J-Kwon's path to fame included mooning Arista head L.A. Reid and mocking producer Jermaine Dupri.
These events helped gain the MC a contract with the latter's So So Def, a subsidiary of the former's employer. However, his life was far more turbulent before that; kicked out his mother's house at the age of 12, he took to the street, dealt crack cocaine, and had his jaw broken after defeating a fellow MC in battle. His label deal helped turn that around. Before turning 18, his debut single, "Tipsy," had reached the Top Ten of just about every singles chart. Overseen by Dupri and produced almost in full by the Track Boyz, J-Kwon's full-length debut -- Hood Hop, released in March of 2004 -- appeared just as the hit was becoming unavoidable, and it went platinum. He was mostly quiet during the next few years, though he appeared on Bow Wow's single "Fresh Azimiz" (a Top 20 R&B/Hip-Hop hit), and returned in early 2009 with Hood Hop 2, an independently released album made available as a digital download. Hood Hop 2.5, released a few months later, was made available in physical form. In 2010 he issued a self-titled album, another independent disc. Three years later he issued "Pushing the Odds," a diss track aimed at Pusha-T and Odd Future. ~ Andy Kellman