Foreign Gists

The hip hop song that reminds Mark Ronson of home


(Credit: OML Entertainment)

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Mark Ronson is a renowned producer and has a fair bit of respect in every genre. He has dabbled in everything from EDM to hip hop, and his career reflects his taste in music as, unsurprisingly, he likes a bit of everything. Speaking to NME, Ronson told fans about his life, growing up through music.

Speaking about the first ever concert he attended, Ronson revealed it was a Billy Squier gig. Now Squier may not be a hip hop artist, but one of his songs has certainly been used a fair amount of times for sampling purposes in the genre, and that song is ‘The Big Beat’.

Speaking on the gig Ronson recalled, “The first one I remember was Billy Squier. Do you know who that is? He’s most famous for a song called ‘The Big Beat’ which is now one of the most famous breakbeats – it’s the beat from ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’ by Dizzee Rascal and Jay-Z’s ’99 Problems’. He was this rocker from the eighties, a bit like Robert Plant or something, and he had a couple of huge hits but was always ripped apart by critics. But whatever. I think he was maybe too good-looking or something. I think he had a crush on my mom [British socialite Ann Dexter Jones]. She took me to a few shows.”

Ronson, who is the genius behind ‘Ooh Wee’ featuring legends Nate Dogg, Ghostface Killah, Trife Da God, and Saigon, on a slightly morbid note, was also asked what song he would want played at his funeral, to which he quickly responded, ‘They Reminisce Over You’ by Pete Rock and CL Smooth.

A classic old school east coast jam, Ronson explained, “Well, I don’t want anyone being overly dramatic on my behalf, and I would like people to have a good time, but there’s this song by [New York hip-hop duo] Pete Rock and CL Smooth that’s called ‘They Reminisce Over You’ that I really like. It’s a beautiful song, about someone’s passing – and it has one of my favourite beats of all time. Yeah, I’ll have that. No, I won’t have ‘Uptown Funk’…”

However, when finally asked which song reminds him of his home, Ronson (who was born in London and raised in New York City) answered, “I grew up in London, but New York is home, and any classic, early ’90s DJ Premier production sounds like New York to me. The obvious one would be ‘N.Y. State of Mind’ by Nas. I hear the opening bars of that song and I can smell the subway! New York is going through a bit of a revival right now – there was the Pop Smoke stuff and Cardi B – but it hasn’t quite been the same since it got really expensive in the early 2000s and everyone moved out to Los Angeles. It’ll come back around. You can never write New York off.”