Born: c. 1980
Birthplace: Houston, Texas
Best known as: Houston-grown rapper of the single "Still Tippin'"
Ambitious, strident and witty, Mike Jones climbed to #1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop charts with his 2005 national debut album Who Is Mike Jones? The album's title was a nod to Jones's favorite play from his up-and-coming days in Houston: dropping his own name into his raps, followed by the question "Who?" (Taking self-promotion one step further, he repeatedly mentioned his cell phone number, too: 281-330-8004.) Jones's official bio says he didn't begin rapping in earnest until 2001, after which he created his own label (Ice Age Entertainment) before signing with the SwishaHouse label, which took him to Warner Brothers and national exposure. Who Is Mike Jones? was powered by the single "Still Tippin'," Jones's homage to cruising in tricked-out cars, or "slabs." Jones is also known for a Houston specialty: rapping over "screwed" (slowed and warped) versions of familiar hip-hop beats. The release of his second album, The American Dream (2007), was accompanied by a direct-to-DVD, rags-to-riches film of the same name.
Extra credit: The lengthy tattoo on Jones's right arm reads: "If you don't work you don't eat, you don't grind you don't shine."
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