In the early 2000s, a new form of music came out of the Southern United States’ Dirty South hip-hop scene, spearheaded by a man who donned a grill and sunglasses, held a diamond-encrusted cup for something he called “crunk juice,” and had a rather limited vocabulary. His name was Lil Jon.
Though he seemingly spoke only three words — “Yeah!” “What!?” and “Okay!” — he used this powerful triumvirate to dominate the world of hip-hop, the Billboard charts, and pop culture, while collaborating with some of music’s biggest artists and making crunk a household name.
What had long been a Southern rap colloquialism getting high and drunk (Chronic + Drunk = Crunk), was now on the lips of rap fans, club rats, dimwitted frat boys, and anyone who went to a formal or Bar Mitzvah between 2002 and 2005. But what is it that makes Lil Jon such a powerful force?
Watch: Usher ft Lil Jon and Ludacris – Yeah!
1. He thinks outside the box.
2. He’s street-smart.
3. He pays his dues.
Watch: Chappelle’s Show — Lil Jon Goes to the Airport
4. He’s a man of the people.
5. He knows how to have a laugh.
Watch: Lil Jon on The Celebrity Apprentice
6. He knows how to treat himself.
7. He bears his cross with dignity.
8. He understands the dichotomy between artist and persona.
9. Speaking of dichotomies…
10. He’s held on to his imagination.
11. He likes a pad and Sharpie.
12. He understands the importance of antioxidants.
13. He’s able to reflect on his own achievements.
14. He has a backup plan.
15. He’s logical.
Watch: Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz ft Ying Yang Twins – Get Low
16. He focuses on the task at hand.
17. He’s given back to the English language.
18. He keeps abreast of world affairs.
19. His work reflects the world around him.
20. He’s pragmatic.
21. He’s defiant.
22. He’s not afraid to have an opinion.
23. He’s meta.
Watch: Chappelle’s Show — Rick James
24. He’s scholastic.