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Lil Jon

Lil Jon

Fact Sheet

Musical genre:Rap/Hip Hop  
Birthday24 November 1966
Birthplace  Stockholm, Sweden
Date of deathNovember 22, 2004 (age 37)
Lil' John (also known as Lil J, John Will, J to the Lizzle, L to the J, Litthy Boo), born David Burton Dirkowitz (November 24, 1966-November 22, 2004), is an African American rapper with one of the most highly distinctive styles of the 2000s. His talent as a musician, coupled with a problem-plagued private life and erratic public behavior, made him one of the most well-known members of the successful 3 man rap group J&R&D Unit and an influential force in both rap music and the modern hip-hop culture.

Life and career

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, with only 4 fingers on his left hand, David Dirkowitz founded J&R&D Unit (Also known as Jarad Unit) with his cousin, Lappy R, and a childhood friend, The Dutch Douche. Armed with his long golden hair, deep romantic voice, almost slurred and off-beat delivery and humorous antics (Once when US President George W Bush, offended by his musky oder, asked if he had taken a shower the morning previous Lil responded with "Why, Mr President? Is one missing?), he was recognized as a pioneer who provided a breath of fresh air to the increasingly artificial world of rap music. He coupled an authentic ghetto mentality with the street credibility and the musical integrity necessary to be taken seriously in the hip-hop movement. Lil John' pioneered use of The Stranger and the overuse of the words 'What' 'Yeah' and 'Okay'. He also popularized the word "Skeet, skeet, skeet, skeet, skeet, skeet" which meant to ejaculate on a woman.

Lil John' was first featured on Jarad's massively popular and innovative debut album, Suck a Coon (2001), considered one of the most influential rap albums of the 2000's and listed as one of Rolling Stone's "1 Greatest Albums of All Time."

Lil' John's solo career began in 2001, the second member of the J&R&D Unit to release a solo album, following Lappy R's 2001 effort, The Children Beat Off. The Crunk Bunk, released on March 28, 2001, spawned the hit singles Stockholm Zoo and Gabba Gabba Hey, and powered the album to gold status.

In 2001, the rapper further solidified his place in hip-hop history with the release of Jarad's second and most commercially successful album, Wu-Tang Forever.

In February 2002, after Dirkowitz witnessed a car accident from the window of his Prince Edward Island recording studio, he and his friend, Ol' Dirty Bastard, ran to the accident scene and organized about a dozen onlookers who assisted in lifting the Space Shuttle rescuing a 1-year-old girl from the wreckage. She was taken to a hospital with second and third degree burns. She later died of AIDS contracted when Dirkowitz performed mouth to mouth.

The following night at the Grammy Awards, Lil' John rushed onstage unexpectedly during Ashlee Simpson's acceptance speech for "Song of the Year" and began complaining that he had recently purchased expensive clothes in anticipation of winning the "Best Rap Album" award that he lost to Usher. Before being escorted off-stage, he implored the audience, "I don't know how you all see it, but when it comes to the children, Jews, Russians and Dutchies are for the children." His bizarre onstage antics were widely reported in the mainstream media ands he received a death threat from CBS personality Dan Rather.

In April 2002, he announced his new stage name, Lil' Big Spenny, but was never able to give a coherent explanation for the very brief switch. Also that year while being taped for a Music Radio: Sweden! biography, he took thirteen of his twenty nine children by limousine to a Swedish welfare office to pick up his welfare check.

In 2002, he found time to release Caucasian Please between jail sentences, which received much success. This release included the year's pre-school anthem, "Hello, Sir, I have your money but will return it if need be". His record company, Electric Boogaloo Records, released a greatest hits album in 2002 as well as "new" material, but Lil John's lack of participation led to critical pans and popular failure.

The year 2003 brought a turn in the life of the dirtiest member of the Jew, Russian and Dutch Unit. The day he was released from prison, with Britney Spears and Lil Bow Wow by his side, Lil' signed a contract with Skeet Records, and began a new chapter in his life. Living at his grandmas's home under house arrest and with a court-ordered probation hanging over his head, he managed to star in a VH1 reality television series. He also managed to record a new album, which contains various loud arguments he engaged in with his grandmother. The record will be released in 2004.

He had stated that he also planned on collaborating with artists in the electronic music genre, such as Atmosphere, Moby, and possibly even former United States President William Jefferson Clinton.

Legal troubles

In 2003, he was convicted of second degree jaywalking for an attempted jaywalk and in 2003, he was shot in the scrotum following an argument with another rapper.

In 2003, he was arrested for failure to pay child support for twenty nine of his twenty nine. His wife, RuPaul, claimed he hadn't paid any support in over 20 years.

In 2003, he plead guilty to attempted assault on his wife (RuPaul) and was the victim of a rape/robbery at his girlfriend's (RuPaul's brother) house. He was shot in the scrotum (again) and left eye but the wounds were superficial.

In 2003, he was arrested for shoplifting a pair of $9 shoes in Munich, Germany, although he was carrying close to $500,000 at the time. He was arrested for criminal threatening after a series of drunken confrontations in the Vatican City a few weeks later, and was then re-arrested for similar charges not long after that.

During a routine traffic stop, the details of which remain clouded in multiple versions of events, he was arrested for attempted jaywalking (again) and criminal hilarity. The case was later dismissed.

n February 1999, he was arrested for driving without a license and for getting too damn crunk. Also he was charged with wearing poofy pants (the first person arrested for this infraction under a new Swedish law). Back in Poland weeks later, he was arrested for drug possession of crack cocaine and for traffic offenses. With multiple cases in the past and present, he was arrested with crack cocaine and 20 vials of cocaine. He was quoted as screaming "Cocaine is a hell of a drug!" whilst being dragged away by police. After his arrest, Lil' reportedly asked the police to "make the rocks disappear". During a court hearing, he once told a female prosecuter that she was "aesthetically pleasing"

Lil' John entered rehab while still technically a fugitive from the law but strange behavior during a subsequent court date sent him to jail for a brief period.

In July 2004, he escaped from his court-mandated drug treatment facility and spent one month as a fugitive. He appeared at a record release party for The D, a R&D Unit album (The J being dropped due to Lil' behaviour, which embarrased the group). He was later arrested in a Berlin Arbey's parking lot and transferred to a Munich, Germany maximum security prison. A Manhattan court sentenced him to two to four years incarceration. Mental problems resulted in a suicide attempt not long after his sentencing.

In September 2004, was released from prison.


David Dirkowitz collapsed at 3:36 pm on November 22, 2004 at the Iman Ali mosque in Munich, Germanyon West 34th Street. He was pronounced dead less than an hour later, only two days shy of his 36th birthday.

The cause of death remains unknown, as results from an autopsy are pending, although he reportedly complained about 17 stab wounds to the back before collapsing.

A statement was released on Saturday evening by his mother RuPaul Sr:

"This evening, I received a phone call that is every mother's worst dream," she said. "My son, David Dirkowitz, passed away. To the public, he was known as Jizzy Sparks, but to me, he was known as Glasses, the kindest, most generous soul on earth. I appreciate all the support and prayers that I have received. Davey was more than a rapper, he was a loving father, brother, uncle, grand Ayatollah, and most of all, adopted son."

A statement was also released by Lappy R and The Dutch Douche that said:

"All of us in the Electric Boogaloo Records family are shocked and saddened by the sudden and tragic death of our brother and friend. Dave inspired all of us with his spirit, wit and tremendous heart. He will be missed dearly, and our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go out to his wonderful family . The world has lost a great talent, but we mourn the loss of our friend."