Lil John is the stage name of American DJ, music producer and rapper Jonathan Smith, who gained fame as the frontman of Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz. Having played an important role in the emergence of the hip-hop subgenre Crunk, the performer won a Grammy for the song "Yeah!" and the Academy of Recording nomination for the video for the song "Turn Down For What", which was actively rotated on YouTube and MTV.
Jonathan Mortimer Smith, best known as Lil John, was born on January 17, 1971 in Atlanta to a middle-class family. As the eldest of five children of employees of the American military-industrial corporation Lockheed Martin, the boy spent his early years caring for his growing siblings.
During his years at Frederick Douglas High School, Jonathan started a company and met Robert McDowell, Duane Searcy and Vince Phillips, who became his friends and business partners for years to come. The teenagers were fond of skateboarding and in their free time they worked part-time in a store selling bicycles and special equipment for extreme sportsmen.
Once in the American program of "magnetic schools", the young man began to specialize in the field of art and, having completed training in a youth orchestra, became interested in the process of mixing and playing musical compositions.