Mark Ronson Remembers Jamming With Akon At The 2007 VMAs

The 2007 MTV Video Music Awards was one of the boldest and most unusual broadcasts in the show’s history. Rather than just be confined to a single theater, arena or studio, the 2007 VMAs took over the entirety of the Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. Awards were handed out in one area, while performances were going on in suites, penthouses and at the pool. The show was thrilling in its chaos, because not only did you now know what was going to happen next, but you also didn’t know where it was going to happen.

At the center of all this madness was producer and rock icon Mark Ronson, who was brought in to be in charge of the house band for the duration of the show (much in the same way that Jack White did the year before in New York and the way Deadmau5 will do this Sunday). On that night, Ronson collaborated with a number of eclectic artists, including Maroon 5, Wale, Justice and Daniel Merriweather, but the one tag-team effort that really sticks out in Ronson’s mind was his collaboration with Akon.

“The concept was to take the Dap Kings horns section and myself and figure out a way to incorporate in all the people they wanted to use,” Ronson recently told MTV News. “We figured out our sort of James Brown arrangement of ’Smack That,’ and he sang over it. We had only rehearsed 30 seconds of it, but even after we had stopped, he got so into it that he was still singing for 20 seconds before he realized we had stopped playing.”

That performance has stuck with him in more ways than one. “I still listen to it. I only have the 30 second snippet of it, but I love that version of it,” Ronson said. “I think Akon could make a whole record that sounds like that, because it sounds so cool.”


Ronson enjoyed himself at the 2007 show, his second as an attendee (he went as a spectator in 2002), though he won’t be making it to the show this Sunday, September 12 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. He has a good excuse, though, as he’s doing a tour with his new band the Business Intl for their forthcoming album Record Collection. It’s a stellar collection of groovy rock tunes and collaborations with the likes of D’Angelo (making his first recorded appearance in nearly a decade), Ghostface Killah, Boy George, Simon Le Bon and Q-Tip. The only other place to get a lineup as that star-studded will be at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.

The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on September 12 at 9 p.m. ET.