In its second installation of 2018, BET Digital’s new Finding series spun its compass to the Midwest to locate and unfold the story behind one of St. Louis hip-hop’s not-so-forgotten gems of the early 2000s, J-Kwon.
The last time you’d heard of the rapper behind 2004’s club-jumping “Tipsy” banger was probably after the masses falsely reported him missing in 2010. He later went on to confirm the reports as untrue via webcam. For Finding, J-Kwon is clearing up any more confusion about his music industry footprints and peeling back the layers on the untold story of life before and after “Tipsy.”
As the youngest of his mother’s three sons, J-Kwon, born Jerrell C. Jones, left home at the age of 12 after his mother cracked down on his school absences. Journeying across the way to St. Louis, he’d soon learn the colder realities of life on the streets when his family members left him forsaken in such trying times for an adolescent. Thankfully, his uncle took him in when even his own brother’s grandmother would not). He was allowed to sleep in his “deuce and a quarter,” which, unbeknownst to 12-year-old J-Kwon, was slang for his Buick.
Despite such humble beginnings teaching him early lessons in survival, J-Kwon admitted that it was a stormily dark place he’d never willfully return to. “I’m nothing like the old me,” he said. “I don’t even want to visit that place. It was scary.”
From tapping into hip-hop via a phone conversation, to flying beneath the wing of Trackboyz, to jumping to Barry Weiss’ Jive Records roster, to beef with Odd Future and Pusha T, to “being raped for money for years,” he becomes more candid than ever.
With the shift of tides rising on the horizon of hip-hop’s new era, Finding: J-Kwon arrives as one of the most necessary narratives of 2000s’ great antiquity.
Turn back and up with the “Tipsy” hit creator himself in our second Finding episode above.