Santana in July 2005
|LaRon Louis James|
February 18, 1982|
New York City, New York, U.S.
LaRon Louis James (born February 18, 1982), better known by his stage name Juelz Santana, is an American rapper and actor. He is from the Harlem neighborhood in New York City, and is a member of East Coast hip hop group The Diplomats. He appeared on Cam'ron's 2002 singles, "Oh Boy" and "Hey Ma". In 2003, his debut album From Me to U was released by Roc-A-Fella Records; his next album What the Game's Been Missing! contained the top-ten single "There It Go (The Whistle Song)".
LaRon James was born in New York City, to an African-American mother and a Dominican father. He was raised in the Harlem section of Manhattan and began rapping at the age of five. By age twelve he started a duo, Draft Pick, which was signed to Priority Records. In 2000, at the age of 18, he made a guest performance on a track on Cam'ron's album S.D.E. and eventually joined The Diplomats.
After the signing of The Diplomats, also known as Dipset, to Roc-a-Fella Records in 2002, there was an influence of mixtapes, features on other artists' records, television and radio interviews, in which Santana achieved mainstream recognition not previously gained through the various Diplomat mixtapes, and his solo mixtape Final Destination, that was sold in late 2002. After being featured on fellow Diplomat member Cam'ron's two singles, "Hey Ma" and "Oh Boy". Santana started working on his debut album. In the summer of 2003, Santana released his debut album, From Me To U, which peaked at #8 in the Billboard 200. "Dipset (Santana's Town)" peaked #70 in the U.S. Billboard.
What the Game's Been Missing! followed in 2005 with the singles "Mic Check", "There It Go (The Whistle Song)", "Oh Yes", "Clockwork," "Shottas", and "Make It Work For Ya" Feat. Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne. "There It Go" reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Hot Rap Tracks charts; "Oh Yes" reached #56 on the Hot 100 and #8 on the Rap charts. "Mic Check" reached 35 in the Billboard Hot 100. Both this album and single "There It Go" were certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Santana also featured in Chris Brown's "Run It!" in 2005.
Since 2008, Santana has been recording material for his third album, Born to Lose, Built to Win. Shortly after recording began, Santana released a promo single, "The Second Coming", produced by Just Blaze. After a two-year hiatus, he released a new song, "Days of Our Lives", with two accompanying music videos featuring cameos from Skull Gang. In late 2009 he released "Mixin' Up the Medicine" featuring Yelawolf.
In 2010, he released "Back to the Crib" featuring Chris Brown. In April 2010, Cam'ron and Jim Jones announced they had ended their feud. In late 2012 Santana stated he is still working on his third studio album Born to Lose, Built to Win and that it's set to be released in 2013, succeeding his newly announced mixtapes God Will'n and God Will'n Vol. 2. Santana also announced that fellow American rapper and longtime friend Lil Wayne would executive produce Born to Lose, Built to Win. It was announced on December 21, 2012, that God Will'n would be released on January 14, 2013. The first single off God Will'n is "Soft" which features Fabolous, Rick Ross and Meek Mill. Other features on the mixtape include Wale, Jadakiss, Lloyd Banks, Yo Gotti, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne, and Future. Santana has shot music videos for every song on the tape. Less than a month after the release of God Will'n Santana announced he would release a new mixtape featuring him rapping over other artists beats titled All We Got Is Us. The mixtape will release on April 29 and God Will'n 2 will be released in a couple months.
On January 1, 2015, well known DJ Funkmaster Flex announced via his instagram that he had spoken to fellow Diplomat members Cam'ron, Jim Jones & Juelz Santana about an upcoming Diplomats mixtape which included fellow member Freekey Zeekey, he also confirmed & stated that he will be hosting the mixtape along with DJ's/Producers DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz & DJ Mustard.
Santana currently resides in Englewood, New Jersey with his longtime girlfriend Kimbella Vanderhee. Together, they have two children, a son named Juelz Santana James (born 2010) and a daughter named Bella Monroe James (born 2012). Santana also has a son from a previous relationship, LaRon Louis James, Jr. (born 2003).
In January 2011, his "Santana's World" Recording Studio located 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.
Santana was arrested February 2, 2011, 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. Santana posted $125,000 bail. He was represented by defense lawyers Brian J. Neary and S. Emile Lisboa. He has yet to face trial on the charges.
On March 22, 2011, Santana missed a performance at Chris Brown's record release party for his album F.A.M.E.; New York Police stopped the rapper and searched him for guns and drugs. While no one was arrested, Santana was not allowed to enter the building during the search. This caused him to miss his entire performance with Chris Brown. Santana's lawyer Joe Wunstop told The New York Post that police stopped Santana because members of his entourage "might be affiliated, friends bring friends and he's really friendly" In November 2011 he was charged with making terrorist threats and disorderly conduct.
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 3 days, Santana turned himself into the custody of the Port Authority Police Department on March 12.  On March 26, Santana was denied bail. Santana was released from custody on April 6, 2018, when his mother posted $500,000 bail after putting her house up. He is ordered to remain in the custody of his mother and will remain on house arrest at his mother's residence in New Jersey while he awaits a federal trial.