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Lil Jon, whose hit 2003 single “Get Low” includes the line “To the window, to the wall,” is now spending his time thinking about, well, people’s windows and walls.
The hip-hop personality, who has dabbled in TV over the years, including a stint as a guest host on ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise last summer, is now leading his own series. Premiering Monday, HGTV’s Lil Jon Wants to Do What? features the titular star and home design expert Anitra Mecadon working with homeowners to update their abodes in unexpected ways.
Lil Jon and Mecadon have been friends for five years, dating back to when the rapper was bingeing home-renovation shows while getting his own Atlanta pad fixed up following a plumbing issue. Lil Jon reached out to Mecadon for help with his place after checking out her DIY Network series Mega Dens, and the pair realized they had a unique connection.
“I just really fell in love with doing this by putting my house together and pushing the limits of what I could do,” Lil Jon tells The Hollywood Reporter. “In my house, I wanted to create this 100-year-old tequila bar. So I had to find someone to figure out how to make the walls look like concrete that’s crumbling a little bit, like it’s super old. And through working with Anitra, we just figured out that we work really well together, and Anitra’s husband, Adam, was like, ‘Y’all should really do this together for real because y’all work so well together, and y’all both have really good ideas.’ And so we ended up shooting a pilot, and a couple years later, HGTV picked it up.”
Mecadon expects some viewers to feel surprised by how reserved and detail-oriented Lil Jon can be, along with how thoughtful he is with the homeowners. Both Mecadon and Lil Jon attribute his time spent over the decades in countless ritzy hotels while touring with helping him hone his eye for creating a space.
“Because he was so creative, he’s naturally good in this world,” Mecadon tells THR. “He did his research; he was watching the shows; he was making what we call inspiration boards and taking notes. His wife [Nicole] had a giant binder, and he would send me a barrage of like, ‘I saw this on Etsy.’ ‘I saw this on Pinterest.’ ‘I was here in Morocco.’ ‘I was here in Dubai.’ And I’m going, ‘Oh, my God.’ He has a vision, which is kind of rare.”
One perk of having Lil Jon’s help in sprucing up your home is living a bit of the good life with him, which includes the rapper taking tequila shots with all the homeowners. “The tequila comes as a peace offering,” he explains. “We go on this journey, and it’s like, ‘Hey, trust us. Let’s do this shot because we are in this together.’ It’s kind of something to break the tension of thinking about what’s about to happen and how much you’re spending and like, ‘Oh, my God, this is Lil Jon in my house — hopefully this is right.’ And we do that every episode — I make it a point that we do a shot before the job, and then right before the reveal as like, ‘We made it to the finish line. Let’s cheers to that.’ And to also thank the homeowners for trusting us with their spaces. You know, who doesn’t wanna do a shot of tequila with me?”
Lil Jon isn’t letting go of his day job in the music industry anytime soon — he recently collaborated with Daddy Yankee on the reggaeton performer’s latest album — but he also hopes to continue getting more involved in TV. He was a standout on season 11 of The Apprentice back in 2011 and later competed on the all-star edition of the series, and he says that show helped him prove to himself that he “can literally do anything,” given the challenging nature of the tasks. Roughly a decade later, he entertained Bachelor in Paradise viewers as one of several guest hosts for the dating series.
“It was a crazy season, and it was fun,” Lil Jon says about Paradise. “If they called me back to do some more stuff like that, I would definitely do it. And it just was a really cool experience because I had never really stood on my own like that and hosted a show, and I did a lot of the voiceover work. Definitely more TV for me.”
In the meantime, he’s excited for fans to continue learning more about who he is and how seriously he takes his work. Plus, he makes it clear that he takes pride in knowing that all of the homeowners on the show seem to love the results. “People just look at me as the crazy guy screaming, but you can’t be like that all the time,” he says. “I’m not like that 24 hours a day.”
Lil Jon Wants to Do What? airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on HGTV.
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