I got the chance to meet Lil Jon this weekend at the North Charleston Riverfront Park during the Bud Light Getaway Festival. My middle school "Snap Yo Fingers"-dancing self was dying inside. Fun fact: It was the first song I ever downloaded to my iPod Nano.
The festival featured the "Crunk Juice"-famous rapper along with country crooner Sam Hunt, early 2000's heartthrobs Dashboard Confessional and folk-pop singer Harry Hudson.
Lil Jon and I met backstage for a five-minute chat that had a lot to do with Bud Light Orange. You can read our conversation below.
KO: Hey, nice to meet you!
LJ: You too.
KO: I see you've got a Bud Light Orange there.
LJ: The Orange is my f----n' favorite. It's the best.
KO: I haven't had the Orange yet, actually.
LJ: ANOTHER ORANGE, PLEASE!
*Someone races over with a Bud Light Orange*
KO: Is that the one I need to try?
LJ: Trust me. It will change your life. *pops Orange* Cheers, taste that!
KO: That's really good, actually.
LJ: That's the best beer I ever had.
*PR person motions to hurry up*
KO: Okay, so hip-hop for you vs. EDM. How did that transition happen?
LJ: It wasn't like "versus." It was just like progression, you know. I got to a point where I was burned out in production and, you know, I'm older than most of the hip-hop artists that are out, so when you get older, it's like they start to look at you like, "Ah, you're done. You can't do this no more." But me as an artist, I always feel like I can do anything. So, I think it started when I started to link up with LMFAO and that kind of got me into that world. Then, I did a record with Steve Aoki. We had this song "Turbulence" and it became a hit, and I was like, "Wow." But I think I started to transition a little bit when a DJ friend of mine, DJ Spider, I heard him DJing and I was like, "Wow, he's amazing," and I started to link up with him. He would play me this, and I'd go check other DJs out, blah blah blah. Then I started to get into the EDM stuff, and here we are today.
KO: And it's history from there.
LJ: Yeah, it just started from there— early on before anyone in hip-hop was messing with DJs.
KO: So, it was those collaborations that you really progressed from.
KO: Also, I've got to bring up "Celebrity Apprentice." You made it pretty far in that. What was that like for you compared to your music career?
LJ: Uh, it was honestly one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, because the way I am and the way I do everything in my life, I prepare so I can always be able to have a counter for whatever can happen. "Celebrity Apprentice" was something where you don't know what you're going to do the next day. Every two days, somebody goes home, and you don't know if the next day you've got to be the project manager or what's going to happen, so you can't really prepare. You really have to be on top of everything. So, it was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. And then, as the game progresses, as the show progresses, there are less people to do the job, so more blame is put on someone.
KO: And so also, you got to meet our current president through that show.
LJ: Yeah, uh, it's different from when I knew who he was. He actually did a lot for my charities when I was on the show. He gave me a lot of respect, honestly, because he didn't know who I was before I came on the show, and his kids told him like, "Yo, hey, Lil Jon is awesome." And he was like, "Okay, let me see." Then, by the second time I was on it, he was like, "Hey, he's amazing."
*PR person motions to hurry up more frantically*
KO: Sounds like a pretty cool experience then.
KO: So, last question for you, what do you have for us now? You've got Crunk Juice, the energy drink. You had a wine line for a bit. What's next?
LJ: Um, I'm working on an anti-hangover supplement.
LJ: So, no more hangovers. That's my goal.
KO: So, you won't have a hangover when you drink too many Bud Light Oranges?
LJ: No, Bud Light Oranges don't give you a hangover. It's all of the other stuff you drink.
*PR person waves while looking at their watch, moving my way*
KO: Well, thank you so much for chatting with me.
LJ: It's all good.
*We cheers Bud Light Oranges one more time*