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Entertainment Weekly

Music

Lil Jon on staying relevant in pop culture and making a Christmas song with the Kool-Aid Man

Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

Posted on

When given the opportunity to collaborate with the Kool-Aid Man, Lil Jon had an easy — and predictable — answer: “Yeah!”

Back in December, the 48-year-old rapper and producer earned immediate induction into EW’s ridiculous Christmas rap song Hall of Fame with the release of “All I Really Want for Christmas,” which featured the one and only Kool-Aid Man.

“I had that track laying around for a while, and then me and Kool-Aid connected and it just felt special,” Lil Jon tells EW. “To see the Kool-Aid man in person, it was like, ‘Wow, this is really happening.’ Fast track, we got 2 million hits off of that in a week. It was just something cool to do; I always wanted to do a Christmas song and then to be able to use a brand figure like the Kool-Aid Man in something was pretty amazing.”

Working with brands like Kool-Aid was just the beginning of the rapper’s commercial resurgence, following that up with a Super Bowl spot for Pepsi alongside Steve Carell and Cardi B, and a recent team-up with Captain Obvious for Hotels.com. “It just shows you my relevance to pop culture,” he explains. “I have a brand and a personality and a face that everyone knows.”

And much of that is thanks to his memorable and often-parodied catchphrase, “Yeah!” “That’s never going away; that will be around forever,” he says. “Every weekend, no matter if you go to a Bar Mitzvah, a wedding, or a nightclub, you’re going to hear my voice.”

While it’s been almost a decade since his last album, Lil Jon says there’s no plans for a follow-up, and is instead focusing on his Las Vegas residency and continuing to churn out new singles that will include the likes of Tyga, Chris Brown, and the late Mac Dre. But, there’s one thing you won’t catch him doing: appearing on his favorite TV show, The Walking Dead.

“That would be pretty funny,” he says with a laugh at the suggestion of him playing a walker. “They put those guys in zombie school, you have to learn to be a walker. But I’m cool with just watching.”

No! There goes our possible Rick Grimes replacement.

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