944’s Nicole DeSalvio and Candace Dickow caught up with Lil Jon for an exclusive interview in V Nightclub’s green room.
944: So incase you didn’t know, 944 Detroit had our launch party here at MGM, and for entertainment we had a SKAM Artist takeover, so we have mad love for the SKAM guys. How did your relationship with SKAM begin?
Lil Jon: I was a DJ back in the day in ATL in like the early ‘90s, and then Jermaine [Dupri] kinda recruited me to work with his record company, So So Def, so I stopped and started my rap career. I wanted to dip back into it, and DJ Spyder hit me up and told me to jump on the label.
944: 944 Detroit has a reputation of showing the SKAM guys a good time – were you warned about us before your trip?
Lil Jon: Vice told me you guys had him drinking a lot of Patron when he was here at V, so yeah.
944: On your new album, Crunk Rock, which is dropping June 8, you collaborated with artists such as Soulja Boy, David Guetta and LMFAO. Who was the most interesting person to work with?
Lil Jon: The one that came out of nowhere was Steve Aoki. He just kinda hit me up out of the blue one day, like I had met him in Miami, and then he hit me up and was like, “Yo, get on this joint.” So I came over to his house, and we were just fucking around with some music. He ended up playing me this one song, and I jumped on the song and it ended up being one of the biggest records at Winter Music Conference.
944: What was the record?
Lil Jon: The record is called “Turbulence.” It ain’t even released yet, but the DJs were fiending for it. Laid Back Luke was playin’ it at Winter Music, Aoki was playin’ it at Winter Music. And then me and Aoki hooked up, and like, even if you look at my video, “Outta Your Mind,” Steve Aoki was in the video for the DJ AM tribute. So that night [at Winter Music Conference] I had rocked with Travis Barker and A-track, and then I came on stage and Aoki started DJing, so I just jumped up while he was DJing and he gave me the mic and we just took over.
944: So WMC is responsible for the Lil Jon, Aoki collabo?
Lil Jon: Yea, after WMC we connected again and went in the studio and we kinda reworked a song that I had, and it turned into even a bigger record, and that’s a record called “Oh What A Night,” with me and Claude Kelly. Aoki re-did it, and it was on some other shit. In over a month’s time to meet somebody, do two hit records and capture our relationship in the videos, its just crazy. So that’s my boy now.
944: What made you decide to change it up for the new album and mix rap and rock?
Lil Jon: It just turned into a collage of all different kinds of stuff, and that’s basically how I DJ, and that’s how a lot of captains are DJing now. Just like the clubs you hear a bunch of different shit from hip hop to rock to house, electro, dance, dance hall, salsa music – everything!
944: What’s one thing you would want Detroit to know about you?
Lil Jon: That I don’t scream things like “Whhhhaaaaatttt!!” and “Yeaaaaaaaa” all day. Hahaaaaaa.
Written by Nicole DeSalvio