ILUVLOLA X LIL JON
Words By: Sadé Powell (@SmokeandRoses_)
Lil Jon, the godfather of crunk brought his antics to Toronto last week DJing at one of the cities hotspots Uniun Night Club. Lil Jon has swiftly made is way into the electronic dance music scene putting out hits like Sexy Bitch and Turn Down For What which has now gone triple platinum. ILUVLOLA caught up with the southern star to chat about his stance in music, turning down and EDM.
Trance, techno and dance music they all entice young, energetic crowds prepared to jump and head bob for hours at a time. DJs and producers of this genre are quickly creeping from behind the shadows and bursting to the forefront of the party. Hell, they are the party! Lil Jon got his start producing music for the dancehall and hip hop generation, but as trends shift and music evolves his passion for music has allowed him to adapt with the times and keep relevant. He says the energy is what drew him to EDM and that the vigor in hip hop just isn’t the same.
“Hip-hop doesn’t have the energy it did in the 80s and 90s[…] everybody is too fucking cool and everybody wants to be too fucking gangster. It’s all about out-doing the other motherfucker and it’s not about partying anymore.”
Now Lil Jon’s swing into EDM obviously didn’t happen overnight, he credits rapper Pitbull as the one who showed him the light, and by light I mean LED beams and psychedelic strobes. The duo collaborated on hit party tracks like The Anthem in 2009 and then went on to sample Frederico Franchi’s Cream for their single Krazy in 2010. From there Lil Jon was able to hook up with DJ Chuckie who put him on to the Sexy Bitch remix with David Guetta and introduced him to a wide range of people on the electronic groove.
Of coarse the party must come to an end at some point and there are only two things the crunk master turns down for.
“Police and sleep. We don’t want no problem with the police and you gotta rest or you won’t be turning up the next day.”
Party animals have family too and Lil Jon has a wife and son at home. He says he’s gotten balancing the realm of business and family down to a science.
“I’m on the road so much so when I go home it’s totally turn down […] I juice, I detox, drink a lot of tea and water you gotta take care of your body because the road will beat you up. When I’m home I’m Jon, when out I’m Lil Jon.”
When the Lil Jon we know and love is on a track there is no mistaking his legendary bellows of ‘YEAH!’ and ‘OKAY’ peppered into several of his biggest songs. Singles like Get Low and Yeah, which are both about a decade old, are still being played in clubs, movies and referenced in new songs and on television. Lil Jon talks about why he thinks his songs are able to maintain their longevity.
“I think it’s about going in and not just settling. If it can be better, I’m going to make it better. I would rather take my time and get it right than to just put it out, then I’m hearing this shit on the radio ten year later going ‘Fuck I hate that fucking word, I should have changed this part here…’ That shit will fuck with you ‘till you die. I guess I’m all about good quality music.”
The 43-year-old says he feels blessed that eleven years after dropping the biggest hit of his career he has another number one song to add to his belt. Not many artists can say the same. Over his almost two decades being in the music industry Lil Jon has proven to be a real chameleon going from dancehall, to crunk, to soca and now EDM. All of which he still incorporates in his DJing artistry.
“From day one I never put myself in a box […] You gotta keep your ears to the streets and to the clubs. Pay attention to what the trends are and just have an open mind. At the end of the day it’s do you, even if people don’t like what you’re doing.”
In the impending future Lil Jon says he’s working on several new projects like collaborating with DJ Chronic for a track on Tyga’s upcoming album as well as a feel good summer anthem set to drop sometime late this year or in early 2015. For now we’re waiting to hear back on Lil Jon’s take on Canadian delicacy the ketchup chip which he says he’s never heard of, but is reluctant to try after a bad run in with the formidable poutine. Now here’s a bedazzled pimp cup toast to another decade in music for producer, rapper and Dj Lil Jon.