Juelz Santana

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Juelz Santana
James in July 2005
Background information
Birth nameLaRon Louis James
Born (1982-02-18) February 18, 1982 (age 37)
New York City, New York, U.S.
GenresHip hop
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • actor
Years active1995–present
Associated acts

LaRon Louis James (born February 18, 1982),[1] known professionally as Juelz Santana, is an American rapper, recording artist and member of East Coast hip hop group The Diplomats, also known as Dipset. He is best known for his appearances on Cam'ron's 2002 singles, "Oh Boy" and "Hey Ma", which peaked at #4 and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively, as well as Chris Brown's 2005 triple-platinum single, "Run It!", which topped Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks.[2]

His albums, From Me to U (2003) and What the Game's Been Missing! (2005) peaked at #8 and #9 on the Billboard 200 respectively, the latter containing the platinum single, "There It Go (The Whistle Song)".

Early life[edit]

LaRon James was born in New York City to an African-American mother and a Dominican father.[3] He was raised in the Harlem section of Manhattan and began rapping at the age of 5.


Beginnings (1994–2001)[edit]

At 12, James formed the rap duo, Draftpick, with Malik, a neighbourhood friend. The group first gained recognition after several performances around New York City, including Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater, where they won two weeks in a row. The two got signed to Priority Records when James was 15 years old.[4] They released one single on the label, "Play Ruff", with Memphis Bleek and Tracey Lee.[5]

In 1998, James was introduced to Cam'ron through his cousin, Tobe,[6][7] and shortly thereafter, took on the name Juelz Santana and became a member of his hip hop collective, The Diplomats, alongside Jim Jones and Freekey Zekey.[8] Santana's first collaboration with the group was the Trackmasters remix of "What Means the World to You", followed by the tracks "Double Up" and "All the Chickens", on Cam'ron's second studio album, S.D.E., released on September 19, 2000 through Epic Records.

From Me to U (2002–03)[edit]

On December 4, 2001, Cam'ron signed to Roc-a-Fella Records[9] and released his third studio album, Come Home with Me, on May 14, 2002, which featured further collaborations with Santana, including "Welcome to New York City", "Hey Ma" and "Oh Boy", which earned Santana his first Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group at the 2003 Grammy Awards.

The album's success led to Santana and the remaining Diplomats also signing deals with Roc-a-Fella, under the imprint Diplomat Records. After four mixtapes, the group released their first album on Diplomatic Immunity on March 25, 2003, which debut at #8 on the Billboard 200, selling 92,000 copies in its first week and eventually being certified Gold by the RIAA.[10] Santana caused a minor controversy before the album's release when he described himself as a "young Mohammed Atta" on a leaked version of the track "I Love You", just months after the September 11 attacks.[11][12][13] In a retrospective, Complex named the album one of the classic albums of the decade.[14]

On August 19, 2003, Santana released his debut album, From Me to U, which peaked at #8 in the Billboard 200. The album as preceded by the mixtape, Final Destination, released on June 17, 2003, and the single "Dipset (Santana's Town)", which peaked at #70 on the Billboard Top 100 and was nominated at the 2004 Grammy Awards for the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

What the Game's Been Missing! (2004–06)[edit]

Following the disputes at the label,[15] the Diplomats severed ties with Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam and signed to independent label Koch Records. The group released their second album, Diplomatic Immunity 2, on November 23, 2004, with new members Hell Rell, 40 Cal., and J. R. Writer.

On December 23, 2004, Santana released "Mic Check", the lead single from his sophomore album. The single peaked at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100.[16]

In April 2005, Santana announced that he had returned to Def Jam and signed a new joint-venture deal with them.[17] On May 29, 2005, Santana released the album second single, "There It Go (The Whistle Song)", which became his highest charting single to date, peaking at #6 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Hot Rap tracks charts. A third single, "Oh Yes", reached #56 on the Hot 100 and #8 on the Rap charts, and a fourth, "Clockwork" peaked at #68. On June 30, 2005, Santana was featured on Chris Brown's "Run It!", which went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks.

On November 22, 2005, Santana released What the Game's Been Missing!, his second album. Both the album and the single "There It Go" were certified Gold by the RIAA.[18]

Born to Lose, Built to Win (2007–16)[edit]

In 2007, rifts and disagreements between the various Dipset members was beyond repair and the group disbanded.[19][20]In August 2008, it was reported that Cam'ron had sold his contract to Def Jam,[21][22], leaving Santana to form the hip hop collective Skull Gang and label imprint Skull Gang Entertainment.[23] The group released the mixtapes Takeover on September 19, 2008, and the Christmas-themed A Tribute to Bad Santa Starring Mike Epps with Jim Jones on November 25, 2008, before their debut album, Skull Gang, was released on May 5, 2009.

In 2008, Santana began working on his third album, Born to Lose, Built to Win.[24] Despite several single releases, including 2007's "The Second Coming" with Just Blaze, 2009's "Mixin' Up the Medicine" with Yelawolf and "Back to the Crib" with Chris Brown, the album was never released. During this time, Juelz' contributions to Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III led to his third Grammy Award nomination, Album of the Year at the 2009 Grammy Awards.

In April 2010, Cam'ron and Jim Jones officially announced the end of their feud,[25] and The Diplomats reunited for several singles after signing with Interscope Records.[26] In 2011 and 2012, Santana made brief appearances on the first two seasons of VH1 reality series Love & Hip Hop: New York, alongside other Dipset group members and their significant others.

On December 21, 2012, Santana announced the release of the mixtape God Will'n, his first solo project in eight years.[27] It was released on January 14, 2013, with XXL later naming it the 9th best mixtape of the year.[28] It was preceded by the singles "Bodies" featuring Lil Reese, and "Soft" featuring Fabolous, Rick Ross and Meek Mill.[29] Santana also released music videos for "Nobody Knows" featuring Future, "Awesome" featuring Wale, and "Everything Is Good" featuring Wiz Khalifa, saying that he had shot music videos for every song on the tape.[30] A month later, Santana announced his collaboration with Queens-based clothing brand collective, S.B.O.E (Slow Bucks Over Everything), with the release of the mixtape All We Got Is Us.[31][32]

In November 2016, Santana joined the supporting cast of Love & Hip Hop: New York in its seventh season, releasing the freestyle "Up In The Studio Gettin Blown".[33]

Dipset reunion (2017–present)[edit]

On November 21, 2017, Santana, Cam'ron, Jim Jones and Freekey Zekey reunited onstage for a performance at the Hammerstein Ballroom.[34][35] In 2018, the group went on a national tour, Dipset Forever,[36][37] and released their third album, Diplomatic Ties on November 22, 2018.[38][39][40]

In November 2018, Santana returned to Love & Hip Hop: New York as a main cast member for its ninth season, which chronicled his ongoing legal struggles.

Personal life[edit]

On November 23, 2018, Santana proposed to urban model and video vixen Kimbella Vanderee during the Diplomats show at the Apollo Theater.[41] They married on January 10, 2019.

Santana and Vanderhee were in an on-again, off-again relationship since 2009 and have three children together, Juelz Santana James, born in 2010, Bella Monroe James, born in 2012, and Santana James, born in 2019.

Santana also has a son from a previous relationship, LaRon Louis James Jr., born in 2003.

Juelz returned in full force for 2018 with new music, new visuals, new deals, and new teeth[42][43][44]

Legal issues[edit]

In January 2011, Santana's recording studio in Bergenfield, New Jersey was raided, after a 10-month investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office and Gang Unit. They discovered two loaded 9mm handguns, boxes of ammunition and 3 ounces (85 g) of marijuana.[45]

In February 2, 2011, Santana was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm, possession of a handgun without a permit, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.[46] On March 22, 2011, Santana missed a performance at Chris Brown's record release party when he was stopped and searched by police.[47] In November 2011 he was charged with making terrorist threats and disorderly conduct.[45]

In March 2018, Santana fled Newark Liberty International Airport, leaving his passport, identification and luggage behind after Transportation Security Administration agents examining his carry-on luggage found a loaded .38-caliber handgun inside his bag, as well as eight oxycodone pills. After going on the run for three days, Santana turned himself into the custody of the Port Authority Police Department on March 12.[48] On March 26, Santana was denied bail.[49] Santana was released from custody on April 6, 2018, when his mother posted $500,000 bail after putting her house up.[50][51] He was ordered to remain in the custody of his mother and remained on house arrest at his mother's residence in New Jersey while he awaited a federal trial. He was later allowed to tour with the Diplomats on their 2018 reunion tour, under the condition that his mother accompanied him.[44] On December 18, Santana was sentenced to 27 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release.[52] Santana began serving his sentence at the medium security FCI Petersburg in Hopewell, Virginia on March 1, 2019.[53][54]


Studio albums



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  2. ^ "Brown's 'Run It!' Sprints to No. 1".
  3. ^ "9 rappers you didn't know were latinoJuelz Santana". Complex. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Biography". Def Jam. Archived from the original on 2006-02-03. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  5. ^ "Draftpick - Play Ruff".
  6. ^ "Juelz Santana | Agency for Artists".
  7. ^ "The Diplomats".
  8. ^ Kellman, Andy (2005). "Juelz Santana > Biography". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  9. ^ "Cam'ron is Set to Blow with Roc-A-Fella".
  10. ^ "Linkin Park's 'Meteora' Crashes Chart At No. 1". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
  11. ^ "Cam'ron's Crew Defends 9/11 Lyric | Nme". 2002-08-27.
  12. ^ "Revisiting Dipset's Complicated & Provocative Relationship with 9/11". 2019-09-11.
  13. ^ "Verbal Diplomacy: Juelz Santana and Rap's Response to 9/11 by Paul Devlin - BOMB Magazine".
  14. ^ "The Diplomats, Diplomatic Immunity (2003) – 25 Rap Albums From the Past Decade That Deserve Classic Status". Complex. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  15. ^ "The Diplomats to Release New Album for First Time in 14 Years". 2018-10-29.
  16. ^ "Juelz Santana > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  17. ^ "Dip Set Poised to Conquer: New LPS from Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana on Tap".
  18. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - January 04, 2015". riaa.com. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015.
  19. ^ "Juelz Santana Reveals That, Like Jim Jones, He Hasn't Been Speaking with Cam'ron Either".
  20. ^ Archived 2008-09-13 at the Wayback Machine DefSounds Accessed August 17, 2008.
  21. ^ Archived 2008-09-11 at the Wayback Machine DefSounds. Accessed August 27, 2008.
  22. ^ "Cam'ron Says He Sold Juelz Santanta's Contract for $2 Million - XXL".
  23. ^ "Juelz Santana Says Skull Gang is Not Dipset - XXL".
  24. ^ "Juelz Santana Says Lil Wayne Will Executive Produce His Album". HipHopDX.
  25. ^ "MissInfo.tv » Miss Info Exclusive: Cam'ron and Jim Jones rebuild friendship, Jimmy issues public apology". Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  26. ^ "Freekey Zekey Says The Diplomats' Interscope Deal Is "Going Down"". Home of Hip Hop Videos & Rap Music, News, Video, Mixtapes & more. 2010-10-09. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  27. ^ Homie, Big (December 29, 2012). "Juelz Santana God Will'n Cover". Rap Radar. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  28. ^ "The 25 Best Mixtapes Of 2013 - Page 5 of 6 - XXL". Xxlmag.com. 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2015-06-16.
  29. ^ Zach Frydenlund. "Listen: Juelz Santana f/ Rick Ross, Meek Mill & Fabolous "Soft"". Complex.
  30. ^ "Juelz Santana Has A Video Shot For Every Song On "God Will'n," Reveals Mixtape Features". HipHopDX.
  31. ^ "Juelz Santana Announces "All We Got Is Us" Mixtape". HipHopDX.
  32. ^ Julian Kimble. "Juelz Santana Reveals Release Date for "All We Got Is Us," Talks Other Projects and Drops His Usual Gems". Complex.
  33. ^ "Juelz Santana - up in the Studio Gettin Blown (Freestyle)".
  34. ^ "Dipset's NYC Reunion is Proof Diplomatic Immunity Outweighs Beef".
  35. ^ "The Diplomats Reunite to Takeover NYC's Hammerstein Ballroom for Spotify's Rap Caviar Live Showcase". www.billboard.com. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  36. ^ Harper, Rosario (April 24, 2018). "Cam'ron Announces New Dipset Forever Reunion Tour Dates –". www.sohh.com. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
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  39. ^ "Jim Jones Announces Release Date For Diplomats Reunion Album". October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  40. ^ "The Two Competing Dipset Reunions". 2018-11-28.
  41. ^ "Juelz Santana Proposes to Kimbella Onstage". Rap-Up. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  42. ^ "Rapper Juelz Santana gets probation in assault on Englewood good Samaritan". Cliffview Pilot.
  43. ^ "Juelz Santana Reportedly Cannot Live with Kimbella While Out on Bail - EBONY". 16 April 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  44. ^ a b LLC, Empire BBK (29 November 2016). "How Many Kids Does Juelz Santana Have? - EMPIRE BBK". Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  45. ^ a b "Juelz Santana Sentenced To Two Years Probation For Threatening Neighbor". HipHopDX.
  46. ^ Daily News – : Police Raid Juelz Santana's Studio, Find Guns and Weed. Allhiphop.com. Retrieved on 2011-08-16.
  47. ^ Daily News – : NYPD Search Causes Juelz Santana To Miss Chris Brown Release Party. Allhiphop.com (2011-03-24). Retrieved on 2011-08-16.
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  50. ^ "Juelz Santana Has Been Released From Jail According To Cam'ron". Retrieved 3 May 2018.
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  52. ^ "Juelz Santana reportedly sentenced to two years in prison".
  53. ^ "BOP: Federal Inmates by Name".
  54. ^ "Juelz Santana Begins 27-Month Prison Sentence". March 2019.
  55. ^ Kiss and Tail: The Hollywood Jumpoff (Video 2009). IMDB.com
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