What You Might Know Him for and Why You Could’ve Cared: In 2004, 17-year-old St. Louis native J-Kwon dropped “Tipsy,” the jarring, yet catchy radio hit that peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Signing to So So Def/Jive under Jermaine Dupri soon after, Kwon—who was one of the few new MCs to come out of The Lou since Nelly and his St. Lunatics in 2000 and Chingy in 2001—dropped his debut album, Hood Hop, just two months after the release of “Tipsy.” The disc reached No. 7 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.
Besides “Tipsy” and Hood Hop, J-Kwon’s probably most known for a bizarre disappearance incident on March 2010 when his then label, Gracie Productions, released a statement saying their artist had been missing for a month. They asked the public for help finding him and set up a Twitter account to assist in the search (@WhereIsJKwon). For a few hours the hip-hop sites were all abuzz with posts and comments about Kwon’s whereabouts. The following day Gracie Productions released another statement saying J-Kwon had been found. Hip-hop was relieved.
Current Status: Since his brief 2010 disappearance, J-Kwon seems to have parted ways with Gracie and has been releasing music on his own via the Internet. He doesn’t seem to care much for Twitter considering he (@JKwon_HoodHop) only tweeted four times in 2011 and three times in 2012.
Regardless, Kwon’s a regular on Facebook and has a candid bio where he explains the ups and downs of his career and how he was cast aside by Jive Records for the newer artist, “domestic violence offender Chris Brown.” (Who knew?)
Still in love with the rap game despite it’s hardships, the determined MC continues to record for his fans, who he “misses” and promises to release his music online for them via Facebook, for free, even if it is being charged for somewhere else. And for his best fan, well, he plans on giving them a $100,000 Benz. Right.
Kwon’s latest release “Yeah,” can be downloaded via his Facebook page. While a music video for a track titled, “Lights,” was released early last year. —Vanessa Satten (@VSattenXXL)