DJ OG Ron C: Inside the DJ Booth
DJ OG Ron C has worn multiple hats in the industry before even becoming an integral part of hip-hop in Houston, Texas. The Fifth Ward native was once a part of a rap group as an adolescent. "I was going to the studio as a part of The Sinister Crew and we didn't have any production set up," he tells The Boombox. "I was taught on the spot how to make a simple beat and I fell in love with that. I started making beats with my best friend DJ Mark Lewis aka The Original Stickabush. He used to scratch to my beats and do tricks."
That was the moment Ron C knew he wanted to move on to manipulating sounds through the use of turntables and a mixer. He persuaded Lewis to teach him the basics and hasn't stopped since. Within a few years, he'd gone from rapper to producer, then a DJ. But his growth in the studio was nothing compared to what he'd end up doing outside of the studio.
The record spinner started working for Houston radio station Majic 102's street team while he was still in high school. A few years after, he interned in promotions for another Houston station, 97.9 The Box, and eventually ended up as an official employee. In 1994, he linked with one of his co-workers at the station, Michael "5000" Watts, and the two built a work relationship, which spawned the legendary Texas record label Swishahouse. The imprint gave Houston rappers from Ron's native Northside the room to expand their accessibility and cash-in on the newfound exposure.
Rappers like Chamillionaire and Slim Thug had their start with Ron C's imprint, but the DJ says the most important record in his possession wasn't released through Swishahouse, although it featured Swishahouse artists Paul Wall & Chamillionaire.
"The most significant record I own is 'In Love With My Money,' because it was my first single off my very first album Southern's Finest," he reveals. "That was the first album to be released by a DJ at regular speed and it was the first double album released by a DJ in the south, period. It sold 100,000 [units on Paid-N-Full imprint] and featured regular, and chopped and screwed beats."
Before his success as co-founder of one of the most prominent labels in the South, OG Ron C was headed to Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. It was there that he says he had the worst set ever. "I think every DJ's worst experience is when his equipment malfunctions," he sighs. "Or back in the day, when the record used to skip."
"Once, I was doing a party at the City Club in Marshall and the roof was leaking in the DJ booth over the turntables," he shares. "I had my headphones on and turned to the back to look through my crates for my next jam. But the whole time, water was dripping on my left turntable, if there's ever been water on your record, you know it makes this crazy sound.
"So I had all the fraternities doing their steps to the music and there go my turntables making that crazy sound. I'm not paying attention and turn around, everybody stopped dancing and started staring. To top it off, one of my homegirls in the crowd yells out, 'Ron C! You fucking up!' I'm like, 'Damn dog, you ain't have to blast your boy like everybody can't see that shit.'"
There have been good memories of Ron C's time behind the tables though, from his sets overseas to one particular scratch session during a Chamillionaire show in Anaheim, Calif., where he says he deejayed behind curtains to a roaring crowd. There are some hilarious nights also.
"The funniest thing that happens is having drunk fans come up and show love," Ron C admits. "They don't mean no harm but they're just amazed to see someone whose music they love. They get so excited. Slurring and swearing, making their chicks take pictures with you, making you grab their chick's ass."
Currently, Ron C's a radio host for the online station ChopNotSlop.com as well as Slim Thug's tour DJ. When asked about what he gets into during his downtime, he jokingly asks, "Downtime? Is that in the dictionary? Never heard of that word. I don't know what that means. Or did you mean sleeptime? That's barely in my life dictionary either."
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5. "We Want Some," Brook Gang Music
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4. "Bad Girl," Usher
5. "Who You Wit," Jay-Z
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