NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04: Lil Jon, Nicole Smith and Nathan Smith attends the Pencils Of Prom...
Steven Ferdman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Lil Jon Takes His Son’s Birthdays Very, Very Seriously

The “Turn Down For What” rapper has been married for nearly two decades and is very supportive of his son’s DJ career.

by Kaitlin Kimont

When you think of Lil Jon, it’s basically a reflex to yell “Yeeeaahhh!” The rapper, record producer, and one of the leading forces behind the crunk era of hip hop is famous for countless hits from the early 2000s like “Get Low,” “Salt Shaker,” and “Snap Yo Fingers.” Then, of course, there’s the ultimate party track “Turn Down For What,” which Lil Jon, now 53, released in 2013 with DJ Snake and has been used in tons of movies, TV episodes, and commercials. In between all of that success, Lil Jon also got married and became a father to a son who has been following in his footsteps for years. Here’s what else you need to know about Lil Jon’s family and life as a dad.

Who is Lil Jon’s wife?

The rapper and DJ has been married to his wife Nicole since 2004 and the couple will celebrate 20 years of marriage this year. While her husband is mega famous, Nicole tends to keep a low profile and Lil Jon rarely talks about his marriage in interviews. Speaking to HuffPost in 2014, however, Lil Jon reflected on how people can evolve throughout a marriage. “You learn to adapt to people as time goes by... because nobody’s damn perfect,” he told the news outlet at the time. “And you also change — you see stuff that you do that’s not perfect and you change yourself a little bit to fit in with your spouse.”

While there are few photos of the couple together, the whole family, including their son Nathan, made a public appearance together for a charity event in November 2019 for Pencils of Promise Gala, a nonprofit that builds schools and helps to create educational opportunities for children in the developing world.

Lil Jon with his wife Nicole Smith and their son Nathan Smith in 2019. Steven Ferdman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

How many kids does Lil Jon have?

Lil Jon has one child, a son named Nathan Smith, with his wife Nicole. Nathan was born in April 1998 and will celebrate his 26th birthday this year, and the proud dad will surely do something big to celebrate. In 2016, to celebrate his 18th birthday and getting accepted into college, Lil Jon surprised his son with a trip to Vegas to see his first UFC fight. And in 2017, Lil Jon shared a loving Instagram post for his 19th birthday and called his son his “YOUNG KING.”

Indeed, Lil Jon is dedicated dad who takes birthdays seriously. In an interview with Loop in 2015, he revealed that turned down a major gig with Usher and Ludacris in 2004 so he could be at his son’s birthday party.

“I just always try to be there as much as I can for my family and my son. True story, I’ve never missed one of my son’s birthdays,” he shared. “‘Yeah!’ was at its biggest point, Usher was doing Saturday Night Live, so he wanted me and Luda to go do Saturday Night Live with him. The biggest, biggest height of ‘Yeah!’ but I had to turn it down because it was my son’s birthday.”

Lil Jon’s son Nathan is also a DJ.

Lil Jon’s son also goes by his stage name, DJ Young Slade. Nathan was inspired to start his DJ career when he was just 11 years old after going to gig with his dad. “My mom was sick and my dad was like, ‘Hey come to this party with me. I’m DJing tonight,’” Nathan shared during an appearance on the Boris and Nicole Show. “I was 11 [years old] so I was just like, ‘Oh, okay.’” Lil Jon corrected his son that the gig “wasn’t a party, it was an awards show. It was a skateboarding awards show.”

“He’s naturally gifted, he’s naturally talented,” the proud dad added about his son.

Lil Jon’s son credits his parents for keeping him “grounded” because they’re strict.

“My parents keeping me grounded and making sure I’m always staying in the right places,” DJ Young Slade said on the Boris and Nicole Show when asked about how he doesn’t get distracted in Hollywood. He added that his parents “being strict” has helped him stay focused.

Lil Jon admitted on The Boris and Nicole Show that he tries to be “harder” on his son because he knows how difficult the music industry can be, but did tell HuffPost in 2014 that you definitely want to behave under his wife’s watch. “His mother is crazier than me so he definitely doesn’t wanna get his mom pissed off,” the rapper told HuffPost.

Lil Jon struggles with a relatable parenting milestone, too.

Yup, Lil Jon also wishes he could have prepared for just how fast your kids grow up. “They’re gonna grow up and not gonna like you no more at a certain point,” he told The Loop in 2015. “Your kid is gonna be, like, a baby, you’re gonna be holding them in your arms, and the next day they’re gonna be 5 years old running around. Then they’re gonna be like 12 and they’re not gonna want anything to do with you. There’s no more sleeping in the bed with you and the wife ... They’re on their own thing.”

“When you first have a kid, you don’t expect them to grow up but they’re gonna grow up and become independent and want to be away from you,” he added. “It happens to everybody, it don’t matter how great or big of a superstar you are. Eventually your kids are not going to want to have nothing to do with you, so to speak.”