Lil’ Jon:
I’m Straight

Lil’ Jon has been pretty quiet lately. When his relationship with TVT became strained over financial issues last year, Jon was forbidden to appear on songs for other record labels. After TVT “cut the check,” Jon is back and ready for 2006 to be his biggest year yet. While his new album, Crunk Rock, is slated for a fall release, he promises that in 2006 alone, his BME Imprint will release records from E-40, Lil’ Scrappy, Trillville, Bohagon, Oobie, Trillville and Crime Mob. Fresh off his two-week tour with 50 Cent around Australia, Lil’ Jon spoke with XXLMAG.COM about resolving label drama and the future of the crunk.
[Listen to "Snap Ya Fingers" by Lil' Jon feat. Sean Paul & E-40]

Lil_JohnPh.MatthewSalacuse.jpgAfter you became so popular, and Dave Chappelle imitated you on his show, fans must have started driving you crazy with the “Yeaah!” stuff.
Yeah, even in Australia they were yellin’ my ass to death. Sometimes I’m chilling, I’m trying to be low-key, trying to be under the radar and people are screaming at me. They won’t let me be regular. I’m supposed to always be screamin’ in everybody’s eyes. I’m always supposed to be hollerin’ “Yeah! What! Okay!” and actin’ crazy. I guess that’s the only way they see me, so I can’t really blame them. But they gotta think, How many times has somebody said that to this muthafucka? ’Cause they be sayin’ the shit to me like they the first muthafucka to say “Yeah!” to me. Most of the time people keep doing it ’cause they think I’ma do it back, but I’m tired of doing it so I don’t ever do it back.What was your reaction when you heard about Chappelle leaving his show and going to Africa?
I knew all of the stuff was propaganda. I know he wasn’t on no drugs. He probably just needed a break because it was a lot of stress. I remember being at the show and him and his partner was up editing the last show all night long. I gave him cases of Crunk [Energy Drink] to help him go through the editing. It was just stress without end. You get this big check and you’re forced to be creative and make something just as big as what you just did. I’m sure as an artist he was like, How the hell can I top this? How can you top the Rick James sketch? Creative people, we need breaks sometimes to free our mind so we can get back in the swing of things.

There was a rumor that TVT was withholding royalties from you, and you weren’t speaking to the label for a minute. What exactly happened?
There was a lot of things going on. I don’t really wanna speak on it ’cause we got over all of it. I’m a TVT artist right now. We renegotiated the deal. They cut the check and it’s all good.

Supposedly TVT refused to let you appear on certain songs. Is that the reason you weren’t in the Youngbloodz’ “Presidential” video?
Yeah, ’cause I was originally on the song but couldn’t be because of clearance purposes. I wasn’t talking to [TVT]. Of course they’re not gonna clear me if we not communicating. They not gonna try to help me. That kept me from being on a lot of records because they weren’t giving up any clearances. That kinda had me quiet. I was just focusing on my production, really.

Do you think being out of the public eye for a bit could be good for your career?
I was so much in the spotlight. You couldn’t turn on a TV and not see me. You couldn’t turn the radio on and not hear me on a record or [hear] a record that I did. So it was good that I took a break. Sometimes you over [expose] yourself and people get tired of you. You don’t want to play yourself out. You don’t want people [being] like, “I’m tired of hearing this nigga.”

So now that Lil’ Scrappy is messing with G-Unit, what’s the situation with him being on BME?
He reppin’ BME and he reppin’ G-Unit. He still signed to BME, it’s just him and 50 are good friends, too. Me and 50 doin’ a deal where we gonna mutually help each other on each other’s projects with different artists. He’s coming in and lending his name for Scrappy. When he wants me to fuck with one of his artists that he’s trying to develop and break, I do the same thing. We did a mutual deal to help each other. Scrappy is the first artist to go through that partnership.

Everybody seems to love the new E-40 single “Tell Me When To Go,” but they don’t seem to realize that you produced it. Were you trying to emulate the Bay’s sound?
That record don’t sound like nowhere. It just sound like a rap record. When you put E-40 and Keak on it, it makes it Bay Area, but it’s just a hot club beat. I’m a producer. I can do any type of music, and I proved that when I did “Lovers and Friends.” Nobody expected me to come back with Usher and Luda and do a ballad and have a number one record without a video. So when [E-40 and I] went in the studio, I wasn’t going in there to make a Bay record. We just went in and we just made music.

Was the record your idea, or was it something E-40 and Keak came with?
We actually did that record at five in the morning. We was getting ready to leave the studio and they came with an idea. They had come up with a hook and I just did the beat while they was just singin’ the hook. They went in the vocal booth and by the time they came out, I had found the Run-DMC record [“Dumb Girl”] on the Internet and took the “dumb” part off and put that in. When they heard that, it was just a wrap.

So with all this “intimate club music” and “snap music” blowing up, Southern club music seems to be going in a few different directions. Where do you think it’s going?
I don’t know, ’cause it’s constantly evolving, man. The snap music is what you hear in Atlanta. You’ll hear that shit all night long. You go to the club, everybody’s snappin’ and rockin’ and all that shit, and that came in the last two years out of nowhere. So, I don’t really know. I just know that we gonna keep making the club go crazy.

So tell us about the new album, Crunk Rock. You trying to bring back rock-rap?
Well, hip-hop from day one has been rock-influenced. I’m kinda taking it back to Run-DMC days when they had hard guitars with the 808s and shit. If you listen to the last album, a lot of songs got rock guitar on them. A lot of people compare crunk and rock, so this is gonna be the album that takes this crunk shit and gives it even more energy. Some of this shit is probably gonna have live drums and live guitar and all that shit. But [we’re] still giving them something for the ladies to dance to, something for the thugs, something for everybody. It’s gonna be a masterpiece for music. I’m gonna go ahead and experiment and see what I come up with.

  • http://www.byroncrawford.com/ Bol

    First.

  • http://www.stinkzone.com eric

    WHHHAAAAAAAAAATT?!?!?!… no comments?

  • http://www.hiphop-blogs.com Hashim

    Third.

    Wait, no…first!

  • SupaniceMC

    sheit this nigga looks to be on top of the game yet again, I’m gonna be waitin for some of his new shit to drop. peace out

  • http://myspace.com/lifespleasure Vanesha

    I m confused about this interveiw come on now you mean to tell me no one was better then this?

    Lil Jon anotha nigga in the south doing big things.

  • dameSTATUS

    Jon is a cool ass ninja. I’m glad he and Forty water hooked up. forty be killin those jon tracks..

    Shout to L Roc from the BME production team.

  • LaKayl

    i love lil jon & he on his beniz, so all yall hataz be e-z.

  • http://www.myspace.com/tragicallies malcolm
  • Mr M

    Bout’ time people start thinkin’.. he must be really fucking tired of the shouting

  • http://source one

    yet another down south ass nigga lil
    jon is the wackest nigga on the planet earth. the south killed hip hop
    the west is were its at much love to L.A.

  • kmax25

    “One” you still out there hatin homie? the south killed hip hop? no you should be mad at suge knight for killin west coast hip hop. u mad at the wrong people. aside from dre, snoop and game, l.a is ghost town. im on dubcnn.com everyday and see the same sorry as l.a. rappers on there wit them weak ass songs and horrible beats. everybody has their time to shine and it took 9 yrs for a relivent album to come outta the west (the documentary). l.a. niggas aint having fun with they music and the same with new york rappers. everybody too damn gangsta to work together while th south is winning cuz they aint hatin on each other. the bay is hot cuz we comin with somethin different and niggas is doing music together. t.i and jezzy but jay-z or nas cant make a song with 50 or dipset. take some tips homie…..stop hatin

  • bluerid

    u are right man thank you marshall for keeping my mind clear.im going offline now.respect.

  • bluerid

    r.e.s.p.e.c.t

    im all done now

    ima listen 97′bonnie&clyde-marshall mathers

  • israel rdz mendez

    the great most famoso crunck, dirty mucho respect lil jon de idolo mio es lo MEJOR UN SALUDO Y ACA TIENE UN GRAN ADMIRADOR EN EL MEXICO REPRESENT UN SALUDO LIL JON 4 LIFE WHAAAAAAAAATT OOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKKKK — PAZ—– SALUDOS MEXICO—

  • Chi-Town Hustla

    Lil jon is handling his shit.Why is it that we hate on a successful blackman and the hitz he be making. Yea,I said Hitz.I’m from the Chi and Lil Jon gets mad love and respect. Jon if you read this;keep making that hot shit.Ain’t nothin like seeing a chic in the club dance to one of your tracks.

  • 2FEET

    FUCK ALL DEEZ HATAZ OVER ON THA WEST THAT’S HATIN ON DIS SOUTH SHIT YA DIG DIE WIT YA MUSIC BITCHES

  • andy

    Lil Jon is HELLA UGLY in the damn picture. He need to BRUSH HIS DAMN TEETH!!

  • lolo

    i can not imagine 50 n lil jon….hot gawbage

  • Tek

    yll niggas gotta stop hatin on da south we da hottest rite now!!!

  • Kev-la G

    Yo shout to the boy Jon, i ain’t really big on that whaaaaat shit but i appreciate the work he did for ma man E-40!!!

  • A’s Fitted On

    Right now…Lil Jon is the best producer hands down. You probably say “naw naw Dre is…but what has Dre did lately. I love Dre’s beats but there hasn’t been anything since the Game’s “How We Do”.

  • LIL K

    “ONE”, I dont understand how you can say that the south killed hip hop! If anything we breathed new life into hip hop by doing what we do best and that is being ourselves!Just think everybody wants a little bit of “The South” on their records!Even 50 cent had to get in on this down south action!Every body who has come out with a record thats from the south, has done wonders for the hip hop game! So,”ONE” if you’re reading this stop hatin! Oh yeah, and I forgot to ask! How many artist are on the top from the WEST coast???

  • http://XXL Kookie

    First of all the west is the best out there right now. Second the south had there era at the beginning of the millinium. And last but not least quit hatin’ on us and just ask how can I be down.

  • K-Boe

    Does anyone know lil jon’s real last name? I wanna be his friend on myspace.

  • izzy

    the west is shit,snoop shit,E-40 shit,Warren G shit,Nate Dogg and Game the only good ones

  • T.C II

    Tha west got dat fi shit i aint hatin on them at all and tha souf got dat fi shit so i damn sho aint hatin on us. Damn all dis hatin shit need to stop cause tha west and tha souf got together on southside (Game and Scrappy) so errybody shut tha fuck up. Enough said.

  • Andy

    y’all need to wake da f*** up. Hip hop scene is ova. The south niggaz f**ked the whole thing up with wack rhymes, gold teeth, grillz and butt ugly midget sized talentless fools with zero skills.
    F**k this shit.
    Big up da Common, Mos Def and TalibK,
    you niggaz got skills.
    Southern ass shit killed rap.

  • Andy

    50 cant rap by the way. wack shit

  • http://ssss ent

    lil jon was cool when he frist came out but tha shit is geting old he uses the same damn keys on the keybord so all his shit sound tha same now and he thinks tha shit is bumping LOL!!!

  • batz

    yet another nigga hating aint yall figured out yet that evrybody get the turn on the mic?first it was the east then it was the west and now its the south and after us its gonna be some otha niggaz so get used to it and if you cant then dont listen to hip hop its simple as hell

  • IKI

    I dont like Jon 1 bit all he does is scream all over tracks his beats sound all the same Scrappy go & get yourself with a real label I’m sure Sony will have you leave the Wes Craven of rap alone YYYEEEAAAHHH!

  • http://www.myspace.com/nhoodhustle OG Shady LoC

    MANE FIRST OF ALL HALF OF YALL NICCAZ/BITCHES ON HERE SOUND WACC AS HELL TALKIN BOUT WHO’S COAST IS THE SHIT AND WHO AIN’T. WHAT THE FUCC ARE YALL DOIN FOR IT? WHERE’S YOUR PAPER AT??? I CAN’T HATE ON NO NICCA MAKIN PAPER REGARDLESS WHAT COAST THEY FROM, MONEY TALKS BULLSHIT RUNS MARATHONS HOE, THE SOUTH IS ON TOP NOW, AND IT’S BEEN LONG OVA DUE CUZ ALL OF YALL BITCHES ANCESTORS CAME FROM RIGHT DOWN HERE IN THE DIRTY SOUTH IF YOU BLACC IF NOT SHUT THE FUCC UP CUZ A NICCA COULD CARE LESS ABOUT YA OPINION!! SO IN A WAY HIP HOP DID ORIGINATE IN THE SOUTH TAKE IT HOW IT IS…MUCH LOVE TO THE WEST AND THE EAST bUT THIS SHIT IS ALL ABOUT MONEY AND OUR POCCETS ARE GETTIN THE FATTEST RIGHT NOW…

  • Dat Boi Dre

    I agree wit u one. the south has ruined hip hop. i mean rappers that can actually spit dont get their shine on cause niggas be on records repeatin they name records the whole time and these wack ass people eatin that shit up. i mean the only niggas that can spit are ti bun b ludacris scarface. thats it. all the rest of them niggas wack. real talk. free lil kim!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/truemontana Unanimous
  • J SUN

    BIG UP TO DAT BOI DRE.

  • J SUN

    I WISH IT WAS 94′. THERE WOULD BE NO ARGUMENTS ABOUT HIP HOP.

  • http://crunk.com yo mom

    lil jon is da best in crunk dat there is

  • kiss my ass

    yo first off this nigga andy up top is mad gay this is a dude saying lil jon is mad ugly?and the samd nigga”andy” telling a dude to brush his teeth? this nigga lil jons mother and shit, fuck you andy you aint supposed to be on the forum theres a gay website somewhere out there waiting for you.

    yo iki also up top on this forum , yo the fuck you hating on lil jon sreaming on tracks for…you probably mad you cant scream wit all that cock in you r mouth ho…fuck outta here bitch…that nigga making millions offa screaming use your head for more than hed.

    aye yo lil jon keep doing ya thang, fuck all yall niggas south running shit, west coast riding, eveybody else bank accounts looking mighty thin

  • 4get my name

    all yal is some pussy-ass-bitches/hoes if you hatin lil’ jon cause crunk/rock is the shiiiiiiit biiiiiiiiitch

  • YUNGPAPE

    shut up lil jon is lil jon so that guy act like : screaming okayyyyyyyyyy yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh mo fuckaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • Quita P

    Damn,All my westcoast niggas on this A good bit of y’all artist got lil’ Jon beats.Oh yeah The west should be the last to hate on the south cause look what y’all went through when it was y’all time in spotlight the eastcoast hated on y’all asses too.So think about it Cause when tha west And the south s together that’s some real gangsta crunk shit

  • Be real

    Johnathon Smith a.k.a. “Lil Jon” grew up in an affluent family. His parents had a six story mansion. I think they were both physicians. He tries to act like he grew up in some rough neighborhood. He in a way has coopted “ghetto life” to get rich when he was already rich. He is just playing a stereotype.

  • http://myspace.com Andy’sAFaggot

    andy is a mother fuckin fag because he no room to talk about lil jons teeth when his moms teeth scare little children…we from grandview mofo….aka we salute u lil jon cause we hope to snap our fingers like you someday up in da dirty south

    holla bitches

  • JoFaTmAMMA

    u need to shut the f*ck up bout lil jons teeth andy cause ur moms teeth scare lil children when they walk by ur house…we represent grandview….also we salute u lil jon and we hope to snap our fingers as well as u do in the dirty south

    halla

    b*tches

  • trill hustla

    dog all yall west niggas aint shit no mo the south has made hip hop better wit da crunk yall west pussy ass niggas aint shit its the south side bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!! shout out to all to all the niggas in the south and lil jon keep doin yo shit! I dont nate dog doin shit and snoop dog is singing wit da gai ass pussycat dolls dats how we kno he goin broke

  • westcoast nigga

    yea john u a cool ass nigga but all dat damn hollerin aint gonna get u no where cuz.fuck all da bullshit nigga you’ll give a muthafucka headaches doin dat shyt nigga fuck da south side tho its westside to da fullest!

  • westcoast nigga

    shut da hell up kmax25 da west bout to get put back on da muthafuckin line foo so shut yo fagged bitch mouth punk!

  • ct4shzl

    tvt cut thee check …i wldnt put out an album till summer 07…make them wait.

  • PJeezy

    Fuck Any And All You Niggaz Hatin on Lil’ John and The South in general. Y’all can Argue up and down about how the South dominating everything. Get Yo Weight Up, Stop hatin, and Get Money Damn!!!

  • http://xxlmag.com west

    man it aint all south shit thts wack…only the atl but if u look ay houston texas wit ugk and chamilionaire n shit…..the west z gonna be the rulers of hip hop next

  • http://www.xxlmag.com west

    n if u look at atl who have they got apart from t.i……..er nobody…….look at the west they snoop dogg pound game dr dre warren g………n the east have jayz nas papoose and other new talents……atl dont have any legends think about it…west have pac dr dre snoop east have nas wu tang biggie jay z….and fuck dipset n gunit they all ruin hip hop too

  • Ysabella Zambrano

    What is your last name is it Jhonathan Smith? What is it?

  • Andy’sFatAssMom

    50cent can rap u ugly ass mother fuckin bitch u can take ur ugly white ass self and listen to some country but take dat shit off this forum….. Lets hear u rap huh ohh wait ur mouth is full of dick and shit that you cant speak just like ur mom on saturday nights in the back alley of sk@t3l@nd still reppin grandview dirty south & west bitches

    Hollla

  • john

    lil johnis the Shit

    EAST kills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/2011krunk Naz (south chick)

    uhm who eva think da south side sucks can keep talkin cuz u a damn hata cuz fuck yall side got da damn chance to shine soo may be you need to sit da fuck down!!!!!!!!!!and let it be shyt aint alll south side music is krunk musiq and krunk musiq is krunk wat else do u expect if u aint wit it den dont listen to krunk musiq shyt aint no body makin you!!!!!!!!!!and also all dat west side talk and dat rest of dat BS needs to go cuz dats jus stupid lyk i said earlier yalll get a chance to shine dont get mad @ da south for bein who we be and dats on wateva u wanna put dat on……….im reppin dat TEXAZ until da day i die and u can also put dat on wateva u want SHYT soo all yall hataz out ther hatin on lil jon and da rest of da SOUTH can keep hatin cuz its funni too see yalll talkin mad shyt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Your_Mom

    They treat the guy like an animal the way they scream yeah! and what! and OKAY!

  • Fish

    Lil Jon, you are amazing. Keep it Real and hopefully people will stop pissing the hell out of ya. Peace.