Recently on Twitter, a fan pointed out that Beyoncé played Lil Ronny’s song “Circle” at the Made in America festival that streamed last weekend on Tidal, Jay Z’s music streaming app. “It’s a club song,” Ronny says. “Especially for the women. When they hear it, they can’t sit still.” Beyoncé and company did a choreographed dance routine to the song, so that seems like a legitimate claim.
Ronny has no idea how his music reached Beyoncé’s ears. “Truthfully I was ecstatic about it,” he says. “You grow up looking at these people. For them to appreciate something is a blessing.”
Lil Ronny’s YouTube views have always been particularly high and they continue to be. “I’m so passionate about my music,” he continues. “I give it my all. I want people to appreciate my craft.” He is not yet sure how this latest nod will change his career and just getting validation from Beyoncé was definitely enough to put a smile on his face.
But T-Pain had also shown Ronny some love at a performance in Tyler in 2013. He played a number of Ronny's songs during intermission between sets and even had dancers freestyling to the music. “My social media went crazy,” remembers Ronny. He later found out that a mutual friend had played his music for T-Pain. See, it does help to play local.
Ronny tries to fuse as many genres as possible in his music and this seemed to make an impression. When T-Pain heard a mixtape featuring a couple of Ronny’s songs, whenever one of Ronny's came on, he'd ask who that artist was. After thanking T-Pain on Twitter, Lil Ronny received a message from the star and later chatted with him online. T-Pain offered words of encouragement, telling Lil Ronny he was on the right path and to just stay at it.
In April of 2014, YG played the House of Blues. At the end of the performance, YG had Lil Ronny join him onstage to perform that same song, “Throw That Ass in a Circle.” YG had heard Lil Ronny’s music from one of his fans and contacted him leading up to his Dallas performance. Ronny remembers YG being particularly taken with the same song that would later interest Beyoncé: “It go,” he kept saying. The two got to know each other backstage before the show.
That particular occasion proved memorable for another reason, too. YG is reportedly a Blood rather than a Crip, so when he sang “Throw That Ass in a Circle,” he changed it to “bircle” to indicate his gang affiliation. Lil Ronny remembers he kept laughing during the performance, whenever the word was changed.
Lil Ronny has been making music since he was 14, and chose his stage name at 15. “It’s short for Lil Ronny Mother-blank-blank,” he says. “I was in the studio, having fun with it. I branded it in high school. Everybody just started calling me it.” The name stuck and he began saying it at the beginning of each song. There are many Lil Ronnys in the rap game. Adding a last name helped.
“That last name solidified me,” Lil Ronny says. “It makes me stand out more. People know exactly who you are talking about.” He makes fun music. Party music. Club music. Over the years, he's released several singles and a few EPs. Ronny is the youngest of three siblings and was raised by a single parent. “Seeing my mother’s ambition to always make sure we were taken care of,” Lil Ronny says, “that is my fuel.” Indeed, he has been keeping busy playing regional shows steadily for seven years and started doing national shows a couple years ago.
He first made music as a hobby. But it became more serious once he started collaborating with friends — he began to dream of becoming a successful artist. But when a friend who shared that dream passed away a few years ago, Lil Ronny decided he had to make it in the music business. “We had the same dream,” Lil Ronny says. “I just feel like I have to fulfill that dream. And life’s too short for me to be doing something I don’t want to do.”