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Lil Jon Biography

Home > Music > L > Lil Jon > Biography

Born: 1971/01/27
Birth Place: Atlanta, Georgia
Years Active: 1993–present
Genres: Hip Hop

Jonathan Mortimer Smith (born January 27, 1971), better known by his stage name Lil' Jon, is a music producer, rapper and occasional disc jockey who was a member of the group Lil' Jon & The East Side Boyz. Lil Jon formed the group in 1997, and the group released several albums between then and 2004. Lil Jon was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut for a short time and many of his earliest influences stem from his time there. He attended Douglass High School, and later graduated from Ohio State University in 1993, moving back to Atlanta to officially begin his music career. He worked for So So Def Recordings between 1993 and 2000. The group signed to the Atlanta-based Mirror Image Records and were distributed by Ichiban Records. In 1997, Lil' Jon & the East Side Boyz debuted with “Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album.” It included singles "Who U Wit?" and "Shawty Freak a Lil' Sumthin'", the latter of which came out in 1998. Both singles charted on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at #70 and #62 respectively. Under BME Recordings, the group followed in 2000 with “We Still Crunk,” and scored a hit with "I Like Dem Girlz", which reached #55 on the R&B chart and #3 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. Lil' Jon & The East Side Boyz signed to TVT Records in 2001 and debuted there with “Put Yo Hood Up,” which combined previously released tracks with new ones. The group's first nationally played single was "Bia' Bia'" a song written about and dedicated to Lil' Jon's girlfriend at the time. "Bia' Bia'" peaked at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #47 on the Billboard R&B chart. In 2002, the group released “Kings of Crunk.” "I Don't Give A..." was its first single it peaked at #50 on the R&B chart. The group's next single, a collaboration with fellow Atlanta hip hop group Ying Yang Twins titled "Get Low", became popular in nightclubs nationwide and reached the top ten of the Hot 100. “Crunk Juice” followed in 2004, led by "What U Gon' Do" featuring Lil' Scrappy. "What U Gon' Do" peaked at #22 on the Hot 100, #13 on the R&B chart, and #5 on the rap chart. Its follow-up, "Lovers & Friends" featuring Usher and Ludacris, peaked at #3 (Hot 100), #2 (R&B), and #1 (rap). In addition to leading Lil' Jon & The East Side Boyz, Lil' Jon has also produced many hit urban singles. From 2003 to 2005, while still with The East Side Boyz, Lil' Jon produced hits like "Salt Shaker" by Ying Yang Twins, "Yeah!" by Usher, "Freek-a-Leek" by Petey Pablo, "Shorty Wanna Ride" by Young Buck, "Shake That Monkey" by Too Short, "Let's Go" by Trick Daddy, and "Girlfight" by Brooke Valentine. Lil' Jon entered the San Francisco Bay Area hyphy music scene in 2006 with his collaborations with Bay Area rapper E-40: Lil' Jon produced E-40's single "Tell Me When To Go" and had E-40 and Atlanta rapper Sean P on his own "Snap Yo Fingers". In 2005 he began recording a rock music album. “Crunk Rock” his solo debut album was released on June 8, 2010 by BME and Universal Republic. The album debuted at number 49 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 8,900 copies.