How Lil Jon Went From Rap To HGTV

Lil Jon may be better known for creating crunk than upcycling junk, but he's letting the world know that he is a man of many talents. Now, he's showing off another side in his surprising new career move. According to All Music, the rapper, whose birth name is Jonathan H. Smith, used to lead Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz before becoming a solo artist in 2010. The New York Times reports that Lil Jon was a pioneer in the hip hop offshoot, a genre known as "crunk."

Lil Jon is known for turning the underground subgenre into a mainstream sound that defined popular music in the 2010s. The Atlanta-born musician has also been credited for leading the "Southern takeover" of hip-hop by The New York Times. Lil Jon doesn't just take to the mic, he's also known for spinning the decks as a DJ and being an accomplished music producer. Lil Jon also helped make Usher into a superstar when the duo, along with Southern rapper Ludacris, won a Grammy for their collaboration on the eternally catchy track "Yeah!" 

Over his career, Lil Jon has scored a glittering array of awards for his musical gifts, and in 2016 he was named one of Billboard Music's Top Award Winners of All Time. So, why's the self-proclaimed grandmaster of "crunk&B" taking his talents to TV? And not just any TV network, but  HGTV, the home improvement network that gave the world "Property Brothers." At first glance, the combination of a music legend and a home network may not seem a likely fit. But here's how Lil Jon went from rap royalty to HGTV star.

Lil Jon goes from rapper to HGTV wall paperer

Lil Jon going from rap maestro to HGTV host may seem like an unlikely career shift. But then, who could have envisioned Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg becoming besties? Legendary lyricist Lil Jon is smashing down the walls, in his new show, "Lil Jon Wants to Do What?" which premiered in May 2022.

HGTV announced the news in a tweet, which he shared on Instagram. "SOOOO BEEN WORKING ON THIS FOR A WHILE AND CAN FINALLY TELL YA ABOUT MY NEW SHOW WITH @anitramecadon ON @hgtv "LIL JON WANTS TO DO WHAT?!!" WHERE I .... WELL You JUST GOTTA WATCH," Lil Jon announced in a screenshot. "I love walking into someone's house and turning it upside down," he told HGTV. "When people hear my name, they automatically think ... fun! That same energy goes for my designs as well. I don't love following design trends — I would rather be the trendsetter."

The rapper-turned-home designer told People that he scored the gig after hiring interior designer and co-host Anita Mecadon to renovate his Atlanta mansion in 2017 when it was damaged in a small flood. The two instantly clicked, and the rest is HGTV history. "It's not all about screaming and partying on this HGTV show," Lil Jon vowed. "It's really about catching a vibe from people, listening to the homeowners, and [giving them] a place where they can create memories with their family."