Raised in Tampa, Florida, KJ-52 was the product of a broken home. He began writing rap songs at twelve years old, and at fifteen KJ converted to Christianity and wrote his first Christian rap while at home with a broken nose (sustained while pole vaulting.) While a teenager, KJ began working in youth ministry at a Florida inner-city church. He also recorded a demo, but it was largely ignored (although he admits to it being "really horrible"). It wasn't until KJ met a young, likeminded rapper named Goldinchild, the two formed the Sons of Intellect and began performing throughout Florida. Soon Golden Child moved on and the Sons dissolved. But that brief bit of success in Christian rap had whetted KJ's appetite, and in the summer of 1998 he stepped down from his youth minister position to pursue his Christian rap dream full-time. KJ-52 and many others would still consider him to be in the field of youth ministry, however, as the main consumers of rap/hip-hop music would fall into the category of "youth". KJ fills a significant portion of his songs with messages intended for the current generation of youth, addressing a multitude of issues regarding the church, and Christians in general.
A relationship with Gotee Records' Todd Collins led to a deal with Nashville CCM label Essential, who released 7th Avenue, in April 2000. The LP featured collaborations with the Cross Movement and Knowdaverbs.
In 2002, KJ-52 released his second album, Collaborations. The album's title referred to the numerous contributions made to the album by guest artists, including Ill Harmonics, Pillar, and Thousand Foot Krutch. Collaborations also represented KJ-52's first nominated for a Dove Award, for "Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Album of the Year" in 2003. The most controversial track on the record was entitled "Dear Slim". The track presented an open letter to Eminem, in a similar style to Eminem's song, "Stan". "Dear Slim" was premiered on the MTV countdown show Total Request Live, but was cut short, as is common for the show. The cutting short of the song upset KJ-52 and his fans by portraying the song as an open attack on Eminem. According to KJ-52, the song was not intended to be controversial or as an open "diss" on Eminem. His song "Dear Slim Pt. 2", which was included on his next solo project, It's Pronounced Five Two, addresses these issues. He has inspired such artists as J.C.P.,Nij Ha and popular Christian rapper Ezra.
KJ has won four Dove Awards, three in the "Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year" category. He took the 2004 award for It’s Pronounced Five Two, the 2006 award for Behind the Musik, and the 2007 award for Remixed. He received an additional honor in 2007, for "Never Look Away" from Behind the Musik, in the "Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song" category. KJ never tried out for American Idol but suggested such in his song Fivetweezy.
In 2005, KJ was number 26 on the hip hop Charts, VH1 featured him on 40 Least Hip Hop Moments, KJ responded with another rap song. The original segment, and KJ's tongue-in-cheek response, can be viewed on YouTube.
In 2006, KJ was featured in a Breakaway magazine article in which he talked about his ministry and his relationship with Goldinchild. KJ-52 was also in the revolve tour.
In 2007 he released his album, The Yearbook.
KJ's latest music video "Fan Mail was the most played video of its first week on the Gospel Music Channel.
On Oct. 2008, KJ is to release his album, The Yearbook: The Missing Pages, which is a re-release of his album, The Yearbook. It is to be a 2 disc set with 13 new/remixed tracks.
|Are You Real||Behind the Musik (A Boy Named Jonah)||ChristianRock.net||#1|
|Back in the Day||It's Pronounced Five Two||Christian-HipHop.net||#1|
|Dear Slim Pt. 2||It's Pronounced Five Two||Christian-HipHop.net||#1|
|Never Look Away (Featuring Brynn Sanchez)||Behind the Musik (A Boy Named Jonah)||Christian-HipHop.net||#1|
|Right Here||Behind the Musik (A Boy Named Jonah)||Christian-HipHop.net||#1|