For the last decade, Lil Jon has been one of the most prominent figures in music. Known best for his role in creating and popularizing the southern movement and lifestyle known as Crunk, Lil Jon has become one of the most sought after artists and producers in hip-hop. Widely known for his platinum-selling production, Jon has crafted groundbreaking hits for a diverse array of artists such as Usher, Ciara, The Ying Yang Twins, E-40, Ice Cube and more. As an artist, he has sold millions of records as the frontman of Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, whose smash hits "Get Low" and "What U Goin' Do" have been among the biggest crossover hip-hop hits in recent times. Proving that his reach is far beyond just music, Lil Jon was casted on NBC's primetime show Celebrity Apprentice (Spring 2011) quickly becoming a fan-favorite, and has an endorsement deal with Oakley, his own Crunk!!! Energy Drink, a branding relationship with Don Julio and much more.
Lil Jon's latest album Crunk Rock - which was released in June 2010 - spawned huge singles including both "Shots," and "Outta Your Mind" with LMFAO as well as "Hey" feat. 3OH!3. Lil Jon says of the album "…I wanted a new sound, to take it to another level! I wanted to have the best producers, the best of the best at whatever they do and let them do their thing. I just went to other people and it was dope because, for a change, I got a chance to just be an artist. It gave me a new energy and a new freshness."
That new energy and freshness is reflected throughout Crunk Rock, an innovative, genre-bending collection that features explosive new sounds and attitudes. Hitmakers Drumma Boy, LMFAO, DJ Chuckie and Kassiano are among the producers who join Lil Jon (who also produced several selections) to create Crunk Rock's searing soundscapes. Just as Lil Jon popularized Crunk to the pop culture lexicon, he plans to do the same with Crunk Rock. "Crunk Rock is a lifestyle," he says. "It doesn't just mean Crunk and rock music. It means we live Crunk and party like rock stars! You live life to the fullest. You don't let nobody tell you, you can't do nothing. You're on 10. You're living life and you're doing your thing."
But Crunk Rock contains more than rowdy music for the clubs. The ladies swoon over "Ms. Chocolate" with R. Kelly and Mario gives an often-overlooked segment of the population a theme song. "I was in the studio eating some chocolate and was like, ‘We need to make a song for the chocolate girls,'" Lil Jon recalls. "That's how that came about. It was that simple. The dark-skinned women have an anthem, finally. The light-skinned girls always get all the credit, but now the dark-skinned girls got their song!"
Lil Jon himself was the one going crazy when he got to collaborate with reggae legends Stephen and Damian Marley on "On De Grind." A lifelong fan of reggae music, Lil Jon was particularly impressed by how the Marley's embraced him. "It was dope that the Marley's opened up their home in Miami to me," he says. "I came to their studio and recorded it. They don't do a lot of records with a lot of different people and for them to show me that much love was amazing. To work with those talented guys -- both of them won Grammys before and their father is a legend -- it was amazing just to work with them period."
Other artists surely say the same thing about Lil Jon. After delivering a string of regional hits with the East Side Boyz in the 1990s, Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz became a national force in 2001 thanks to the hits "Bia Bia" and "Put Yo Hood Up." Lil Jon's mesmerizing, club-ready production launched the Crunk movement, which introduced Jon's patented high-energy music and guttural growls to a worldwide audience. Crunk became so popular that Jon became a fixture on Chappelle's Show and artists not directly connected to him (such as Mary J. Blige) began using the word Crunk, in their own music.
Lil Jon is a master of marketing with the expansion of his Crunk!!! Energy Drink - which recently introduced two new flavors, Grape and Peach Mango - among others. More recently, he has introduced Crunk!!! Energy Stix, a powder version of his energy drink. There's also his award-winning wine label, Little Jonathan Winery, which garnered tremendous press including a feature in People Magazine. Lil Jon's consistent hitmaking has earned him legions of fans from Los Angeles to the Midwest to his native region, the South. This is no more evident as Lil Jon won BMI's Songwriter of the Year award. He also has scored eight Billboard Awards (for the two hit Usher tracks "Yeah!" and "Lovers and Friends"), a Grammy, a Radio Music Award, a BET award, two MTV Video Music Awards, and an American Music Award.