J. Stalin, born Jovan Smith on January 25, 1983, is a rapper from the Cypress Village housing projects in West Oakland, California. Known for his distinctive style, he became associated with the Hyphy movement, with artist Mekanix describing his variant as “Go.” Growing up in poverty, J. Stalin earned money as a child by selling candy bars on BART trains. At the age of 16, he began recording and selling rap music. J. Stalin’s upbringing saw him involved in drug dealing in his local housing projects, leading to an eleven-month parole sentence.

Adopting a tough rapper persona, J. Stalin chose his stage name as a reference to Joseph Stalin due to their shared initials and similar height. His music career took off when DJ Daryl, a local recording studio owner, featured him on a track he was recording. Impressed by his talent, Richie Rich included J. Stalin on three tracks of his 2002 album “Nixon Pryor Roundtree” and two more as a member of Rich’s group, the Replacement Killers.

Throughout his career, J. Stalin has collaborated with notable artists such as G-Stack, Beeda Weeda, Keak Da Sneak, San Quinn, E-40, The Luniz, The Team, The Frontline, Mob Figaz, Yukmouth, Numskull, Shock G, and others. With a steady stream of mixtapes and album releases, J. Stalin has become a prominent figure in the West Coast hip-hop scene.

Some of his notable works include “On Behalf Of The Streets” (2006), “Gas Nation” (2008), “Prenuptial Agreement” (2010), “Memoirs Of A Curb Server” (2012), and “On Behalf Of The Streets 3” (2021). J. Stalin’s unyielding determination and unique style have solidified his status as a respected and influential artist in the hip-hop community.

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