**UPDATE: J-Kwon popped up over the weekend to explain that he's "not missing." The video came on the heels of his label, Gracie Records (who initiated the search), releasing a statement announcing that their artist was found. In this one-minute clip, the rapper sets the record straight.
A month after the disappearance of St. Louis rapper J-Kwon, the rapper’s friend and manager, Dorian Washington, has revealed to VIBE.com that J-Kwon’s behavior has been somewhat erratic since late last year.
“We hadn't talked in a minute,” Washington, who signed J-Kwon to his label Gracie Productions in 2008, told VIBE yesterday, the same day J-Kwon was found. “I had called him two weeks back because we had a promo tour. I emailed him, called him, text him, Twitter’d him… kept on calling. Last time I actually saw him was in August.”
News broke of the “Tipsy” star’s disappearance on Wednesday (March 3) after Gracie’s co-president Tony Bucher, released a statement asking fans for help finding the rapper. The company even set up a Twitter account called @WhereIsJKwon to find the rapper. On Thursday, J-Kwon reached out to Washington. Washington released a statement later on that day through a publicity rep.
"I am very happy to let everyone know that I personally spoke with J-Kwon today, and he is okay,” Washington wrote in the statement. “He'd like to send a sincere apology to his friends and everyone who showed concern this week. He was taking some time to himself as he sometimes does, not realizing that people would start to worry after a while. A few days out of touch versus a month is quite a difference. Right now he just wants to keep doing what he's doing, and will be more available for those who care about him. We thank you again for your outreach, and we are relieved to know he'll be alright."
According to Washington, contrary to popular belief the situation wasn’t a publicity stunt but rather something more serious.
“He's going through a whole lot of other shit. You got somebody who became rich at 17,” he says, before adding that fame and fortune has obviously slowed down for the young star since the platinum-selling “Tipsy” fame– a situation that may have been hard for J-Kwon to handle.
In a 2004 interview with Thabiz.com, the rapper, who was once a homeless teenager, revealed his joy over his newfound success. “I jump out the car and girls start screaming in my ears, my ears hurt,” he said. “You wanna hug them. It feels nice. I like attention. Any kid likes attention. I'm a kid and I like attention.”
“The [initial] press release was sent because we was hoping he would see the shit and call in an hour. Now the news is calling, MTV News is calling, St. Louis news stations are calling…” Washington adds.
J-Kwon’s upcoming promo tour was set to push the follow-up to his 2009 album Hood Hop 2.5. His newest album, J-Kwon, was set to be released in January, but was apparently pushed back to March 23.
“He was mad his album got pushed back,” Washington says, adding that that might have been a motive for J-Kwon to cut off communication with his label.
VIBE.com requested an interview with the rapper, but Washington informed, “He is really not talking right now, I don’t know when he will be able to. It’s crazy.” –Linda Hobbs