How One Fraternity Brother Became an Entertainment Superstar

Golden Landis Von Jones, professionally known as 24kGoldn, just became the first rapper from San Francisco to ever go platinum for his hit single “Valentino.” Known for his songs, “Valentino,” “City of Angels,” and “Games on Your Phone,” the rapper, singer, and songwriter is just beginning his takeover of the music and entertainment industry. 

In January of 2019, 24kGoldn released “Valentino,” which had a slow rise to fame, gradually gaining listeners from all over the world and exploding in popularity in September of 2019. The song went viral in multiple videos on TikTok and was featured on HBO’s series Ballers starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It soon made its way onto Spotify’s Top 50 and reached the top five tracks of Rolling Stone’s Trending 25 chart. 

In November of 2019, “Valentino” racked up more than 5 million streams per week across platforms. His songs continued to attract attention, and he soon signed a record deal with Records, LLC, and Columbia Records. Later that year, he released his debut EP Dropped Outta College in November.

Dropped Outta College tells the story of 24kGoldn’s life as a promising new artist and college student at the University of Southern California (USC). The EP explores the aspirations, relationships, and emotions he experienced during his days chasing fame. Comprising eight tracks, it has the sound of a young artist exploring freedom with endless potential for success.

“I vividly remember my mom would put on this VHS of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits music videos,” 24kGoldn told XXL Magazine. “I’d watch that all the time...My dad played a lot of Miles Davis. Also on my own: Akon, T-Pain, Snoop Dog. My mom put me onto Kanye West, too. So, very eclectic, all-over-the-board styles of music and eras.” 

24kGoldn attributes his “maturity and development” to rapper Paperboy, who he credits for introducing him to the music industry. He then received his first record deal through producer D. A. Doman, who has also produced songs for Tyga, Eminim, Kodak Black, and Chris Brown. 

Raised in San Francisco, 24kGoldn currently resides in Los Angeles. He has since taken a leave of absence from studying finance at USC, but the singer and rapper joined the Beta Sigma chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity as a Spring 2019 initiate. TKE fraternity at USC seems to be a magnet for talented musicians. Famous composer Mark Watters, Robby Hauldren of Louis the Child, and musician Steven Zhu were all members of the Beta Sigma chapter of TKE.

In an interview with USC’s student newspaper, The Daily Trojan, 24kGoldn reflected on his time as a student and aspiring musician. “I really didn’t know that things were going to happen so fast when I came to USC,” he said. “I had anticipated not finishing school all the way through. I could’ve taken a leave of absence after my first semester to focus heavily on music, but I wanted to round off the [2019] school year to further develop the relationships I’ve made here. I love being on campus, and I think being a student keeps me grounded. Yes, I might be doing a big show, but at the end of the day, I’m running back to my dorm, just like everybody else.” 

Along with school and music, the artist has used TikTok to connect with fans around the world. As of May 2020, 24kGoldn has a growing audience of 1.8 million followers on the app and more than 25 million likes on his videos. There are now more than 300,000 TikTok videos made to his “City of Angels,” which has additionally led to top ratings on radio stations in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. 

When asked about his success on TikTok, 24kGoldn switched from laid-back rapper to entrepreneur in an interview with The Music Network.  “I can’t give away all the sauce for free,” he said. 

“Making videos consistently and not being afraid to reach out to other people, because most TikTok users are just regular people that are really good at making these funny videos,” he shared as a secret to some of his success. “I just collaborated with a lot of people; that was a big part of my strategy.”

24kGoldn has connected with Charli D'Amelio, creating a video that has more than 3.6 million likes. He has also created a video with Candy Ken, garnering nearly 8.5 million views. 

The singer, rapper, student, and TikTok mogul certainly knows how to maintain a balancing act while furthering his career. His platinum status now puts him in an exclusive group with other award-winning artists like Drake, Prince, and The Beatles. 

Like 24kGolden says in his “City of Angels” hit, “When I’m gone, remember all I’ve done.” We certainly will, and the world now has its eyes set on this hot, up-and-coming artist.

-- Emily Cox

Villanova University, Kappa Delta


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