Monday, November 7, 2011
Ron Browz Returns With New Album, New Style
The producer-rapper Ron Browz late last month quietly released his latest studio album, The Christening.
The fact that it was released with little-to-no fanfare or publicity only underscores the rumors of Jay-Z black-balling the beatmaking rapper about a decade ago once NaS came out with Ether, the lone black eye on Jigga's curriculum vitae that was produced by Browz and also the reason for his self-bestowed nickname of Etherboy that inspired the title of his previous album.
Gone are the loud, gaudy beats that helped popularize his music a few years ago. Also conspicuously missing from the soundscape is the gratuitous use of the voice-altering Autotune technology that became his trademark with the hits Pop Champagne and Jumping (Out the Window).
Another nice touch -- no more singing for Mr. Browz, always a wise choice for a rap album.
Instead, Browz takes the novel approach of using his own voice, a practice he's been employing more and more over the past couple of years.
Even with the drastic change to the styles that first endeared him to listeners, his loyal fans should be pleasantly surprised that there is no drop-off in production considering his shift in musical approaches.
(Editor's note: Jay-Z, who allegedly resented Browz for producing what would turn out to be NaS's comeback track in response to Takeover, supposedly targeted the producer in Death of Autotune (D.O.A.), but then ironically went and rhymed on an Autotune-driven track on this year's Watch the Throne album. Go figure.)
Arab Money should go into listening to this album expecting more of what drew them to his music in the first place -- ordinary hood tales told through ordinary lyrics over extraordinary production that rivals beats by your favorite producer.
Aside from 90s rapper and fellow Harlemite Herb McGruff being on two songs, just one other artist -- singer Victoria Ki -- is featured on the 18-track album, showing that Browz is confident in his abilities to carry an album on his own, something that even the most seasoned of artists rarely are able to do.
Despite some underwhelming lyrics and trite subject matters, the chill, relaxed vibe the listener experiences prevails, and the album flows nicely from beginning to end, weighing in at a brisk 53 minutes.
Below is the lead single for this new album, and under that are other videos from Browz that previously signified his style.