Born Jonathan Smith on January 27, 1971, in Atlanta, GA, the producer/rapper began his rap industry ascension as part of Jermaine Dupri's So So Def label, for which he worked from 1993 to 2000. In the mid-'90s Lil Jon began making a name for himself as a producer with a knack for club remixes. Before long he formed his own group, Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, comprised of Big Sam and Lil Bo, in addition to himself.
Essentially a means of showcasing his production talent, and profiting from it as well, Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz signed to Mirror Image Records, an Atlanta-based label distributed by Ichiban Records. In 1997 the label released Who U Wit?, a CD single, and Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album; a second CD single, Shawty Freak a Lil Sumtin', followed in 1998. The regional success of "Who U Wit?" brought with it plenty of outside production.