Born in Rhode Island and raised in Pasadena, California, Buck comes from a musical family; with his father David, a professor of music, his mother Linda, a concert pianist and his siblings Deborah, a violinist and his brother Kevin, a cellist. In 1992, Jon B. was shopping demos around when he caught the attention of Tracey Edmonds, then President and CEO of Yab-Yum Records.
Jon's fame began to increase after the release of his first commercially successful debut album Bonafide. He released his second studio album Cool Relax in 1997, the album spawned the top 10 single "They Don't Know" and two other top 20 hits, one featuring Tupac Shakur. Cool Relax received generally positive reviews from music critics and it is his most successful album commercially, it has been certified as Double Platinum by the RIAA.
While on tour promoting Cool Relax, he formed a group with two of his back-up singers, Dominiquinn and Silky Deluxe, named Jack Herrera collectively. A full album, titled Retro Futuristo, was put together, but never officially released. However, two tracks from the project did see release. "Free to Believe" appeared on the soundtrack to the film Light It Up and "High Off You" appeared on Red Star Sounds, Vol. 1: Soul Searching.