Pat Ron almost forgot he'd recorded his latest freestyle video. In the one-minute clip, the 21-year-old rapper freestyles over Childish Gambino's "One Up" in his bedroom, dropping over a dozen weed references in the process. Baked as usual, he edited the video, teased it on Twitter and promptly fell asleep.
"I got stoned and forgot," says Pat Ron. The next morning, he woke up and tweeted about how he meant to share the video. Except that his friends over at The Daily Ooze, who were with him when he recorded it, had already premiered it on Twitter. Before the day was over it had been retweeted over 200 times, received over 200 likes and quoted with numerous fire flame emojis — the new standard for showing how much someone likes something on Twitter these days.
When Pat Ron's followers hear the anecdote, they love it. It’s why nearly 4,000 people follow him and tweet at him constantly. He doesn’t mind that his reputation is growing as a stoner rapper, even if he does accidentally fall into the stereotype every now and then. “I love weed. I gotta wake up and fire up,” he says. “I mostly smoke when I’m writing and I feel like my lyrics are going to transcend what I’m doing. I want a bunch of smoke followers and it’s cool because this is what I’m doing right now.”
Pat Ron insists he doesn’t just make stoner music, though. “It’s just me. It is conscious rap — I’m spreading consciousness,” he says. “My brand is the highly conscious, but I got something for everybody.” And his fans know it: “Time and time again, I see people growing with my music like ‘Bro, I caught what you were saying with that song.'... I’m tricking you.”
All of Pat Ron’s moves are deliberate and premeditated. “When I started taking music seriously I started learning demographics so I can cater to a certain type of people,” he says. When he saw that the weed crowd was following him, he decided to roll with it, and it's had some unexpected benefits.
Last year, one of Pat Ron's fans tagged him and his partner Ea$e in a tweet to The Smokers Club, a website dedicated to all aspects of weed culture. The website reached out to offer them a slot on upcoming Christmas show in New York City, headlined by prominent rappers Joey Badass and Father. One catch: they had to win a Twitter poll to get it. Pat Ron and Ea$e ultimately came up just short, but The Smokers Club reps were impressed and invited them to New York for the show anyway.
Since then The Smokers Club have grown into Pat Ron’s biggest fans. After the New York show in December, they invited the duo to Austin for their official South by Southwest showcase and last week Pat Ron opened The Smokers Club’s summer tour headlined by Cam'ron at Gas Monkey Live!
“It’s given me an opportunity to grow and work with the company, to see how record labels are run, how they run their shows so I can learn how to run my own shows,” Pat Ron says. “Everything is a learning experience.”
Before that, though, Pat Ron had learned some important lessons just by studying the local landscape. “[Dallas rappers] Crit Life are a prime example: They’re more known for their parties than their music. People know they can throw a good gathering,” Pat Ron says. Being a talented rapper who can freestyle is one; putting on a show, or even a party, is another. “It’s hard to perform all these lyrics,” he says. “People not trying to hear that. They want to hear that street, trap music because it’s winning and it’s the current move. But you got to be on the next transition because this trap wave is dying.”
Pat Ron's next move is to release the album he's currently working on, possibly through The Smokers Club label, although negotiations are still ongoing. One thing's for sure, though: Despite all that weed, Ron wants to make sure he doesn't sleep on any opportunity that comes his way.
“I’m here. As I’m expanding my consciousness, I’m expanding my vision and I have my sight on opportunity,” Pat Ron says. “If it’s in front of me, I’m going to take it.”