Lil Jon

Born Jonathan Smith in Atlanta, Georgia, rapper/producer/DJ Lil Jon has long established himself as one of the wildest, most colourful, exuberant and influential characters in hip-hop. He began his career as a DJ in Atlanta night clubs and then in 1993 joined Jermaine Dupri's So So Def label as a producer working on dance remixes, remaining with the label for seven years. Gradually, though, it became apparent that he had enough charisma and performance art to front in his own right and in 1997 he launched Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz with rappers Big Sam and Lil' Bo. They soon made their mark locally with the single 'Who U Wit?', followed in similar fashion by 'Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album' and 'Shawty Freak a Lil Sumtin', introducing him to a wider audience and more production opportunities based around Lil Jon's self-styled crunk philosophy presenting bass-driven rap with the aggression of a rock party band. In 2000 he co-founded the BME label with three long term friends - Vince Phillips, Rob Mac and Emperor Searcy - releasing his breakthrough album 'We Still Crunk!' which included R&B/dance record 'I Like Those Girls'. In part boosted by interest in guest appearances from Ludacris and Too Short, a Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz single 'Bia Bia' got national airplay and the 2002 album 'Kings of Crunk' marked Lil Jon's breakthrough as a major hip-hop star, spawning the hit single 'Get Low', featuring the Ying Yang Twins, which became a club phenomenon. By now widely recognised as an outrageously entertaining personality as well as an exceptional talent, Lil Jon had another major success in 2004 with 'Crunk Juice', with a string of mainline guest artists, including Usher and Ludacris on the album's biggest hit 'Yeah!'. In 2010 he had another big success with the 'Crunk Rock' album, once again littered with high profile guest appearances from the likes of LMFAO, Soulja Boy, Ying Yang Twins, Waka Flocka Flame and R Kelly. Diversifying, he also became something of a media star, appearing on TV shows like 'Celebrity Apprentice', 'Hell's Kitchen' and 'Talking Dead' as well as acting roles in 'Date Movie', 'Scary Movie 4' and 'Smoke & Mirrors'.

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