By Daniel Winogradoff, Albums Editor


SCORE: 6.1

Ronny J is continuously striving to make his sound the sound of hip-hop’s future. On Genius’s video breaking down the production behind South Florida rapper Denzel Curry’s landmark track “Ultimate” – a track produced by Ronny J – the South Jersey native said, “Salute to [everyone] that make music… but I’m here and I’m ready to take over.”

The latest chapter of Ronny J’s campaign, a mixtape entitled OMGRONNY, is a warped and totalitarian escapade towards hip-hop’s production throne. It highlights all of his strengths as a producer: dirty, distorted basslines, stellar, yet zonky percussion patterns and swirling melodies. Never once on this project does it feel as if there is a lack of ferocity or motivation. Every decision Ronny makes is intentional and cutthroat. The contention that drives this project into negative headspaces at times, however, arrives from the disparity between the skills of the rappers featured.

Overall, the project tries to embody hip-hop’s future by featuring some of hip-hop’s youngest and most promising rappers, including Curry and Ski Mask the Slump God. When these guys rap, one can see the potential of this tape being a benchmark for the future of trap. However, the cameos from less-talented rappers, such as Wifisfuneral, Smokepurpp and Fat Nick fail to surpass lackluster grades, bringing the project’s overall quality down.

“Costa Rica” is an eddying track with great pace. Ski Mask destroys his space with his unique flow and askew lyricism (“I’m sleek, and I think swift on my feet/ Just like a broom and a sweep/ And I’m sharp, just like the foot of a cleat/ Hit a stain like Mr. Clean”). “Glacier” gives room for Curry’s anger to burst through. At one point, Curry raps “I be the Aquarius, I spit out aquariums/ Mediterranean, bitch I’m an alien… Hazardous when I spit Darius/ Savage but I’m the protagonist.” “824” is a fantastic-sounding track that features a simple, yet mesmerizing melody and Ronny J’s smooth voice over slight saturation and auto-tune.

Smokepurpp’s solo banger, “One Time,” is an empty track that contains not a single sense of creativity within his contrived couplet flow (“I only pour up the Sprite/ Molly Kelly Price”). “Snakes,” featuring Wifisfuneral, is just as unlistenable, with clichés like “permanent like a tattoo” and fruitless lines such as “Shawty used to never give me shit/ And now I’m askin’ what that ass do” plaguing the track’s canvas. The Fat Nick-assisted “Fiji Island” isn’t nearly as bad, but it’s hard to say that the song is anything better than an astral beat wasted.

Ronny J is, perhaps, the most underrated producer in hip-hop right now. However, in order to reach a higher plane of stardom, he must expand his partnerships and give his beats to formidable rappers to really accentuate the strengths of his production style (Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Rae Sremmurd are good choices, considering their base of operations). Ronny is not far from entering contention for hip-hop’s production crown and OMGRONNY is a solid first step towards that accolade.

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