OG Ron C Chops His Way To A Mixtape Legacy
OG Ron C is the H-Town ambassador. The 39-year-old producer, DJ and Swishahouse co-founder came up studying the legacies of DJ Screw and Michael Watts, two pioneers of chopped and screwed music that helped push the culture outside of the Texas border. Rappers like Paul Wall, Mike Jones, Pimp C and more have slowed down versions of their classic albums, displaying a seamless blend of music at a relaxed pace. The trend reached its peak with Chamillionaire’s The Sound Of Revenge, which was the highest selling chopped and screwed album to date.
DJ Screw’s run in the early 1990s influenced many successors likes OG Ron C to help keep the subculture relevant in Houston rap. Part of the music’s popularity came from its association with lean, but now OG’s Chopped Not Slopped ten-man team is focused on keeping the craft alive. His interpretations of this year’s biggest albums—B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time, Chopping Ain’t The Same—shows he’s still keeping his ear on the streets and blogs to assess what’s hot right now.
XXL got down with the OVO signee to give us a guide of making his signature sound. From chopping up lyrics and remixing the tracklist to adding his wow factor, there’s a certain level of perfection that needs to be maintained. Hold on to your double cups, because we're about to go in. —Eric Diep (@E_Diep)
On The Difference Between Chopped And Screwed And Chopped Not Slopped:
OG Ron C: It all really started as me joking and heckling [and] petitioning by saying a lot of that stuff was kind of sloppy when you listen to it. From an expert’s standpoint, you know what I mean [by] sloppy. The mixing is not on track. We call it a trainwreck. A lot of the chops weren’t in the right place. They don’t know the art of it and they are just doing something that they don’t really know the art of and probably haven’t gotten into the art.
I was using it as an edge to bring everybody to just myself. It got catchy and caught on. I ran with it. That’s what made me just throw it and tip it over the iceberg. I was paying homage to the creator, Robert Earl Davis [DJ Screw]. I was paying homage to him on my tapes and I got a phone call that said, “Don’t say his name no more.” So, in return, I just said, “Well, OK. Cool.” I am gonna brand my own brand.
That’s the reason why when you hear our tapes, we still try to uphold the legacy of DJ Screw and keep it to the essence of a Screw tape. Now, we don’t called it chopped and screwed no more just because it’s a new day and era. We feel like we came in and cleaned up. Like, you can have a rock, but a rock can be either ugly or it can be beautiful. We just feel like Chopped Not Slopped means we just cleaned up the records and made it as beautifully chopped and screwed as it can be. That’s what Chopped Not Slopped means. It’s really beautifying the chopped and screwed music.
If you listened to a chopped and screwed tape, his tapes were fresh off the dome, so we didn’t really sit down and plan them out. They were really freestyle, fresh out the dome, rapping to the talking—everything. Now, in retrospect to this day, I’ve been doing it for so long now, I’m fresh off the dome too with new music and more of the mainstream music and everything. I don’t even have to listen to the record to know how beautiful I finna make it right now.
On The Wow Factor:
OG Ron C: That’s what it is all about. Once you get to that certain level, it becomes about the wow factor. That’s been my thing. That’s crazy that you’ve said that because at the beginning of the year, if you go look at my Twitter, you’ll just see it. Sometimes I just tweet, “The wow factor.” What’s gonna be the wow factor? It’s just like Beyonce when she did the Super Bowl. What was going to be the wow factor? It had to be Destiny’s Child. We’ve seen everything. We’ve seen her gyrate her ass across the stage. We’ve seen Jay Z come out with her. So, when I am tackling these projects, the wow factor has to be like, “What’s going to make people say wow? That’s nice. That’s it right there.”
I just believe the wow factor, once you get to a certain point in your career—I don’t like to say the top, but fuck it, I am on the motherfucking top of this chopping shit—once you get there, everybody wants to try to get you, man. People think they doing something. Just when they think they caught up, you gonna speed on man. You gotta speed off.
On Choosing Albums To Slow Down:
OG Ron C: Here’s two ways I do it. First of all, the world wants to hear the major projects slowed down anyway. Either I can sit back and let the world complain about the sloppy versions out there, or I can take advantage of the situation. Promote my brand and everything. That’s the reason why I talk so much on those because it’s a promotion tool.
It’s a promotional tool for the majors because I have more to gain. Somebody that’s got a million followers or even somebody that’s got 100,000 followers, I have more to gain with just promoting. And [when] the artist gets behind it, also it makes it better for me. When it comes to some of the independent [artists], I don’t like to be the one that was told about it. I like to be the one that discovers the artist. I go to a lot of concerts, I’m really out there out in the streets. I do get out there and I pay attention to my Twitter. I do pay attention to the social stuff.
I have a real exclusive with LiveMixtapes.com. LiveMixtapes.com and CountryRapTunes.com, they’ll call me personally and they’ll say, “Hey man, you should check this out. You should chop this here.” That’s what lately I have been getting the independents from. Every new person that comes in the South, that’s CountryRapTunes. LiveMixtapes, that covers damn near the whole world from West to East to South to North.
I have a fan in every state. So, if I have to do it for that one fan in every state, I know I have 50 fans. I know that’s enough because that’s one in every country, every state, whatever. If that one person gonna listen, I’m just feeding my fan frenzy. If I pick up something on the way, that’s cool. Everybody don’t like OG Ron C. I’m just grateful for the one that likes my music and I can just continue to provide what I think they want to hear. And they’ll tell me what they want to hear and I listen.
On The Lyrics:
OG Ron C: When you are chopping and screwing stuff, first of all, you are chopping and screwing music. When you do it right, the lyrics fall in place. Now, how you choose which lyrics to repeat and bring back? It’s really left up to the DJ. Me, particularly, I like to bring back stuff somebody can feel or somebody can relate to, some good point that the rapper said or something. “I fucked a bitch in a back of a car.” Yeah, everybody want to do that. “I fucked a bitch in a back of a car” [Laughs]. I am just making an example, but I am just saying, any unique lyric that’s really left to each its own. It all depends on what you are feeling out of the song at the moment.
When it comes to the blends, most of the time it’s like this. When you are hearing my projects first of all, this is the way the project tracked out anyway. This is the way it smoothly flows. Every song, the next song it goes. If you listen to Drake, one song he talks about owning it. “Yeah, it’s mine! Yeah, it’s mine! Yeah, now.” Next song was what? “Own It.” When I thinking of this chop, I’m sitting they’re thinking of everything that the artist is saying. I’m thinking, “Yeah, that’s me in the rap game.” This is my game. I own this game. Basically, my plight is into it too. This is where it’s at because I get to talk shit. That’s what makes the whole tape anyway. Talking shit, the blending, the chopped and screwed, the rapping. That’s the reason why I try to give it a little bit of everything.
On Remixing Tracklists:
OG Ron C: If it’s a straight album, yes I do that. If it’s a DJ-hosted album, I do something for my DJ friends. I do a lot for my DJ friends project, like DJ Drama. A lot of guys, I do their projects. If an artist comes to me and he has another DJ, I already mixed up his tape. The DJ already has the flow of the tape already going, I try not to break that flow of the tape. So as long as the tape doesn’t have a flow of its own self going. Most time most artists in their albums they do. I can uniquely unravel their flow and create a new flow and make it a whole different project.
Even from their skits, I mix my skits. I put my skits in a different place. When you hear this 2 Chainz album, how I started it off, I started to a skit singing. It all depends. Most albums, yes I do. Most mixtapes, I don’t. They have a flow to them already. The DJ-hosted mixtape, that’s the only time I don’t do a change in the tracking.
On Upholding A Legacy:
OG Ron C: Screw tapes will never come back because DJ Screw will never come back. There will never be another Screw tape in life. Also, that’s another reason why we have The Chopstars to uphold the Chopped Not Slopped. Chopped Not Slopped would never die, even when OG Ron C's gone. It would never die. If DJ Screw would branded some DJs to be The Screwed Up Click DJs—he never endorsed that though. It's kind of hard to keep DJ Screw’s legacy that nobody wants. The fans don’t really want to hear nobody but DJ Screw.
He really didn’t have proteges like that I know of. You did have DJ Big Baby, who continued it on after he passed away. I don’t know DJ Screw was saying, “Yeah, this is going to be the next DJ Screw right here. This is The Screwed Up Click DJ.” I never listened to a lot of Screw tapes like that though. But I studied the style to make sure I could even be standing on what I am standing on. So saying Chopped Not Slopped and being able to uphold it, people to say, “Yeah, you’re doing a good job. You’re not making it looking bad. You’re making it look good. You’re not taking it away from his essence.”
I can’t say that era [will come back]. You’ll always have legendary Screw tapes. When DJ Screw died, he had never made a CD. He only made his music on tapes. He never made a CD. He only made tapes. And the CD that he did make was an album that he dropped on Big Time Records. He never made a CD, like a underground CD. He always made a tape. By the time that he passed, his CDs started taking over anyways. So by the time DJ Screw had passed, the tapes were still in the reigns. He had just made those CDs. He never recorded to a CD. He only recorded onto a tape. There will always be that legacy right there.