Around the time that Rap was almost reduced to ringtones and instructional dance songs, a deejay/producer-turned-rapper named Jonathan Smith prevailed as not only the self-proclaimed “King of Crunk,” but just as well the Darth Vader of the dance-floor. The So So Def DJ’s standout ascended as one of Hip Hop’s stars, after years in the shadow.

With stage-props like gasoline cans, Crunk Juice-filled pimp cups, Elvis Presley sunglasses and enough jewelry to make Slick Rick blush, Lil Jon assumed the role of a celebrity long before he ever was one – a winning formula still employed by today’s hopefuls. Soon enough, Lil Jon screamed his way into becoming a household name, and even won over a few skeptics – with some help from Dave Chappelle, Usher and his BME label minions. Today, he’s doing everything from selling pizzas on Manhattan sidewalks, to being Donald Trump’s Apprentice to deejaying sweaty, fist-pumping, not-so-Crunk dance-clubs across the club. Although loud and colorful, Lil Jon’s reign at the top was short like leprechauns.

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