Ron Braunstein (born June 7, 1976), better known as Necro, is an American rapper, record producer and director from Brooklyn, New York. Having gained notoriety as an underground hip hop musician, Necro is known in the hip hop community for his exceptionally explicit lyrics. He invented the term "death rap" to describe his style of ultra-violent hip hop and to set himself apart from other genre labels created by the media. He is also the younger brother of rapper Ill Bill. Necro founded the independent record label Psycho+Logical-Records in November 1999 in order to maintain complete control over the conception and distribution of his music, and also due to the observation that no white rapper can gain recognition on a major record label without being "discovered" by a black producer, citing Snow and Eminem as examples of this.
Necro was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 7, 1976. He was raised in the Glenwood projects of Brooklyn, New York, where he would begin selling drugs at the age of 16 and was reportedly interested in hip hop from a young age; Necro began performing as early as age 11 in his own death metal band. While some of his biggest influences were, and remain, hip hop legends such as Rakim, Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane, the harsh realities of Necro's life also drew him to the sounds of thrash metal bands such as Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica. Although he was able to recite all the lyrics to Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di" by the age of 9, he would also 'blast' Metallica's Kill 'Em All out the window of his bedroom for all the other kids in the projects to hear. He has also admitted to crying when classic Metallica bassist Cliff Burton died on September 27, 1986.
I Need Drugs
I Need Drugs
Braunstein began receiving recognition for his music as early as 1991 at the age of 15, when he won a demo contest on the Stretch and Bobbito Radio Show on WKCR 89.9 in New York City. He would make appearances on this and other radio shows over the next decade. Since 1998, he has released a series of top five college radio singles, including the 12" release "Bury You with Satan" which reached #1 on WNYU. Many demos Braunstein recorded as early as 1992 were released in 2003 and 2005 on three Rare Demos and Freestyles volumes. It was also at a Run-DMC opening performance in 1994 that Necro was booed offstage for wearing a Charles Manson t-shirt reading "CHARLIE SAVES".
In 1998, he released a self-titled independent underground EP, with the Uncle Howie Records imprint (prior to its establishment as a "true" record label by his brother William, better known as Ill Bill). The album featured five songs that would be re-released two years later on Braunstein's debut album.
Rise to fame
As Braunstein began gaining further recognition through his numerous demo tracks and radio freestyle appearances, he decided to continue releasing music independently, and with the intention of extending his distribution options, founded the independent record label Psycho+Logical-Records in November 1999. This allowed him to maintain complete control over the conception and distribution of his music, and also due to the observation that no white rapper can gain recognition on a major record label without being "discovered" by a black producer, citing Snow and Eminem as examples of this. In 2003 Braunstein signed Goretex and Sabac through a joint venture between Psycho+Logical- and Ill Bill's Uncle Howie label. Longtime friend and rapper Mr. Hyde was also signed to Braunstein's label at this time. In 2004 hip hop supergroups Secret Society and The Circle of Tyrants, both of which Braunstein is a member, were signed to the label as well.
Braunstein followed Necro with I Need Drugs, which saw a more developed emphasis on both his violence and sex themes than ever before, in songs like "The Most Sadistic" and "Get on Your Knees". It also set the stage for his brand of irreverent and often humorous commentary on the dark side of reality. Following this album he received much attention and mixed reviews in the hip hop underground scene, due to his distinctive style. A controversial music video was also released for the album's title track, which depicts people shooting heroin and smoking crack cocaine while Necro performs the song.
Gory Days was released on November 13, 2001. It was Necro's fastest selling album at the time, and with its popularity came controversy surrounding many of the album's lyrics. The first single released from the album, "Bury You with Satan", was an underground success and created some buzz for its content. In it he alludes to dozens of bizarre and brutal ways to carry out murder, including bludgeoning, dismemberment, stabbing, lethal injection, drowning, human exposition to hydrochloric acid and hanging. The song also contains references to the white slave trade. In his second single, "Morbid", he takes on the perspective of a homicidal man who is prepared to trace any potential person who engages in a feud with him, so much as they are advised to change their name, sex and body frame, and travel by plane to a remote location in order to uncertainly ensure their safety.
The Pre-Fix for Death
The Pre-Fix for Death
Braunstein's third major album The Pre-Fix for Death, was released on September 21, 2004 and proved to be yet another underground hit for the rapper. It did not feature any singles, but did contain many Necro classics including "Beautiful Music for You to Die to". The album also reflected Braunstein's interest in death metal as he had even done so much as to seek out notable death metal and hardcore artists to collaborate with including John Tardy and Trevor Peres of Obituary, Dan Lilker of Nuclear Assault, Away of VoiVod, Jamey Jasta and Sean Martin of Hatebreed and Sid Wilson of Slipknot; the album ultimately sees Necro fusing death metal into several of the album's hardcore hip hop tracks.
The year 2005 saw the release of Braunstein' fourth major album, The Sexorcist. The album has been subject to mass criticism amongst critics and fans alike for its lurid tone and dumbed down production style compared to Necro's past albums. In equilibrium, in terms of controversy, this album attracted more notoriety than previous Necro albums due to the fact that its shock-oriented lyrics were vastly increased, in aspects of sex and misogyny than Necro's previous three albums. It also evidenced Braunstein's reach into the pornography industry with cameos in skits by porn stars including (but not limited to) Ron Jeremy, Joey Silvera, Brittany Andrews and Katja Kassin. Among the album's suggestive themes which also include gore, degradation, bondage, and edgeplay.
After eight years of managing his work through his independent label Psycho+Logical-Records, Necro has recently signed a deal with a new American independent distributor, Koch Distribution, through which he released his fifth studio album, Death Rap, on September 11, 2007. Necro and Koch hope that Necro's signing with the label will help to promote Koch and the music industry's distribution of indie rap music, and further extend Necro's name. Necro appeared in a rare interview for the Breakdown TV on Onloq.com recently to discuss this new album, his fans, and his unique style.
Braunstein's film production company, the aptly named Necro Pictures, has released three direct-to-video features (187 Reasonz Y in 1997, The Devil Made Me Do it in 1998 and the I Need Drugs Music Video in 2000), all of which have received acclaim in publications such as The Source and Vibe. He has also long shown interest in pornography films, actors/actresses, and the industry as evidenced on the many select tracks he has dubbed "porn" songs in which they are referenced. In 2003, he also directed and appeared in a pornography film titled Sexy Sluts: Been There, Done That, hosted by Jerry Butler and starring Lanny Barbie. Necro further showed his reach in the pornography industry on his 2005 record The Sexorcist. This was an all-sex rap album complete with cameos in skits by industry legends such as Jerry Butler, Joey Silvera and Ron Jeremy.
Main article: Psycho+Logical-Records
Beyond being solely a recording artist, Necro has established himself as a fine businessman. While dealing drugs in his mid teens, he was reportedly so organized that he even made business cards for friends to page him. While he was relatively successful, the day he was paid $3,000 to produce a beat was the day he realized there was a less risky way to make a living. When he turned to making music, the lessons he learned hustling propelled him to independent success. In evidence of this success, what allegedly took Wal-Mart 11 years and 15 locations to gross over $1 million in sales, Necro made over $1.2 million by 2006, in half the time. He recruited what may be hundreds of teens to distribute his early releases all over the world until he could be assisted by minor distributors.
Necro founded the independent record label Psycho+Logical-Records in November 1999 in order to maintain complete control over the conception and distribution of his music, and also due to the observation that no white rapper can gain recognition on a major record label without being "discovered" by a black producer, citing Snow and Eminem as examples of this.
Necro as a producer
Main article: Necro production discography
Braunstein is also active as a producer of rap records. Besides being the producer of his own albums, Braunstein has also produced Goretex's The Art of Dying, two songs from Ill Bill's two songs from Howie Made Me Do it and all songs from What's Wrong with Bill?, Mr. Hyde's Barn of the Naked Dead and Rare Demos and Freestyles Volume 1 and Sabac's Sabacolypse: A Change Gon' Come. In addition, Braunstein has produced and appeared on several songs by other famous rappers, such as Cage's "Radiohead" and "Agent Orange", Exlib's "Feed Your Head" and "Prying the Lid", Missin' Linx's "M.I.A." and "What it Is", Non Phixion's "Legacy", "5 Boros", "I Shot Reagan", "89.9 Freestyle 1", "The Freshfest", "Criminal" and "Refuse to Lose" and Q-Unique's "The Set Up", "The Ugly Place", "Canarsie Artie's Revenge", "Father's Day" and "Psychological Warfare". Braunstein has also produced both self-titled debut albums by hip hop supergroups Secret Society and The Circle of Tyrants, both of which he is a member; the former which has yet to be released however. In addition, Mr. Hyde has revealed that Braunstein has produced his upcoming EP as well.
Hip hop / death metal fusion
Since the inception of his career, Braunstein has been tied to the genre of heavy metal, and more specifically death metal, which has altered his path into hip hop. Having played alongside such acts as Napalm Death, Sepultura, and Obituary with his ex-band Injustice, Braunstein gained insight to the underworld of death metal. He has been quoted in interviews citing death metal as a key influence for his sadistic rhymes, King Diamond and Chuck Schuldiner's Death in particular. Necro's adoration for death metal is apparent in many of his lyrical themes such as the Cannibal Corpse-like glorification of gruesome violence, the Morbid Angel-like tendency to discount and persecute Christianity, and the Slayer-like proclivity towards narrating the horrors of war.
Braunstein and his Psycho+Logical- labelmates have also been known to reference metal acts in their rhymes as well. For instance on "Underground" Braunstein states he will, "penetrate your skull like a riff from Obituary's Slowly We Rot" and quotes Metallica's "Master of Puppets" by saying, "taste me you will see more is all you need, dedicated to how I am killing you." Over the years Braunstein has increased his referencing and collaborations with underground metal acts, as evidenced by his 2004 album The Pre-Fix for Death, which features many references and collaborations with heavy metal musicians from Obituary, Hatebreed, Slipknot, and Voivod. In addition Braunstein and labelmates Goretex, Ill Bill, and Mr. Hyde have started their own supergroup known as The Circle of Tyrants, which is also the name of a song by Celtic Frost. album also contains collaborations with artists from Testament, Exhumed, and Sepultura as well as song titles named after 1980s thrash metal classics such as Slayer's "South of Heaven" and Metallica's "The Four Horsemen". Necro's 2007 album Death Rap also contains collaborations between musicians from Shadows Fall, Twelve Tribes, Fates Warning, the Cro-Mags, Lamb of God, Suffocation, Death, Anthrax and Megadeth.
It has also become a tradition on Psycho+Logical- for each release to have one song have a corresponding metal version, such as Ill Bill's "Chasing the Dragon", Mr. Hyde's "The Crazies", Necro's "Push it to the Limit" and Sabac's "A Change Gon' Come".
Necro, although he has turned from strict death metal (which he played in band Injustice along with Ill Bill) for a rap solo career, still loves metal and declares it both in music and lyrics. He raps about it in song "Keeping It Real" from the newest album, Death Rap: "A Scarface with the slash above the eye, hip-hop 'n metal I'm gonna love you till I die."
Sounds of the Underground 2007 tour
He was recently touring with the Sounds of the Underground 2007 tour. His performances were met with hostility from the metal audiences on the tour. Necro decided to leave the Sounds of the Underground tour 2007. Despite this poor audience reception to his music, Necro has admitted that he was not once "booed offstage" specifically, and that he played through his 25-minute sets regardless of the crowd's hostility.
Main article: Necro discography
* 1998: Necro
* 2000: I Need Drugs
* 2001: Gory Days
* 2004: The Pre-Fix for Death
* 2005: The Sexorcist
* 2007: Death Rap
* 1997: 187 Reasonz Y
* 1998: The Devil Made Me Do it
* 2000: I Need Drugs Music Video
* 2003: Sexy Sluts: Been There, Done That