PETE ROCK ALL SOULED OUT
WITH THE PEN OF GRAND PUBA AT HIS DISPOSAL, THE CHOCOLATE BOY WONDER’S DEADPAN, YET CAPABLE, DELIVERY OCCASIONALLY RODE SHOTGUN WITH CL SMOOTH. BUT WE ALL KNOW WHO WAS THE BEST TO EVER DO IT ON A PETE ROCK TRACK.
I didn’t know how to use a drum machine. I would sound.
DIAMOND D STUNTS BLUNTS AND HIP H0P (2015)
THIS DIGGIN’ IN THE CRATES CREW MEMBER’S CLASSIC DEBUT IS REQUIRED LISTENING FOR THOSE CURIOUS ABOUT THE ART OF SLICING AND DICING OBSCURE BREAKS AND PAIRING THEM WITH WITTY WORDPLAY.
It would not be an understatement to say that, as a member of Bad Boy Entertainment’s elite Hitmen production squad, Ron “Amen Ra” Lawrence is responsible for some ofthe most acclaimed Hip Hop songs ofthe mid to late ’90s.
“I came to Bad Boy in like ’96, around the time Stevie J., Nasheim Myrick and Deric D Dot Angelettie came in,” explains Ron. “We all came together like a big assembly line. Everybody played their part.”
During that time, the man nicknamed Amen Ra “Unseen Force of the Rising Sun” in ancient Egyptian helmed monster hits like LL Cool J’s “Phenomenon” and Jay Z’s “Where I’m From,” in addition to Bad Boy classics “Been Around The World” from Puff’s No Way Out and Biggie’s “Hypnotize.”
“I started off with a good friend of mine by the name of Herbie Love Bug,” says Ron of his early days in Queens. Music was always around him, thanks to his mother who played piano and his father who played guitar. “I didn’t know how to use a drum machine. I would sound beats with my mouth.” Lawrence’s beat boxing skills quickly led to his first production contribution on Salt N Pepa’s hit “I’ll Take Your Man.”
His abilities would pay off years later at D.C.’s Howard University when he met fellow NY native Sean “Puffy” Combs. Lawrence even credits himself as the first person to take Combs to a recording studio, though their history together didn’t give him an edge amongst the in house competition at Bad Boy.
“Puff always had his favorite Hitmen,” Lawrence explains. “I played Mase ‘Been Around The World’ and Black Rob ‘I Love You Baby.’ They flipped out. Then Puff said, ‘I’m taking the records for my album.’ And those were tracks he had passed on.” But Ron says that once he adapted his sound to what he thought Puff was looking for mainly funk hits from the ’70s he made the transition to the forefront.
Since leaving the Hitmen fold, Lawrence has maintained a low profile, though he recently produced Beyonce’s lead single from the upcoming film The Pink Panther.
“I think New York has lost its sound,” says Ron of his return mission. “We need cats to keep that sound alive; that’s the foundation of Hip Hop. I think music should reflect where you come from.”
RESERVED YFL Woman Spring Summer 2015 Lookbook Photo Gallery
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