Reazy Renegade Reflects On TikTok Fame, Studio Sessions With Ye, New Music
By Tony M. Centeno
July 19, 2022
Reazy Renegade has one of the most recognizable producer tags in the rap industry. The seductive female voice that echoes his name has been a staple in multiple hits from DJ Khaled, Ace Hood, Rick Ross and more that helped revolutionize Florida’s overall sound over the past decade. Much like Reazy himself, the tag has evolved into a movement that has left a mark on pop culture for years to come.
On a boiling hot Monday in July, Bryan “Reazy Renegade” Johnson walks into PLYBCK Studios in North Miami while rocking brown Valabasas jeans and a matching sweatshirt. His platinum chains glisten in the neon green lights that glared down from the ceiling.
As soon as he positioned himself at the helm of the soundboard, Reazy and I start reminiscing about his early days as one-half of The Renegades. The duo produced hits like DJ Khaled's "Welcome To My Hood," Ace Hood's "Lord Knows" and plenty more.
“I feel like what I learned from that is you can't get stuck on the same level,” Reazy tells me. “The whole point of me emerging from a group to a solo act, a solo producer and solo artist is because I just felt like I could spread my wings so much further than they were being spread. That's really all it is.”
In the years after he went solo, Reazy Renegade hit the ground running and hasn’t looked back since. He went on to produce hit songs for an array of artists like Tory Lanez, Dave East, the late Young Dolph and plenty more. In 2019, he struck gold with K. Camp’s “Lottery,” which went on to inspire a viral TikTok dance that took the world by storm. The success from “Lottery” alone has elevated Reazy from a platinum producer to a Fortnite sensation, who’s currently pulling in six-figures thanks to his new deal with the video game.
Reazy Renegade sat down with iHeartRadio to talk about his new music ventures with Empire Records, life after “The Renegade Dance,’ his upcoming project with Slim Jxmmi of Rae Sremmurd and plenty more.
It’s been 13 years since you’ve been in the game from The Renegades era to today. For those who don’t know, what was your first major placement?
"It was Gucci Mane "Constipated." I sent the beat to Gucci Mane from my dorm room and then he wrote back 'Yo I'mma use this." I was like 'What?! That's how this s**t go??' I didn't know anything about music, just that I knew how to make music. I saw on Twitter Gucci Mane was like 'Yo producers send me beats.' I'm like 'Yo they do that? You could email it? So I just did it and it started that hunger. I got my first placement when I was 19 years old. I've been in this game for a long time but I still feel young in the game because.. even with the music now changing I feel like it's still humbling to me. Every new record that I produce or provide or something, I still treat the excitement of it like my first record so I feel like that has a lot to do with how to keep the drive and everything forward motion is to treat like that first feeling of getting something major. I'm not complacent with what I've done. I really want to do a lot more."
You were part of a group called The Renegades who were making records for DJ Khaled, Ace Hood, and other booming Florida artists at a time when Miami's rap scene was going through a renaissance. Talk about your time with We The Best/Young Money and how your experience shaped who you are now.
"I wanna say that experience is very important to my career because I learned to produce within a circle, a family, a guild of the top artists at that time in the whole country-- in the whole world. That came from learning from Khaled and just seeing what he was doing. Being on top of all the stuff he was doing, not just sending a million beats but sending the right beat of what he was looking for. I call that the golden age because the type of music that was coming out of here was groundbreaking; it wasn't like regular tracks. We made songs. It truly was a different time compared to today's sound."
Where did you draw inspiration from for your beats back then?
"At that time, it wasn't anything that was like other productions that influenced me. It was more like Khaled would say 'Oh I need anthems. I need stuff that's going to make people raise their hands.' That was enough inspiration to do something musically that sounds like that. That was all the motivation at that time to hear him say 'I need this, this and that' without actually hearing what it was. I feel like we created those sounds. The inspiration came from within our inner circle of people. It wasn't really anything from outside. That's why I think the stuff was shining everywhere because it wasn't what everyone was doing. There weren't a lot of popular samples. It was all natural. Yeah it was all original music."
What’s your favorite beat you’ve ever produced and why?
"My favorite one for sure is "Get Paid" by Young Dolph. That's my favorite joint. I just had a lot of fun making the beat. I have videos of myself in the studio like I was dancing in the studio before anybody even heard the beat. I was like 'Yo whoever take this shit is gonna be crazy.'"
So you made that before Dolph even came into the picture?
"Yeah, I made it and DJ E Feezy sent it to Dolph. He told me -- he came to the studio and was like 'Yo I think Dolph will sound good on this' so I'm like 'Aight send it to him.' So he sent it to him and two weeks later Dolph called my phone like 'Yo I'mma use this as a single.' He said 'I'm coming to Miami. We're gonna shoot the video.' He came through, and he handled the business with the beat. He came with cash like 'Here you go.' We went out to the clubs and s**t and it was like a dope situation to be included like from the start to the finish to have your idea come to life all the way through."
How did you feel after everything happened?
"I was excited because personally, I was a Dolph fan before that. He was getting big, but he wasn't like big, big yet so to have the record that you know helped launch that major part of his career... that's like a producer's biggest dream. After he died, I was devastated. It’s something I didn’t expect to hear. I’m still thinking about it today."
"Get Paid" is one of the songs you listed on your recent series on Instagram 'Songs You Didn't Know Reazy Produced.' How did you pick those specific records?
"To be honest, I got my top 50 best productions and downloaded the content for each and it's been like Russian roulette with them. Like it just so happened that those four [videos] were like the start of the series because I wanted to grab people's attention so I wanted to show something that everybody knows but there's also some that people really don't know that I did. So that's why I took my top 50 tracks and I'm just going to keep that series going and educate people that I've been around before the 'Renegade' challenge before TikTok and all that."
Since then you’ve produced songs for plenty of artists. Your solo resume is insane enough as it is. Who’s the biggest artist you’ve worked with and how was that experience?
"I've worked with a lot of big artists but you know *the* biggest artist would probably be Kanye. Kanye came to Miami around November/December in 2010 and he called Khaled and was like 'Yo I need producers that got the hardest-hitting drums like whoever is doing your drums in your songs, I need them.' So Khaled called me like 'Yo you're going to go in with Kanye at 9 in the morning.' I got like an hour of sleep and went in with Kanye at the Setai in Miami Beach for like 12 hours. We made like five-six beats. This was for I wanna say Tha Carter IV. These were for Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne actually came into the studio to hear the song that we had made and I'll never forget it. Kanye played "H.A.M." for Lil Wayne and the part came up where JAY-Z said 'Talkin' bout Baby money/You ain't got my lady money.' Wayne was like 'Stop the record.' Ye stopped the record and everybody looking crazy. He just got up and left and said "Gentlemen." At that point, that was when that beef started and I literally witnessed the moment where he realized it was a diss because Lil Wayne's listening to the lyrics more than he's listening to the beat so he's listening to what Jay said. He got up and left. Mack Maine and all of the left. We was looking like... Kanye was just like 'Oh well I'm go get something to eat.' He like brushed it off. When he walked out I was like 'Did that really happen?' like that was crazy.'"
Wow. So Wayne immediately assumed that it was aimed toward him?
"He knew. It was that. It was what he thought it was but I didn't think he was going to catch it like that the first time, but he did. He didn't let no more of the song play. He stopped the song and left. That was the highlight of Kanye but we still made great beats and great music. None of them were released but you know, Kanye is the type of person who keeps stuff. Some of these songs you hear come out were done five-six years ago."
Well, you've definitely got a major record already without Ye. You made your career changing banger “Lottery” K Camp. Did you know the song would blow up like it did?
"Did we know that the song was going to do what it did? No, but did we know that it was fire? Yes. At that point, we were just having fun. We didn't really care about conforming or making a hit. We were like 'Let's put out something people can dance to," and that's what they got."
So how did you find out that it spawned a TikTok dance?
"I'll never forget. I was at Thanksgiving with my whole family in 2019. My cousins... they were like 'Have you heard of the Renegade challenge?' My cousins asked not knowing that that's me. I'm like 'No what's that?' They pulled up TikTok, I saw the dance and was like 'What?!' So I go and Google the Renegade challenge and that's my song. I told my cousins like 'I made that song'. They're like 'No way!' I started looking into it and there are hundreds, thousands of videos that were made to this song. I'm watching the numbers on TikTok go up by the hundreds of thousands every day. It's bigger than any song I've done before. Numbers that I've never seen before. The song is doing unreal, unbelievable... without a label push. That's just when I first found out about it. It wasn't even the peak of what it really got to. It got way bigger than that."
What led up to your deal with Fortnite? Was it because of the hype from the record?
"Yup! Fortnite was one of the biggest ones we did but we also did Taco Bell, Converse, and Showtime's Shameless. That was the biggest one because the writers actually wrote 'Renegade' into the script. They wrote everything to show that we were part of it. I feel like that was definitely a game-changer in pop culture so I compare it to "The Macarena," "The Electric Slide" and stuff like that because, in this age, that's just what it is."
But that Fortnite deal is still a sweet deal. You're pulling in six figures from that right?
"Yeah high six figures, which is more than anybody I know to make off one song. Albums are a different story but one song to generate that on a video game also generating on streaming platforms, YouTube, TikTok, everything. I think having a video game generate funds from this is a new gateway for producers and artists to get their songs on. The gaming community is huge. They need music. They love all music so I feel like we need to, not make music for that, but don't leave it out. You've seen what happens with Fortnite and all that. Other games have been following suit. Call of Duty got Snoop Dogg in it now. See what I'm saying? But I can say that Fortnite is a big accomplishment… for kids 12 and under, that's how they know me. 'That's the guy from Fortnite!'"
You've really reached that level. It's crazy because you've gone from the days of you producing records like "Welcome To My Hood" and now your music is being used in video games. It's a wild revolution. And now you recently signed a deal with Empire as an artist correct? Talk about how that deal came together.
"The deal came together by Chiko, my manager, was like 'Hey, look..." I had a couple records that I had in my chamber that I was debating should I drop them on my own. Chiko sent it out and next thing you know Empire was like 'Hey, we love this. We think it's a great idea for you to expand as an artist. We're behind you. Let's get it done.' In the industry, you hear that all the time and you kind of take it as 'If it happens, it happens.' Well, they were on it and it happened very quickly. Shout out to Empire, they're definitely help me mold what I want to do and how I want to come out as an artist producer. Not the same way that you've seen it before."
Earlier this year, you just dropped a new record “Ballin (Kevin Durant)" featuring Rich The Kid and K Camp.
"Yeah, that was just me and K. Camp. Every time we get together we make like 4 or 5 songs that we just keep in the chamber and that was one of the records I sent to Empire. They were like 'Yo let's get this one going.' My boy Luis R. linked me with Rich Tha Kid. Rich f**ked with the song heavy so he jumped on the verse and we made it happen. I dropped "Ballin'" and I also dropped "COD" with Tory Lanez before "Ballin'."
I know you recently teased a record with Kranium and Bad Boy Timz called "Your Mine." When can we expect that?
"That record, as of this morning, is one of my favorite records that I've done. It's afrobeats-inspired. I'm Jamaican so I have to go back to my roots of dancehall and Caribbean music. Afrobeats is kind of in that line and I have big artists… There are so many versions of that song that are going to come out. But it's gonna start with Kranium, K. Camp, Bad Boy Timz and Richie Campbell. It's a good song. It's a great song. I love it and it's something for people who enjoy that Afrobeats sound."
In addition to your own music, you're also still producing for other artists. I heard that you're working on a collaborative project with Slim Jxmmi from Rae Sremmurd, is that true?
"Yeah this is actually a project I'm solely working on with Slim Jxmmi. These are all original songs that one day we just got in the studio and we started a sound and we just kept building on it. The next thing we knew we had all these songs and we were like "Wow let's put this out. This is a sound that we created together. Let's put this out." So that's something that's coming up."
This will be after their upcoming Sremm4Life album right?
"Yeah it'll be after that album."
Did you contribute to their new album?
"Nah, nah you know that's all Mike [WiLL Made-It]. Mike does his thing with them, you know?"
You've also got a new venture with Vydia and your indie label Hits Only. Talk about that.
"Yeah it's for my label with my business partner and manager Chiko. We're just giving artists a chance. We've always been good at knowing talent and knowing music. We wanted to put all of that in a professional space so we created Hits Only. Vydia said they definitely wanted to work with us on this project. So now we're just grabbing artists and putting their music out and giving them a platform."
Which artists have you pushed so far?
"We've got Lil Eskaii, Big C and they’re both out of Atlanta. We've got a new artist, a singer named Key Notes who's going to be fire too. He has records with Meek Mill, Boosie, Bryson Tiller and he's got some big records we're going to drop with him. We're just moving like that."
It's great that you, as an artist, can say that. What can we expect from you in the next five years?
"In the next five years, I'm going to be doing everything. I'll have about two albums out... acting... I mean i plan on doing some crazy shows and movies and stuff like that. Just being more like a personable household name rather than just a musician. I want to be an all-out entertainer on everything and that's what I'm prepared to do."