Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Suffolk’s own ‘Renown’

Article By: Matt McQuaidrenownpic

It seems that the only colleges that rappers are attending these days are the School of Hard Knocks and Hustle U. Suffolk, however, is home to an up-coming rapper known as Renown (real name Ryan O’Connor, Class of 2012). Renown, a communications and broadcast major originally hailing from Methuen, has been rapping since he was 10 and recording since he was 16. Working alongside fellow Suffolk emcee J.O. the Prophet (Jordan O’Connell, Class of 2013), Renown has been recording prolifically since high school and has no plans of stopping anytime soon.

Suffolk Journal: How did you first get into rap music?

Renown: I guess I was a big TRL fan, and they had that Eminem special where they first played “My Name Is.” Straight from that, I fell in love with it, and from there I got myself into all sorts of artists.

Suffolk Journal: What are the advantages/disadvantages of being a rapper in the Boston hip-hop circuit as opposed to a city with a larger rap scene such as New York, Los Angeles, or Atlanta?

Renown: As far as advantages, lots of people are trying to make it in Boston; because it’s small, it’s easy to get started. I started a band page two days ago, I already have 400 fans. No one has come up from Boston, as far as mainstream artists; it makes me want to aim for that. As far as disadvantages, [Boston] isn’t the first place labels go to because of a lack of major talent.

Suffolk Journal: How did you end up working with J.O. the Prophet?

Renown: I met him in homeroom freshman year of high school. I was walking down the hall rapping to 50 Cent, and he knew it. Before long, I started working with him. He’s one of the main reasons I’ve taken rap so strongly; he’s pushed me, I’ve pushed him.

Suffolk Journal: What have you been doing as far as promotion goes?

Renown: That’s something I’m trying to introduce to myself right now, in high school I was selling CDs in the hallway. Now I’m in the big city, there are so many more opportunities. It starts with the internet; I’m trying to perform at some different school events. I’m trying to associate myself with different venues in the city with the hope of really getting stuff held.

Suffolk Journal: What would you say are some of your biggest influences are?

Renown: Eminem. I’m a hip-hop head, but more than that I’m a music head, I listen to R&B, rock. Where my flows are, where my melodies are, they come from different genres. I’m a big fan of Drake right now, seeing as he’s doing the same thing I’m doing right now as far as combining R&B and rap as one.

Suffolk Journal: Many white rappers (notably Brother Ali, Slaine, Sage Francis, etc.) have been successful in the underground as of late. Is race no longer relevant in hip-hop?

Renown: I think it’s always going to be relevant. I believe Eminem is top five of all time, but that barrier still hasn’t been broken. If I say I’m a rapper, someone’s going to ask me to prove it; because I’m white no one takes it at face value.

Suffolk Journal: You sample Trick-Trick and Eminem’s “Welcome to Detroit” on your song “Mr. Fix It.” What do think Eminem would say if he heard your song?

Renown: I hope he would say he appreciates it; the original song had a real hardcore vibe to it. I’m coming out of Boston for the mere fact that I go to school here. I come from a middle class suburb, and a good family, therefore I don’t fall into the same old hardcore act that everyone seems to follow. I just call it as I see it.

Suffolk Journal: What do you think the primary difference is between mainstream hip-hop and underground today? Why the divide?

Renown: Because mainstream knows what people want, they want to hear about the good life, the parties, the drinking, the clothes, the money. And [people] want to be able to dance to it. People don’t sit down and listen to music anymore. That’s why there are so many one-hit wonders.

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Suffolk’s own ‘Renown’