*Lawrence (far right), was a member of Puffy's legendary Hitmen crew of producers.
The Architect is a section which focuses on producers and their craft, mostly by showing beatsmiths in their natural habitat: the studio.
Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence is not what you would call a household name among regular hip-hop fans, but his pedigree has been vastly underrated over time. With his oftentimes partner and good friend Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie (which most of you know as The Mad Rapper), he has crafted a few classics in the second half of the 90's, and definitely helped create and cement Sean "Puffy" Combs' and Bad Boy Records' legacy as the powerhouse of mainstream hip-hop as part of The Hitmen collective.
His wide-ranging list of customers include LL Cool J, Puff Daddy, The Lox, Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, Boyz II Men, and of course the Notorious One, Biggie Smalls. Simply put: you may not know of him, or may not really see him as an active player these days, but rest assured he's definitely getting a steady stream of royalty checks from the RIAA from all his previous work. One of his now-famous clients got to benefit from his talent, as the one and only Jay-Z received one particular instrumental that some hardcore Hov fans still refer to as "his hardest song". From In My Lifetime Vol. I (1997), "Where I'm From" is one gritty concoction of street life mixed with hood pride, coated over a looped-up Yvonne Fair (a James Brown protegé) sample, hard drums and bass.
Mr. Lawrence will now see you in his office, and show you how he doctored one of the greatest Jay-Z tracks ever (and yes, kids, it is the "Angels" beat).
Yvonne Fair - "Let Your Hair Down" (forward to :54 for the actual loop)
Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence's Hitlist (produced or co-produced):
Tracey Lee - "The Theme"
MC Lyte - "Cold Rock A Party" (Bad Boy Remix)
The Notorious B.I.G. - "Hypnotize"
Puff Daddy - "Been Around The World"
Puff Daddy - "Don't Stop What You're Doing"
Black Rob - "I Love You Baby"
LL Cool J - "Phenomenon"
The Lox - "Money, Power, Respect"
Faith Evans - "Love Like This"
Faith Evans - "All Night Long"
Jay-Z - "Where I'm From"