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, Lil Jon has crafted groundbreaking hits for a diverse array of artists, such as Usher, Ciara, The Ying Yang Twins, and E-40, to popular rock acts Weezer and LMFAO. As an artist, he has sold millions of records as the front man 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.
When Lil Jon commenced work on his highly anticipated solo album "Crunk Rock," he made a surprising decision. He decided to work with other producers. "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 introduced 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."
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 his patented high-energy music and guttural growls to a worldwide audience. Crunk became so popular that Lil 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's reach quickly expanded to endorsement deals with Oakley sunglasses and Crunk!!! Energy Drink - which recently introduced two new flavors, Grape and Peach Mango - among others. More recently, Lil Jon has introduced Crunk!!! Energy Stix, a powdered 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.
But for Lil Jon, it always comes back to music. He's looking forward to producing for other artists again, now that "Crunk Rock" is complete. "This album has definitely been fun, because I'm doing stuff that I've never done before," he says. "I feel fresh and new again!"
The last time Lil Jon brought something this drastically new to the table, Crunk revolutionized the musical landscape. With "Crunk Rock," Lil Jon plans to continue his revolution.
Lil Jon shows his hometown pride by playing for the United Methodist Children's Home of North Georgia Conference, which houses foster kids and their families. The organization assists children, young adults and families in need of financial assistance through various programs dedicated to getting individuals back on their feet during these tough economic times. Lil Jon grew up with foster children in his home who became his siblings, and he's dedicated himself to this charity in hopes that others may find homes.
1. What got you interested in being on Celebrity Apprentice?
My publicist actually brought it up to me, and so I thought about it. I thought it would be great to bring some money home for a great charity. I also wanted to show rappers in a different light... they always show rappers going to jail and talking about them being on drugs, so I wanted to show that we are intelligent business-minded individuals.
2. How did you get involved with your chosen charity?
Every year around Christmas time I help children and families get new toys for their kids. Ironically, my wife found a charity (United Methodist Children's Home) and the new director of UMCH is someone I worked with before and had a relationship with.
3. What is it like competing against fellow celebrities? Were you particularly shocked by anyone's behavior on the show?
For me it's like everyday life, this is what I do. You compete against celebs every day when you're an artist, so for me it's nothing. The only difference with this show is that I compete against celebs who are not in my same field.
4. What about the competition was harder than you might have expected?
Once it got going with the long hours and the mental pressure, you're super tired and then forced to come up with ideas for stuff. You don't have a week off, you really have to figure it out. You have a couple of hours to make a decision and execute the decision, which is super hard. Normally you think things out before you make the commitment to an idea.
5. Do you have a favorite past winner or contestant from the first three seasons of Celebrity Apprentice?
Bret Michaels and Joan Rivers. Joan because she didn't take no shit! She's an older woman and outlasted some grown men, she's tough! Bret is a fellow musician and creative and a very likeable personality.
1. What was it like hearing the words "You're fired?"
It was like "Damn I'm about to go home." But at least I don't have the stress about being one of the final two. You've got so much pressure being in the final two and I already raised $80,000 for my charity and I also already lasted longer than anyone thought I was gonna last. And I know my boy John Rich was gonna bring me back to help him out with his final challenge.
2. Did you agree with Trump's rationale for your firing? Or did you think one of the other contestants deserved it more?
I don't think anyone else deserved it more because I can't compete with someone raising $1.6 million. I was being real and they had to fire me on some kind of grounds. I was being totally real in my statement that it was gonna be John and Marlee in the final two.
3. What moment or moments on the show were you surprised to see?
Gary Busey. The first time was crazy when Gary's eye starting pussing and bleeding and he's coughingÉ John and I kept telling him to go home and he wouldn't. I realized he was down for his team. Another task when Gary was project manager, he was totally lost. He had me cutting up paper with numbers on it when he definitely could have used my skills in a much better way!
4. Do you feel as though you've made any lasting friendships and business relationships from the show? With who?
John Rich! Me and John had known each other for years and we definitely got a lot closer because we had to work with each other. We had each other's backs. It got down to just me and him for a while on the team and just makin' it happen. We felt like we were so good at the marketing tasks that hopefully we'll start our own marketing company one day together.
5. What was the best part of your experience? Why?
The best part was the whole show! You develop some good friendships and I saw what I was really made of. The show really pushed me to the edge and showed what I could do in high-pressure situations. Especially in high-pressure situations outside of music doing something totally different.
6. Do you feel changed in any way by the experience? Has it had a lasting impact on your approach to life?
Again, it really showed me what I'm made of.
7. What has the experience taught you about people?
The show reconfirmed what I pretty much already know about people... the ego's the way you gotta work with other people. I live my life off of reading people and their energy and that's what helped me last so long on the show.