Ron Browz Killed Auto-Tune Before Jay-Z
Though Ron Browz’s new collabo with Foxy Brown, “Ride Ya Bike (She’s A Biker),” is his first Auto-Tune-free single, the Harlem producer and rapper claims he had plans of going au natural long before Jay-Z pulled the trigger with “D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune).”
“What’s weird was that before ‘D.O.A.,’ I had started recording songs without Auto-Tune. People don’t know that,” Browz recently explained to VIBE. “[Ether Boy] was going to be half-and-half. So when he came out with ‘D.O.A.,’ I was like ‘Wow.’ And it was just time for me to show people I can rap.
“But you can’t just give Auto-Tune to your mother and be like ‘Hey Ma, go on Auto-Tune, you’re going to make a smash.’,” the rapping producer continued. “No. I still had to write lyrics that people could sing along with. So I’ve just been recording songs with and without it.”
That said, Browz’s 2010 mantra—the simpler, the stickier—won’t veer too left from his past formula. “What I did for [“Ride Ya Bike (She’s A Biker)”] is like all my previous songs. I just play the beat, put my headphones on and say whatever comes to mind,” he reveals of his songwriting process. “I don’t care how dumb or how silly you think it sounds, because I know the catchiest songs end up being big records. And in this industry, hooks are the most important part of the song.”
Having mastered the craft of creating mindless melodies that catch on—think “Arab Money,” “Pop Champagne,” and “Jumpin’ Out The Window”—Browz was stumped when rumors bubbled last October that he’d been dropped from his label, Universal Motown.
“When I was up there, I had the Drake momentum. I had all these big records’ and then for some odd reason they felt like [my album] shouldn’t come out,” he said. “The album was dope, features from Diddy to Keri to Lloyd Banks to Amerie and I’m like ‘What’s going on?’
“I don’t know if it was ‘D.O.A,’ I had no idea what the hold up was,” he continued. “[I knew] the people wanted it ’cause I’m on the road every weekend. Then when ‘Gimme 20 Dollars’ came out and they didn’t get behind the record, I was like ‘I gotta go.’ So I took the initiative and told Universal I wanted to leave. I didn’t get dropped; it was a mutual understanding.”
Yet despite 2009’s setbacks, Browz, hasn’t felt at all stagnant or even dependent on his old accessory of choice.“I’ve been going harder with Ether Boy Records, but I’m accepting offers [for a deal]. It freaks me out that people make it look like I disappeared. The whole 2009, I was just on the road crazy! I’ve been to Africa, Japan. I’m going to Germany for two weeks. I’ve literally been on the move,” he says. “This coming album is going to be a brand new energy—a brand new me. Definitely more regular voice, maybe a little bit of Auto-Tune, but really just me bringing my capabilities to the max.”
Though Browz has no plans of independently releasing his Universal-shelved, debut album Ether Boy, he is currently preparing for a Spring release of his sophomore effort. —Tracy Garraud