Lil Jon on crunk, bling and profanities

The outspoken US rapper tells us how it is

Interview

Peter Feely nabbed the American rapper and DJ to talk about Trump, gold teeth and crunking after his gig at People By Crystal earlier this month.

Is it your first time in Dubai?
It’s my fourth or fifth time in Dubai. I first came a couple of years ago. It’s good – people party hard. I was really impressed with the crowd – they knew everything I was playing. It was an open format – EDM [electronic dance music] hip-hop mix.

You’re not the only musician to use Lil – were you the first?
I have no idea, man. I’m older than Lil’ Kim. She came out in the ’90s and I was Lil before Kim because I’ve been Lil since I was in high school. It was my name – ’cause we had Big Jon and Mean Jon…. Maybe I’m the first guy – I don’t freakin’ know!

Your performance at People by Crystal was great. Describe how you interact with a crowd
I give a lot of energy – I’ll go a little crazy. I don’t know. My voice – when I get around people they get loose and they can get wild.

You’ve had a stint appearing on reality TV...
I was on the Celebrity Apprentice show with Donald Trump and the main premise of the show is to raise money for various charities. It’s a really hard show and I did it twice.

What’s Donald Trump like?
Donald Trump’s cool. He gave me a lot of respect – him and his family. I appreciate the opportunity for me to go on the show and the amount of money he gave me at the end of the show for a diabetes association I was representing.

Can you explain ‘crunk’?
If you really study the word – when you crank a car up it’s crunked. So basically that’s where the word really came from and in the South we started to equate it to when someone is off the hook. Once you getting crunk, you getting crazy. So there’s a lot of energy and you get kinda crazy.

Where’s your bling?
I’m older now and I don’t really like the jewellery too much because it draws too much attention.

But you’ve got gold teeth...
The teeth are reasonably attention-drawing… Yeah, I’m loud, I got dreads. I’m an individual.

What’s next?
I have this single coming out with this guy called DJ Snake that’s already blowing up in the states right now [‘Turn Down For What?’]. In the hip-hop world people say ‘turn up, turn up’ which means get crazy or get crunk and I guess someone told someone else, ‘you need to turn down’.

You’re fond of profanity...
Swearing – it helps you get your point across. If you were to say ‘let me get a glass of water’, or if you say, ‘can I get a [expletive] glass of water,’ they know you want a glass of water and you’ll get a glass of water right away.

I’m afraid I don’t have a glass of water for you...
No worries man, it’s all good.
‘Turn Down For What’ is available for download on iTunes from October 31.

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