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Background information
Birth nameJonah Kirsten Sorrentino
Also known asKJ-52, Tweezy,[1] King J. Mac
Born (1975-06-26) June 26, 1975 (age 48)
OriginTampa, Florida
GenresChristian hip hop
Years active1993–present
LabelsEssential, BEC

Jonah Kirsten Sorrentino (born June 26, 1975), better known by his stage name KJ-52, is a Christian rapper from Tampa, Florida. The "KJ" part of his name refers to his old rap alias, "King J. Mac,"[2] a name which he later described in one of his podcasts as "horribly cheesy."[3][failed verification] "52", which is pronounced "five two", not "fifty-two", is a reference to the Biblical story of Jesus feeding the multitude with five loaves and two fish, which is also sung about in his song "Push Up" from The Yearbook and in the "KJ Five Two" on It's Pronounced 'Five Two.[citation needed] He was awarded the Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year for "Never Look Away" and Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year at the GMA Dove Awards of 2007.[4] On July 28, 2009, KJ-52 released "End of My Rope", which is the first single for his album Five-Two Television.


In 2002, Sorrentino released his second album, Collaborations. The album's title referred to the numerous contributions made to the album by guest artists, including Pillar, John Reuben and Thousand Foot Krutch. Collaborations also represented his first nomination for a Dove Award, for "Rap/Hip Hop/Dance Album of the Year" in 2003.[5]

KJ-52 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 (A Boy Named Jonah), and the 2007 award for Remixed.[6] He received an additional honor in 2007, for "Never Look Away" from Behind the Musik, in the "Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song" category.[7] KJ never tried out for American Idol,[8] but suggested such in his song "Fivetweezy".

In October 2008, he released his album, The Yearbook: The Missing Pages, a re-release of his album, The Yearbook. It comes with the original record with a slip over cover that has a code to download the 13 songs.

2009 Dove Awards[9] Another productive year for KJ-52 as he was awarded with "Rap/Hip Hop Song of the Year" for "Do Yo Thang"; The Yearbook; KJ-52; Jonah Sorrentino; BEC Recordings/Uprok

In 2009, he released "Five-Two Television", and album covering a variety of themes and rap styles. It is his first album in which autotune is used, a controversial step among his fans. The album brings us the (fictitious) story of Chris Carlino, a man who has ruined his life, through a series of interludes. As usual for KJ-52, the album includes both songs with a strong Christian message and songs that are meant only to entertain.[10]

KJ-52 also rapped in the Newsboys cover of "Jesus Freak".[11]

KJ-52 also rapped in the tobyMac remix of the song "One World" on the album Hip-Hope which also includes the KJ-52 remixed song "What You Want".[citation needed]

KJ-52 released Dangerous on April 3, 2012. It mixes hip hop album with quite a bit of synth, and has some pop-electric. The first released single, "Dangerous", is more light rock-pop. The second single is called "Shake Em Up", but is commonly spelled "Shakem Up".[citation needed] It features guest artists such as Canton Jones on "It's Goin Down", Lecrae on "They Like Me", Thi'sl on "Shake Em Up", George Moss on "Do the Bill Cosby", and more. His final track, "Go," is a remake of the Hillsong United song with the same name.

In 2017, KJ-52 released his first independent album "Jonah." The project was over 200% funded through Pledge Music.[12] Following the release of the album, KJ-52 began working on an independent documentary about his life with filmmaker Denver Bailey. The film went on to raise 125% of the goal through kickstarter.[13] The film was released alongside KJ-52's second independent album titled "Jonah Pt. 2" on February 15, 2018.[14]

In 2019, KJ-52 released What Happened Was, a joint album with CHH producer and 2019 Rapzilla Freshman, PoetiCS.[15][16] The album features Xay Hill, Jodie Jermaine, Mitch Darrell, V. Rose, Dre Murray, and Dru Bex. The project was coupled with KJ's first book, also titled What Happened Was. Both the album and the book were over 170% funded through Kickstarter.[17]

On November 5, 2019, KJ-52 announced that he would be retiring from music after the release of his next album.[citation needed]

As of January 6, 2020, he joined the pastoral staff of Christian Life Fellowship in Cape Coral, Florida.[citation needed]

He has been married since June 1996.[citation needed] They have three children.[citation needed]

Eminem and "Dear Slim" controversy[edit]

Christian sources often compared KJ-52 to Eminem, with many calling him a "Christian counterpart".[18] One of the most notable mainstream reactions to the Christian hip hop scene was to KJ-52 and his single "Dear Slim", which was written to Eminem in an attempt to reach him with the message of the gospel. The song became famous and controversial among Eminem fans when it was featured on the hit show Total Request Live. KJ-52 began to receive hate mail (including death threats) from Eminem's fans, though KJ-52 claimed that the song was not being disrespectful.[19] The artist addressed it in a follow-up song titled "Dear Slim Pt. 2".


Album Year Record label
Insightful Comprehensions (with Sons of Intellect) 1997 Omega
7th Avenue 2000 Essential Records
Collaborations 2002 Uprok Records
It's Pronounced Five Two 2003
7th Avenue re-release (5 new tracks added, 2 songs and all skits omitted) 2004 Essential Records
Behind the Musik (A Boy Named Jonah) 2005 BEC
The Yearbook 2007
Five-Two Television 2009
Dangerous April 2012[20]
Mental October 21, 2014[21] 52 Records
Jonah January 20, 2017[22]
Jonah Part 2 February 15, 2018[23]
Mostest Wonderfullest Time of the Year (with Spechouse) November 15, 2018[24]
What Happened Was...(with Poetics) May 17, 2019[25]
Victory Lap January 10, 2020
One Year Ago March 5, 2021[26]
KJ-52 vs. Jonah January 10, 2022

Side projects and other releases[edit]


Song Album
Are You Real? (featuring Jon Micah Sumrall) Behind the Musik (A Boy Named Jonah)
Back in the Day It's Pronounced Five Two
Dear Slim Pt. 2
Never Look Away (featuring Brynn Sanchez) Behind the Musik (A Boy Named Jonah)
Right Here (featuring Jeremy Camp)


Year Single US Christian Album
[citation needed]
Hot Songs
2009 "End of My Rope" 7 Five-Two Television
"Calling You" 21
2012 "Dangerous" 21 16 44 Dangerous
"Facemelt" 12
"Brand New Day" 5 40
2013 "So Far Apart" 17
2014 "Tonight" Mental
2019 "Flex"
(featuring Dre Murray)
What Happened Was...
"Big Enough"
(featuring Xay Hill)
"Have a Good Day"
(featuring V. Ross)
(featuring AJ Jenkins)
Victory Lap

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Jeremiah Dirt – Plague – "Good Medison" (1998)
  • Urban D. – The Missin' Element – "The Spittin' Spot" (1999)
  • Urban D. – The Tranzlation – "We Go Together Like" (2001)
  • Pillar - Fireproof - "Stay Up" (2002)
  • Bobby Bishop – Government Name – "Change the Game" (2005)
  • Zoegirl - With All Of My Heart - Mix of Life (2007)
  • tobyMacHip Hope Hits 2009 – "One World (Liquid Remix)" (2009)
  • R-Swift – Anthem – "Flava of Forever" (2009)
  • NewsboysBorn Again – "Jesus Freak" (2010)
  • Sean Slaughter – The Prototype – "I'm Gone" (2010)
  • big AL – The Balancing Act – "Lookin' @ Us" (2011)
  • muzeONE – Cold War – "Lights On" (2011)
  • Research – Cerca Trova – "The Struggle" (2011)
  • Jai – Culture Shock – "Incredible (Remix)" (2011)
  • The AmbassadorStop the Funeral – "Your Love" (2011)
  • Canton Jones – The Live Experience – "I Am (Live)" (2012)
  • E Tizz – What I Gotta Say – "I'm Tellin' 'Em All" (2012)
  • RawsrvntLove Deluxe – "Jesus Jam" (2012)
  • Emcee One – Introducing Again for the First Time – "Introducing Again for the First Time" (2012)
  • Viktory – R4 (Relentless 4ever) – "God Is Amazing" (2012)
  • George Moss – It’s Time – "Ridin' Windows Up" (2012)
  • Lincoln BrewsterJoy to the World (A Christmas Collection) – "Little Drummer Boy" (2012)
  • For a Season – Lion Hearted – EP – "Let It Out" (2013)
  • V. Rose – Electro-Pop (Deluxe) – "Turn Up Your Light" (2013)
  • Turnaround – Anxious – "Ghost Town" (2018)


GMA Dove Awards

Year Award Result
2003 Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year (Collaborations) Nominated
2004 Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year ("Dear Slim Pt. 2") Nominated
Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year (It's Pronounced Five Two) Won
Short Form Music Video of the Year ("Dear Slim") Nominated
2006 Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year ("Are You Real?") Nominated
Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year (Behind the Musik (A Boy Named Jonah)) Won
2007 Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year ("Never Look Away") Won
Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year (KJ-52 Remixed) Won
2008 Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year ("Wake Up") Nominated
Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year (The Yearbook) Nominated
2009 Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year ("Do Yo Thang") Won
Short Form Music Video of the Year ("Fan Mail") Nominated
2010 Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year ("End of My Rope") Nominated
Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year (Five-Two Television) Won
2011 Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year ("Calling You") Nominated
2013 Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year (Dangerous) Nominated


  1. ^ DeBoer, Terry (April 7, 2010). "Christian rap/hip-hop artist KJ-52 performs with Group 1 Crew". MLIVE.com. Booth Newspapers. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  2. ^ [1] Archived July 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "kj52's Podcast". Kj52podcast.com. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  4. ^ "38th Annual GMA Dove Awards Album of the Year Nominees & Winners". Christianmusic.about.com. April 25, 2007. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "Nominees for the 34th Annual Dove Awards". Published by the Gospel Music Association. Retrieved January 22, 2007. Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Dove Award Recipients for Rap/Hip Hop Album. Published by the Gospel Music Association. Retrieved January 22, 2007. Archived December 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "38th Annual Dove Award Recipients". Published by the Gospel Music Association. Retrieved April 26, 2007. Archived January 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "'Behind the Musik' with KJ-52". Published by CBN News Retrieved May 27, 2007.
  9. ^ "41st Annual GMA Dove Awards on Gospel Music Channel". Doveawards.com. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  10. ^ "KJ-52 RELEASES 24 TRACK FIVE-TWO TELEVISION TODAY || JOINS PILLAR & RUN KID RUN ON CONFESSIONS TOUR". Fusemix.com. September 22, 2009. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  11. ^ "Jesus freak guest feature". YouTube. July 5, 2010. Archived from the original on July 9, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  12. ^ "kj52: the Jonah album". PledgeMusic.
  13. ^ "The KJ52 Documentary". Kickstarter.
  14. ^ Sarachik, Justin (February 16, 2018). "KJ-52 Releases 'Jonah Pt. 2' and 'The Jonah Movie'".
  15. ^ "KJ-52 And Poetics - What Happened Was..." Rapzilla. May 17, 2019.
  16. ^ "Rapzilla.Com's 15 Freshmen Of 2019". Rapzilla.
  17. ^ ""What Happened Was"". Kickstarter.
  18. ^ "The Christian Slim Shady? | Teens". Christianitytoday.com. January 3, 2001. Archived from the original on August 30, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  19. ^ "ChristianMusicToday.com: KJ-52 Interview — Getting It Right". Christianitytoday.com. Archived from the original on January 26, 2004. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  20. ^ "KJ-52, "Dangerous" Review". Jesusfreakhideout.com. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  21. ^ "KJ-52 'Mental' Cover Art & Tracklist". JamTheHype.com. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  22. ^ "KJ-52 Announces Release Date for 'Jonah'". Rapzilla.com. January 3, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  23. ^ "KJ-52 Releases 'Jonah Pt. 2' and 'The Jonah Movie'". Rapzilla.com. February 16, 2018. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  24. ^ "KJ-52 – Mostest Wonderfullest Time Of The Year". Rapzilla.com. November 19, 2018. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  25. ^ "KJ-52 And Poetics - What Happened Was". Rapzilla.com. May 17, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  26. ^ "One Year Ago by KJ-52 | CD Reviews and Information | NewReleaseToday". NewReleaseToday.com. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  27. ^ "KJ-52 Chart History (Christian Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 30, 2019.[dead link]
  28. ^ "KJ-52 Chart History (Hot Christian Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 30, 2019.

External links[edit]