Jelly Roll won three awards at this year’s (4/2) CMT Music Awards. The one-time rapper recently scored his first country music chart-topper “Son of A Sinner.” Born and raised in Antoich (right outside of Nashville), Jelly Roll has won the hearts of his fellow country stars and the heart of country music fans worldwide.

He made his first on the CMT Music Awards performance, joined by a full gospel choir, with his song “Need A Favor.” That was followed by an enthusiastic standing ovation by the whole house.

Jelly Roll’s awards came before his new album, Whitsitt Chapel, was released on June 2. Titled after the church the Antioch native grew up attending, the debut full-length Country project on BMG/Stoney Creek Records features 13 tracks.

Before his current time in country music, Jelly was known as a Southern Hip Hop artist. Beginning in 2010, he collaborated with Lil Wyte, Struggle Jennings, Yelawolf, Tech N9ne, and Ryan Upchurch. His 2010 collaboration “Pop Another Pill” with Memphis rapper Lil Wyte reached over 6.3 million YouTube views and started his career.

A record label executive in Nashville told me they were looking for the Post Malone of country music and found that in Jelly. His real name is Jason DeFord, and his Jelly Roll nickname comes from his mother, who called him Jelly Roll when he was a young, as he said, a “chubby” kid.

As Jelly’s star continues to rise, we take a look at his last few years in the national spotlight.

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