New York-based rap producer Ron Browz has worked with Nas, 50 Cent, Ludacris and the late Big L. This month he will release the remix of his first solo track, “Pop Champagne,” which boasts collaboration with Jim Jones and Missy Elliot. On the track – both the original and remix – Browz experimented with Auto-Tune, a type of audio processing often associated with rap artist T-Pain. He plans to drop Etherboy – a solo album, still without a set release date – as soon as he locks down a recording company.
Tell me about your new track “Pop Champagne.”
“Pop Champagne” was an experiment. You know Auto-Tune? Auto-Tune is the effect that T-Pain uses. So you know everybody was using it, so I was like, “let me try to do it” – make a Harlem version of Auto-Tune. So I was kind of in the house playing around and I came up with that record. I’m from Harlem and a lot of my friends got locked up this year and a lot of violence is going on in Harlem, so I felt like we needed a chance to have a happy party tune.
I hear Missy Elliot is going to be on the track?
Yeah, on the “Pop Champagne” remix, with me and a lot of artists. I want to keep it a surprise, so I’m just going to let you guys know Missy and I have somebody else – another big artist – that I’m going to have on it. And Mya’s on the album.
What’s the challenge of producing a battle-rap track like Nas’ “Ether” as opposed to a track like “Pop Champagne”?
People don’t understand records are due for other artists, you know. “Ether” (the legendary battle-rap track) is Nas so he had to make it different for Jay-Z. That’s not me, though, those are the tracks I create. Me as an artist, I like to do different kinds of music. I like to do party records and girl records and feel-good records. People are always like, “Oh, well, ‘Ether’ was a hot track; your song should be like ‘Ether.'” No, “Ether” was “Ether” for Nas. That wasn’t a record for Ron Browz. Ron Browz likes to do other kinds of music, but I can create these kinds of beats for other people.
What would you say your influences are?
I listen to everything. Latin music, African music, Arabian music. I was in drumline, so my beats are very drum-driven.
So basically you try to use different styles?
I’m just like a chemist. I try to put that with that, this with this and try to create one big thing.
So apart from “Pop Champagne” and making yourself known as a solo artist, are there any other projects you are working on?
I’ve got three tracks on Jim Jones’ album that comes out Dec. 2. I produced the beats on there.
What’s it like making money as a producer versus as a solo artist?
Producing, you get money for the beat and then if the album sells you get money for residuals. As an artist, you might get the residuals, but you also get paid for shows immediately. If you got 10 or 20 shows a month, you do the math.
Want to listen? Check out the arts blog to hear “Pop Champagne.”
Interview condensed by Amanda Pacitti.