Lim Jae-beom was born in Siheung, Gyeonggi Province, and grew up in Goyang. When he was seven, after watching g.o.d. perform, he developed the dream of becoming a singer. He started b-boying in his third year of middle school after failing a school test, dancing with friends at Ilsan, Paju, Boramae and Jeongbalsan station, and taking part in competitions. As a b-boy, he used the stage name Defsoul, taking Musiq Soulchild's "Just Friends" music video as inspiration. In 2009 he was scouted by JYP Entertainment at a b-boy competition: he was not interested in attending the audition, but his father pushed him to do so. He subsequently passed the open audition, winning first place with Jinyoung over 10,000 applicants. He became interested in musical composition and hip hop culture as a b-boy, but at the beginning of his idol training, he thought that learning to sing was meaningless, and concentrated only on dancing; however, after listening to D'Angelo, he started singing and composing his first songs.
2011–2014: Debut and career beginnings
In 2011, Lim was cast in the role of Jang Woo-jae in the television drama Dream High 2, which began airing on January 30, 2012 on KBS for 16 episodes. In order not to be confused with singer Yim Jae-beom, he adopted the stage name of JB. In May 2012, he and fellow trainee Jin-young debuted as the duo JJ Project with the single album Bounce. Their official music video for the title track "Bounce" was released on May 19.
On March 11, 2013, it was announced that he would be appearing as Seo Mi-joon on MBC's new drama When a Man Falls in Love. On January 16, 2014, the two members of JJ Project debuted as part of a seven-member boy band called Got7.
2015–2020: Solo activities and first photo exhibition
In 2015, he played the lead role in Dream Knight, a web drama, as a superhero version of himself, alongside his fellow Got7 members, featuring actress Song Ha-yoon as the female lead role.
In 2018, together with group mate Yugyeom, he participated in the art collaboration project Collaboran for carbonated mineral water brand Perrier with American multimedia artist Ben Jones. The creation process was later revealed through a reality show in May.
On March 5, 2019, he and Yugyeom debuted as Jus2, a sub-unit of Got7, with their EP Focus and its lead single "Focus on Me". On June 6, 2019, he attended the event for Saint Laurent 20SS Men's Collection in Los Angeles as a representative of Korea. In December 2019, he launched the JB Collection, a summer-themed clothing line in collaboration with Represent, which went on sale for two weeks and sold 35,940 items.
He also writes songs as Defsoul or Def, both for Got7 and the Offshore crew; with the latter, he released two compilation extended plays, Scene #1 on June 24, 2019, and Scene #2 on March 26, 2020. On April 13, 2020, he became the first male K-pop idol on the cover of a digital issue for American magazine Allure. As Def, he held his first photo exhibition named Alone on October 6–12, 2020, in Seoul.
2021–present: Departure from JYP Entertainment and solo debut
On January 19, 2021, following the expiration of his contract, he left JYP Entertainment. On February 20, 2021, with the release of Got7's single "Encore", he started using the new stage name Jay B.
On May 11, 2021, it was announced that he signed an exclusive contract with H1ghr Music, an international hip hop and R&B record label founded by Korean American musician Jay Park and long time Seattle affiliate Cha Cha Malone. Three days later, he made a debut as a solo artist by releasing his new single "Switch It Up" featuring rapper Sokodomo, which debuted at number 12 on the Gaon Download Chart. The R&B track was self-written and self-composed by Lim with Jay Park and Cha Cha Malone, who also produced it. The lyrics of "Switch It Up" talk about love, while the title conveys that his life is going to change. On May 25, 2021, Lim made his debut on the Billboard R&B Digital Song Sales Chart at number six, becoming the first Korean soloist to debut on this chart. He also became the third Korean soloist to chart on Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Digital Song Sales Chart with "Switch It Up" entering at number 18.
On July 22, 2021, it was confirmed that he will release his first EP, SOMO:Fume, on August 26. The EP will be a physical album and have a total of seven songs, including "Switch It Up".
On July 30, 2021, he became the first cover star for the launching of TMRW Magazine Korea. The 100-page magazine has been curated with Lim himself and features an exclusive interview, photoshoot and his own film photographies.
In August, he appeared on MBC's singing competition show King of Mask Singer as "Toad's House" on episode 319.
On August 26, 2021, his first EP, SOMO:Fume and the music video of the title track "B.T.W (Feat. Jay Park)" were released both digitally and physically. A day later, he collaborated with Burberry for Arena Homme + magazine as he will be featured on the cover of the September issue. A short music video was released through Arena Homme + official YouTube channel featuring the song from his EP, "AM PM".
In September he participated in "Feel the Rhythm of Korea 2", a promotional campaign sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization, for which he sang "I'm Surfin'", a re-interpretation of traditional song "Niliria" (늴리리야; Nuilliri-ya), showcasing Yangyang and Gangneung. The song and the music video were released on September 3.
It was confirmed that he will hold his first solo global fan meeting, "SOMO:Fume, Style of My Own:Fume" on September 25, 2021 through Bbangya TV.
In September, he launched official merchandise to commemorate the release of his first solo EP, SOMO:Fume which went on sale for one week from September 2, 2021, and all the items were sold out in five days. It was confirmed that he will open offline pop-up store in Seoul for two weeks from October 1, 2021, with additional items which are hoodies and sweatpants. Also, "Make Your Own Shirt, Eco Bag" event will be held for three days when the pop-up store starts.
On September 27, 2021, he launched his second clothing line the Def. Collection with Represent, "Live Without Regrets".
In October, he collaborated with Fudasca, a singer-songwriter and producer from Italy for single "Is It A Dream?" which was released on October 18.
In November, he starred in the new Adidas Originals winter campaign, "Open Spirit", along with Blackpink.
On December 31, 2021, he announced Def.'s extended play Love., which was released on January 26, 2022.
Jay B was diagnosed with clinical depression as well as panic disorder, and has since taken prescribed medication for them.
During his younger years, his parents divorced due to his father's drinking problem, and his mother later remarried. His family runs a tomato farm in Ilsan.
On September 12, 2014, he was involved in a minor car accident while the driver was trying to change lanes to avoid a parked car when a bus came up behind, causing their car to hit a van. Neither Jay B nor his staff suffered major injuries.
In 2016, he was unable to participate in several Got7's Fly Tour concerts and a M!Countdown performance due to a spinal disc injury. He returned for the Fly in Singapore concert at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre on June 24, showing a full recovery.
Jay B majored in Film at Konkuk University.
On November 24, 2017, it was revealed that he had donated 10 million won to the Pohang Earthquake Relief Fund under his real name.
On February 27, 2020, he donated 10 million won to the Hope Bridge Disaster Relief Association in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was revealed that he quietly donated money under his real name, Lim Jae-beom, rather than his active name with a request not to disclose his donation to the outside world.
After being appointed an ambassador for ChildFund Korea (Green Umbrella Children's Foundation) in 2018, Jay B has continued to donate to the organization over the years to help unprivileged children. In 2021 he donated the profits from the sales of his SOMO:Fume merchandise and his Def. Represent collection to support families in need caused by COVID-19 and abused children, reaching ₩100 million and thus being appointed as an official member of the Green Noble Club in December.
On January 18, 2022, he donated ₩50 million for the Goyang Love Sharing Hope campaign to establish an emergency support system for gaps in welfare in Goyang.