What?! Rapper Lil Jon Turns Down For Diabetes
Rapper Lil Jon was made famous with his sayings, “What!” and “Okay!” and hasn’t stopped packing the dance floor. He was the frontman of the group Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, which he formed in 1997, and they released several albums until 2004.
In 2002, the group released Kings of Crunk. “I Don’t Give A…” was its first single; it featured Mystikal and Krayzie Bone and peaked at No. 50 on the R&B chart. The group’s next single, a collaboration with fellow Atlanta hip hop group Ying Yang Twins titled “Get Low”, became popular in nightclubs nationwide; it reached the top ten of the Hot 100.
From 2003 to 2005, while still with The East Side Boyz, Lil Jon produced hits such as “Salt Shaker” by Ying Yang Twins, “Yeah!” by Usher, “Freek-a-Leek” by Petey Pablo, “Shorty Wanna Ride” by Young Buck, “Girlfight” by Brooke Valentine and “Presidential” by YoungBloodZ. A slow-jam follow-up, “Lovers & Friends” featuring Usher and Ludacris, peaked at No. 3 (Hot 100), No. 2 (R&B), and No. 1 (rap).
After going solo, he released a new albums and was featured on Celebrity Apprentice during its 11th and 13th seasons.
But it was during that time on Celebrity Apprentice that changed his life and the life of his family forever.
In between his seasons on the show, Lil Jon’s mother had a stroke—a complication of her type 2 diabetes. As Lil Jon learned more about diabetes, the 46-year-old Atlanta-based entertainer realized he had been in the dark about diabetes, its complications, and its risk factors. Sadly, his mother passed away after the taping of the season.
“I just never knew anything before she had a stroke,” he says. “I didn’t even know that people with diabetes had strokes or kidney failure or heart disease. I didn’t know the history of the disease, or that it’s a lifelong disease. After, I learned a lot more.”
Armed with his new-found knowledge, Lil Jon was determined to push diabetes education and awareness using his Celebrity Apprentice platform. He promoted the Association’s Risk Test (diabetes.org/risktest) on air and on his Facebook page, shared his mother’s story, and touted the ADA’s research programs as well as its services to people living with diabetes.