5 & DONE: Ron Browz

Nah, despite the

title of his latest single, “Jumpin (Out the Window),”

Harlem’s Ron Browz isn’t trying to harm himself. With

an album due in March (Etherboy) via

Universal/Motown Records, and certifiable hit singles whether his own (“Pop

Champagne”) or thanks to his tracks (Busta Rhymes

“Arab Money” and all its remixes), the kid needs to be in the best of health to maximize that

momentum.

 

While his use of

the Auto-Tune demon drew the ire of the robo-sound

weary, Browz’s track record proves he wasn’t a slouch

who lucked  into

the game. A beat for a storied underground lyricist?

Check Big L’s “Ebonics.” Helping a wavering legend get his mojo

back? Check Nas’ “Ether.” Keeping the heat coming for

choosy artists? Pick one: 50 Cent (“I’ll Whip Your Head), N.O.R.E. (“Rotate”),

G-Unit (“Straight Outta Southside”), et al. But now

seeking to establish himself all over again—this time as an artist in his

own right—the exuberantly confident Ron Browz

insists he’s just trying to, “Make hot records that people will like.”

 

Fair enough. Here’s five, actually six, reasons why he may make it happen.

 

On working with the late, great Big L.

 

“Big L is my

first experience being able to work with a real artist, an artist that was

signed. ‘Ebonics,’ the song I produced for him was the first song I actually

produced that was played on the radio. It was the first time actually being in

the studio with an artist. This is my whole introduction to the game.

“I’m from Harlem

and Big L’s from Harlem. I was hanging out one day on my block and he just

happened to walk by. I told him I had some music and beats for sale and he came

by my house. I played him some music—no I played him one beat actually

and that was the ‘Ebonics’ beat and he didn’t even wanna hear nothing else, he just wanted to take that.

I was using the same [equipment] I use now; I had an Akai MP60 [and] a

keyboard, that’s pretty much what I had. It was an O1/W, a Korg.

 

“My name was

kind of underground. I did three other beats on that project [The Big Picture]. That

was my first plaque, it went Gold. When he

passed away I was trying to make up my mind if this is what I really wanted to

do. So I pursued it and my next placement after that was ‘Ether’ for Nas.”

 

Ebonics – Big L

 

On helping Nas

get his swagger back.

“I was still an

underground producer at that time. So any way to get to artists, I had to get

to artists. I actually went through his travel agent, and his travel agent

actually looked out and handed him a CD with my music on there. My manager at

the time, his name is Fuzz, he knew her, they were

friends and kinds she looked out. She passed him the CD.

“I didn’t know

what he was doing with it. Actually, he held it for a couple of months, like

three or four months. Then that month December 2000, he told me to come to the

studio and listen to what he had did to the track. When he played the track, my

mouth just dropped like, ‘Wow.’ I was thinking that being that I was a part of

the record that I wasn’t going to be able to work with no other artist in the

game because that was Jay-Z and he was on fire at the moment.

 

“I didn’t [feel

any backlash]. After that it was a domino effect. I started to work with all

the artists. All the artists wanted to know who produced that track for him, so

actually it catapulted my career.”

Ether – Nas

 

On going from emceeing to producing, and now

back to emceeing.

“When I was 12 an

artist. I was signed to an independent company called Big Boss Records out of

Harlem. The CEOs of the label had got incarcerated. So before they got

incarcerated they had brought the equipment. That’s when I took the equipment

when they got locked up and taught myself how to produce. I just started dabbling

into the production and just left the mic alone, but

I always…when I made tracks, would rap in my head to know if the tracks are

even good enough to rap on. Knowing the artist can say this on here and that

artist can do that on there, or like an artist can say a melody like this on

there for the chorus. I always had stuff like that in my head that helped me be

creative.

 

“I always had

the spirit and passion for rapping, but the production just took off, it took

me to another level. At the beginning of 2008 I started to be an independent

recording artist; put out songs on the Internet, shoot independent videos to

try to build my buzz, build my brand like that. I was like this year I’m going

to give it all I’ve got and I told myself, ‘Yo, I’m going

to get a deal this year.’

 

“I studied the

game, watched, I did a lot of homework on the industry. Online was really big,

I put out records on MySpace, YouTube, got feedback. I got a lot of good

feedback when I recorded the song ‘Pop Champagne,’ I got a good response online.

So I felt it was time to take that record to another level, you know, trying to

get in the clubs, put it in the DJ’s hands and get it in the right people’s

hands at radio.”

Ron Browz & Jim Jones f/ Juelz

Santana “Pop Champagne” Video

 

 

 

On “Pop Champagne” popping off.

 

“Just before I made

‘Pop Champagne,’ I had other records I was going to the labels with. They

wasn’t saying they were wack, but they was like, ‘Ehh, you know get it hot in the streets and we’ll see what’s

up.’ So by the time I recorded ‘Pop Champagne’ and got it buzzing, it was too

late to go back, I didn’t have to search for a deal, people started to reach

out.

 

“Universal

Motown, Asylum, Sony… I wanted an album deal and Universal was giving me an

opportunity. [Other labels] just wanted me to do single deals and stuff like

that. Universal was offering me an album deal. That’s

what I wanted, and I wasn’t going to take nothing less than that.

“‘Pop Champagne’ has a version by myself, and that was the version that was getting all the

buzz. So the DJ’s was playing it on the radio and I saw Jim Jones at this Pepsi

thing and he was just like, ‘Yo I heard your record

and I wanna be a part of it, let me get on it,’ and

the next day, he got on it. That’s how that version came about. It was a

license deal meaning he can put it on his [album]. But automatically it goes on

mines. So I’m kind of doing my own thing and he’s doing his own thing.”

 

Busta Rhymes f/ Ron Browz

“Arab Money” Video

 

 

 

On the vocoder/Auto-Tune

phenomenon.

 

“When I feel

like using it, I’ma use it. My album, I’m going to

have records with it, I’m going to have records without it. I really know how

to use it without being annoying, so that’s what I’m going to do. People are

liking what I’m doing so I’m not going to switch up the formula too much if

people’s loving what I’m doing. It’s a computer program anybody can buy. You

know, just like a set of turntables, Pro Tools or a drum machine. I use it like

it’s an instrument.

“I just have fun

and I be creative with it. I just try to make hot records that people will

like, hot catchy records. Because at the end of the day,

that’s what it’s about. Cause I can have Auto-Tune, you can have it; you

can make wack records with it, and I can just be

making dope records with it. So it’s all in how you use it and how creative you

are. It’s not like I just jumped out the window like, ‘Yo

I’m here and doing this now.’ I was already an established producer.”

Ron Browz “Jumpin (Out the Window)”

Video

 

 

 

What to expect from the album, Etherboy.

 

On Etherboy you’re going to party. I’m

just going to make creative music. I’m not just going

to pigeonhole myself into one particular sound, I’m

going to have fun with it. The records I’ve been putting out and producing like

“Arab Money,” “Pop Champagne,” “Jumpin (Out The

Window),” all [are] records that are catching, so people are gravitating to

what I’m doing.

 

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