" her début single, featured Petey Pablo and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Lil Jon also helped produce Petey Pablo's Freak-A-Leak.
Lil Jon released his new album called Crunk Juice, which features contributions from protégé Lil' Scrappy and Bo Hagon, Grammy Award-winning record producer Rick Rubin, R. Kelly, Ice Cube, Timbaland, Usher, Three 6 Mafia, Gangsta Boo, and Ludacris, and one of Lil Jon's punk heroes, The Bad Brains. The double-CD Crunk Juice includes remixes of Daddy Yankee's Reggaeton hit "Gasolina", Terror Squad's "Lean Back", and others. The biggest hit from this album was the Usher/Ludacris collaboration "Lovers & Friends", which reached #3 on the Hot 100. Lil Jon worked with KoЯn for a track on their album released later in 2005.
For most of 2005, Lil Jon concentrated on production, overseeing forthcoming records for several artists off of his BME Recordings including: Trillville, Lil' Scrappy, Oobie, E-40, BHI, and Bo Hagon. In this year, Lil John also released his first spoken word album, Atlanta to limited fanfare.
On February 22, 2006, Lil Jon announced that he had settled business matters with TVT: "After a long battle and negotiations with TVT, we worked out our differences. TVT cut the check and now it¹s time for me to get back to work." Lil Jon's first solo album 'Crunk Rock' is scheduled for release in 2008 and has already boasted 2 hit singles; 'Snap Yo Fingers' which features fellow BME artist E-40 and Sean Paul of YoungBloodZ' as well as 'Act A Fool' which features Three 6 Mafia.
Lil Jon’s songs have a strong relation to Miami Bass, in that it shares the avid use of the Roland TR-808 kick, high dance tempos, and explicit lyrical content, usually dealing with sexual themes and expressing the language of the Miami streets. He also samples various Disco sounds in his songs, especially in "What U Goin' Do". His productions show a preference for, as said by Philip Sherburne, "Sharp, spiky rhythms programmed on primitive drum machines and bass synthesizers." The Roland TR-808 is the core of Lil Jon’s music, with its "crisp hand-claps and dull, trunk-thumping bass drums".
Lil Jon has become well known for his famous chants and excessive interjections (most commonly "Yeah!", "What?!", "Let's Go!", and "Okay!"), but his hits are made infectious by his raw and unprocessed synthesizer riffs. One can easily stumble upon the very same sounds "within five minutes of sitting down at a keyboard store's display model" which only adds to the raw-edge of his Crunk Music.