At just 22-years-old, St. Louis native J-Kwon looks as though he could be another emerging artist on the scene, but he's actually already a Hip Hop vet. After achieving chart-topping success in 2004 with the single "Tipsy" from his So So Def/Arista debut album Hood Hop, the teen star was on top of the world. He followed with a few star-studded appearances, and then seemed to vanish without much explanation.
Now in 2009, J-Kwon is back in the saddle with a new digital album entitled Hood Hop 2, which will be released February 17 in association with Gracie Productions and EMI. J-Kwon also has a new label, Hood Hop Music, and has been honing his own instrumental and production skills.
When he was barely a teen, J-Kwon left home to pursue his music dreams. At age 15, he signed with St. Louis production team Trakboyz for $1,000 advance, and was swiftly introduced to MeMphHiTz, L.A. Reid and Jermaine Dupri at Arista Records. After his debut album spawned the hit single "Tipsy," which rose to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, everything seemed to be coming up roses for the young star. But when Arista folded, the Trackboyz' production deal was without a home.
“The experience was crazy, because it was what I had dreamed about,” explains J-Kwon. “I had dreams like making it to Saturday Night Live and Jay Leno - and I did that. Repping St. Louis was quite easy, because I had my friends and I was doing it. You’ve got Chingy, Nelly, then you’ve got J-Kwon. The city was on fire, and it was like a dice game - we were rolling too many 7's and 11's, and the industry turned that magnet off.”
J-Kwon turned his attention to building up Hood Hop Music, and recently teamed with Gracie Productions to put out the digital album Hood Hop 2. He still works with Jermaine Dupri and Trackboyz, and has dozens of completed songs awaiting release. When all is said and done, J-Kwon is confident in his own abilities, and envisions his creative endeavors without boundaries.
"J-Kwon is like a Black Rock & Roller who does whatever he feels like - we're not about to stress over music in '09," he states. "I want people to know that as an artist there isn't anything I won't do or try. Whoever wants a feature, let's get it. We don't know what J-Kwon would do - it's unorthodox. We'll figure it out as we go along."
For more information on J-Kwon, go to www.tygereye.net/jkwon and www.myspace.com/jkwon
For more information on Gracie Productions, go to www.gracieprod.com
Hood Hop 2 tracklist
1. Welcome 2 Da HoodHop2
2. Problemz - He Don't Want 'Em
3. F**k What U Tell Me
4. Rapper of da Year
7. Food 4 Thought
8. I Told You
9. Ain't Sh*t
10. Promotions f/ Gino Green
11. *Bonus Track* 4-Sho - I'm From St. Louis