It's been a crazy 12 weeks for Jerrell "J-Kwon" Jones since
"Tipsy" cracked Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart. He's gone from being broke and unknown to shutting down malls and earning money to take care of his family.
"I got two kids," the self-appointed "Teen President" said last week in New York. "My reason for paper is not like everybody else's reasons for paper. My reason for paper is not to just ice me down or Sprewell my car up — which I did do some of those things, I'm not gonna sit up here and lie and act like I'm all perfect. But my kids mean a lot to me. My kids, my momma, my brother. [The money's] gotta spread around. That's why I gotta stay consistently on top of my game at all times."
While spending money isn't too big of a problem for him now, spending time is. Kwon lamented that the hectic lifestyle of performing and promoting his March 30 debut, Hood Hop, hasn't afforded him much time to see his two-year-old daughter and infant son.
"Right now the game is kicking my ass," he said. "My kids be like, 'Daddy, daddy,' but the game be like, 'I'll drop your record.' I gotta be there for [the kids] and be there for this. Parenthood is time-consuming. The game is, right now, time-consuming. My kids are with their mother, I thank her for holding that down. All I can do right now is send money. I know money ain't enough, because love is the most important. You don't want to walk home and your kids don't even know who you are. We're gonna figure something out. I'mma keep my kids on the tour bus or something."
Kwon doesn't have all complaints about his stardom. He likes to ham it up for the fans and rarely turns down requests for autographs or pictures. Sometimes he even seeks out the opportunity to grant them.
"Some people say, 'Dog, Kwon, something is wrong with you,' " he said shamelessly. "I really love it. If there is one person in a restaurant, I won't even eat there. It's gotta be filled up. I like when people go, 'Girl, that is not him.' 'Yes it is!' 'Girl, that is not him.' 'Yes it is!' "
J's high profile did get a little too out of hand initially. Some fans caught him unprepared in his hometown.
"After I shut my first mall down, it kept happening," he said with a smile, recalling an incident a little over a month ago that put shoppers in a tizzy. "The first one was in St. Louis. That's real big. I never expected it, I never seen it coming. Somebody said, 'Hey, that’s Kwon!' I looked back, it was at least five thousand girls. 'It is him!' I started to run. I was walking tough at first, but my one security [guard] couldn't hold it down."
Kwon is looking for some of his hometown compatriots to hold him down on a remix of "Tipsy" that he wants to release in the next couple of weeks.
"I'mma keep it so St. Louis, that's all I can say,' he hinted of the lineup. "I'mma try to keep it so St. Louis. I got [a few different] versions done. It's gonna shock people."
One person who might be in for a surprise when he hears the new version of the song is B2K's estranged lead singer, Omarion. For some reason, J said he took exception to the braided crooner singing over his beat to "Tipsy" on a freestyle.
"Omarion, you definitely not doing my remix," he said. "I don't mess with you dudes. The remix is dropping, you gonna be like, 'Man, Kwon got ignorant.' You gonna steal my beat right and get 50 spins a week on the radio? Then come off, 'One, to the two, to the three ... ?' I got something for you, shorty."
Despite J-Kwon's original version of "Tipsy" hitting #3 on the
Billboard Hot 100 and his repeated explanations of the song's concept (see "J-Kwon's 'Tipsy' Road To Success Included Mooning L.A. Reid, Mocking Dupri"), the young MC said he still catches a little flack for the reference to drinking alcohol in the chorus.
"[When] I shot the video, it was not a bottle in my hand, it was not a red cup in my hand," he huffed. "Nothing that says drinking. I can't understand it. When the parents get the album, I want y'all to review it. Go 'head. If I do say something out of the way, look close to your teen and stop thinking I'm promoting something. They may be promoting
it to themselves.
"I'm just really trying to help [parents] and put it out there that teens do it all," he added. "We could keep listening to Bow Wow and hiding it, or we can get real and start doing something about it. [The adults] be gone too much to know what we do. I know 'cause I'm a teen. I'm the Teen President."