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Ronny J is the Jersey-born producer shaping the unhinged sound of South Florida

Over the past couple of years, South Florida has emerged as a hotbed for a wild brand of aggressive, lo-fi, and heavily medicated hip-hop.

Artists like Denzel Curry, XXXTentacion, Smokepurpp, Lil Pump, Ski Mask The Slumpgod, Fat Nick, and Pouya have descended on rap music with a radical new style that feels like a direct “fuck you” to the years of post-Drake sadboy rap.

One of the producers supplying these rappers with the proper instrumentation to push their style forward is Ronny J, the New Jersey native who is bringing the stripped down, distorted, speaker blowing wave of South Florida “SoundCloud Rap” to the masses.

While the SoundCloud Rap moniker is a little overused these days and has kind of lost all its real meaning, Ronny J and his crew of South Florida rappers are changing the sound of hip-hop, whether you like it or not.

Ronny J first emerged on the scene producing most of Denzel Curry’s 2nd studio album Imperial, including the unhinged “Ultimate”.

Although Curry’s style is violent and fast, he isn’t quite in the same category of rappers like Smokepurpp and Lil Pump in terms of subject matter. In fact, his open opposition to lean bears in stark contrast to his other South Florida contemporaries. But, as Ronny J told HotNewHipHop, linking with Curry was “fate”:

“Fate, you know what I mean? I got a link with Denzel Curry, with his crazy fast flows and aggressive flows, with my hard ass beats because I played dreams, that’s kind of where I get it from. With me being an aggressive person as well, it just kind of clicked and then with me loving everything about Miami, I just kind of stayed down there.”

After his work with Denzel Curry, Ronny J became the producer du jour for South Florida rappers on the rise.

Looking through Ronny J’s production credits is a tour in the controversial, rip-roaring sounds of the region.

Like Smokepurpp’s “Audi”, a song that sounds like it was made almost by accident until you find yourself muttering the hook “I don’t want friends I want Audis” to yourself for the rest of the day.

On “Audi”, Ronny J’s aesthetic is on full display. 808’s backed by kicks that threaten to blow your eardrums out, weird ass synths that sound like their taken from the trap EDM world, and a hidden complexity that may not appear upon first listen.

Ronny J and Smokepurpp have formed a pretty impressive duo, regardless of what you think of the particular brand of hip-hop, with their grimy and dirty sounding music will leave a lasting impression.

“Phantom” is a swirling, chaotic, 2-minute long track with some of the wildest production you’ll hear.

Ronny J worked on most of Smokepurpp’s debut commercial mixtape Deadstar, a project filled with endless energy and potential and perhaps a prophetic glance at where hip-hop is headed in the future.

Ronny J’s work with Smokepurpp associate Lil Pump (of “Gucci Gang” fame) is similarly full of this intense potentiality, like the brief but simmering “Flex Like Ouu”.

It’s apparent from even a brief glimpse at Ronny J’s production credits that he has one of the more unique and out-there styles in contemporary hip-hop.

He told HotNewHipHop about his origins and getting into the rap game:

“I’ve kind of always been going to like the whole percussion side of music, more than the rapping and stuff like that, but, I do remember some time in middle school and throughout high school just like me and my boys, you know, wanted to be rappers. You know… like coming up with raps. And then coming up with different flows. I remember at one point I was in like a church choir too.”

But he has a different outlook than most producers who are content with staying in the shadows and making their beats for other people. Ronny J has released plenty of his own music and a mixtape OMG Ronny is said to be on the way. Ronny told HNHH about embracing the spotlight:

“I feel like I was always talented at coming up with melodies and stuff like that, so basically once I started producing, once I started getting some type of looks— I was getting looks but I felt like I still wasn’t getting publicity like I deserved— so I was like, ‘Yo fuck it.’ You know? I want to be on stage too. I don’t want to just be behind the scenes. Like I’m so much more than just like the beatmaker on a computer. I could touch like a lot of different areas, so then I started making my own shit and dropping it.”

On his new tape Ronny J will appear more as a rapper alongside artists he has worked with, like on “Thriller” with Ski Mask The Slump God.

On “Wanna”, a track that could easily stand alone on any current rap mixtape, Ronny J appears all by himself and it’s pretty effective, dude definitely has an ear for melody.

It’s clear that Ronny J draws from a broad set of influences, including dance and rock music, to create his own sound. He spoke to HNHH about touching many different genres:

“I consider myself being someone that can definitely touch almost any genre that I really want to put my mind to. I don’t want to just be rap, you know what I’m saying? I kind of want to just… like whatever comes out of me, that’s what I want to present in the best way possible.”

And that EDM influence? You’re not imagining it:

“Honestly I love going to raves. So that’s kind of how I got into the whole electronic, EDM, dubstep type shit. I just love the way it vibes because there’s no fights… stuff like that. So when it comes to Travis Barker, I just kind of like grew up playing like Tony Hawk games and shit like that and Blink-182 was always like… you know had some songs on the game and shit like that. And I grew up playing drums like I said, so, I always knew about Travis Barker.”

It’s ironic that a kid from Jersey has left such an intense imprint on the suddenly thriving South Florida rap game and Ronny J isn’t going anywhere anytime soon:

“Honestly bro, I’m from Jersey. I’m not from there so I don’t really know what they had going on down there before I got down there. But South Florida, bro, it’s great vibes. It’s sunny and beautiful all day every single day. What really attracted me down there was the beach and the lifestyle, the beautiful weather. That’s what really attracted me down there and I just kind of brought my talents down with me.”

South Florida, and the rap game at large, is lucky to have Ronny J’s talents. Look out for that solo tape OMG Ronny that should be dropping soon this year.