Name: DJ Ron G
Mixtape: F--- Da Haters
Hometown: Uptown, NY
Joints to check for: "F--- U" by BG, "Purple Haze" by Cam'ron, "We Here" by the Hoodfellaz featuring P. Diddy, "Street Lordz" by Shyne and Chedda Boyz
Previous mixtapes: He has a whole catalog of releases from the 1990s
The 411: The younger generation of music fans are just now beginning to recognize Ron G as the man behind all the hits. In addition to Fat Joe's R. Kelly-assisted "We Thuggin" and Jennifer Lopez and LL Cool J's lovelorn duet "All I Have," G has just finished the remix to B2K's "Girlfriend," which also features the R.
But for the teenyboppers' older siblings or parents, they remember Ron when he was about the same age as Omarion or J-Boog, making his mark on the industry with his mixtapes.
Around '84, Ron was being influenced by popular club DJs like Brucie B and Kid Capri. Unfortunately for the-then youngster, he couldn't see his fellow spinners in person because he was "too young to get into anywhere." He had to settle for buying their mixtapes.
"They had a lot of fame and a lot of people loved them, so I experimented but I tried to make it different from what they were doing," Ron said.
A few years later, G had perfected his formula. In the early '90s he started making a new hybrid of songs called blends, the influence of which still exists in popular music today. G's blends consisted of him taking vocals from an R&B record and mixing them with an instrumental from a hip-hop song or vice versa.
"My mother used to be into a lot of James Brown songs, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes ... a lot of R&B classics," G explained. "My moms didn't care about hip-hop too much but I loved hard beats."
As a way to cater to both his and his mother's crowd, G began making his blend tapes to cater to both audiences. It caught on. He hit the streets, selling his tapes for $20 a pop at places like Rucker Park and cab stands in Harlem and the Bronx. By the time he was 18, he had enough money to build a studio in his house.
"I don't take responsibility for being the originator of blends, but I take responsibility for people looking at it more seriously," he explained. "I would have women love my tapes. I would have guys come up to me say, 'I got some ass off your tapes.' The format I used back then is still being used today. The records I produced, it's the same energy, hip-hop with the R&B. It was something I always knew could be large if people would give me a chance."
Although the chance to shine in the national spotlight has taken almost a decade, Ron has stayed busy, DJing in clubs and shows, and of course dropping the occasional mixtape here and there.
"Things are happening now, which is God's blessing," Ron said with a smile.
On his latest street release, F--- Da Haters, Ron strays away from the format that made his sound so popular, confidently vying with current street jams like 50 Cent's "What Up Gangsta" and the LOX's "Streets." On "Feel My Pain," rapper Drag-On vents about being away from the scene for so long, saying his label, Ruff Ryders, left him for dead. He then goes on to say he has no hard feelings because they brought him back. "Purple Haze," which is also supposed to be the title of Cam'ron's next solo album, finds the captain of the Diplomats freestyling and praising stimulants. Meanwhile on "We Here," P. Diddy talks about how he lost some of his former artists but still kept his empire afloat on the strength of his new recruits.
For a full-length feature on mixtape culture and the role of mixtapes in making a rapper's career, check out "Mixtapes: The Other Music Industry."
For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.