Lil Jon Saves His Energy for the Stage: Rapper Admits 'I'm Kind of Quiet' When Not Performing
The “Turn Down For What” rapper serves as a resident DJ for Premier Nightclub at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey
When clubgoers see Lil Jon passing out shots and shouting out “all the single girls” during a DJ set, it’s hard to imagine the rapper as someone who considers himself shy.
“I’m kind of quiet,” Lil Jon, 47, tells PEOPLE. “I like being by myself. Sometimes people meet me before I get on and I’m just sitting there kind of quiet to myself and they’re like, ‘You okay?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I was taking everything in and get mentally prepared.’”
Before he hits the turntables — like at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s Premier Nightclub in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he’s a resident DJ — Lil Jon likes to feel out the crowd an hour ahead of his set to “get a vibe of the crowd,” he says. “I go listen to them and then I drink tequila and do my thing.”
The man who joined LMFAO on 2009’s “Shots” calls straight tequila his favorite way to pregame. “I can’t go to the bathroom while I’m DJing ‘cause I have a two-hour set, so I just drink it straight,” Lil Jon says. “But when I’m not working, I do it on the rocks.”
Lil Jon pays homage to another one of his Mexican favorites on his new song “Taco Tuesday,” which he says is actually “about all Mexican food.” In honor of the track, Lil Jon handed out tacos (and shots!) at Borgata’s Moneyline Bar & Book during Saturday night’s UFC 241.
“I like a nice chicken taco,” the Grammy winner says. “And of course fajitas.”
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Unfortunately, Lil Jon’s demanding schedule doesn’t often allow him to enjoy Taco Tuesdays at home with his wife Nicole Smith and 21-year-old son Nathan. “I’m always on the road,” Lil Jon says.
But the Atlanta native plans to take some time off next month, and he spends all major holidays with his family. Thanksgiving holds an especially important place in his heart because that’s the time of year when he married Smith in 2004. However, the two don’t have any romantic celebrations in the works to honor 15 years of marriage this year.
“Once you get past 10 [years] you’re like, let’s just relax,” Lil Jon says. “Relaxing and hanging out is good enough.”
Before the start of 2020, Lil Jon hopes to also release at least two more songs. “I’ve got a lot of songs that are in the can,” he says. “Hopefully I can drop two more before the end of the year and then a couple at the top of the year. But they’re pretty much done.”
The “Snap Yo Fingers” singer additionally teases that’s “working on a lot of big things.”
“Maybe some more TV commercials,” says Lil Jon, who appeared in viral Hotels.com and Kool-Aid ads in the last year. “Then I carve out some time throughout the year to just be with the wife and my son.”