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Flint, MI—When Marlon Brown Jr. sits down to work, he becomes Enrgy.
It’s his name as a producer, but it also represents a sound he’s been cultivating since childhood—a sound that’s become uniquely “Flint.”
The 20-year-old has produced music for some of Flint’s most well known rap artists like YN Jay, YSR Gramz, and Rio Da Yung OG. But he’s also worked with mainstream names like Lil Yachty, EST Gee, and Moneybagg Yo.
His tracks, including “Coochie” by YN Jay and “Legendary” by Rio, have received millions of views on YouTube and brought Flint music to a national audience.
“Between the ages of 12 (and 17), I was really trying to find the identity. I was trying to find the identity of who I am and then use it,” Enrgy said.
His signature “Flint type beat” punctuates bass drums with energetic tempos, creating a groovy, catchy sound, he said.
“It can be dark, and it can be very melodic at times,” Enrgy said.
The sound debuted in 2019 when Enrgy worked with his first artist YSR Gramz on the album “Tap In.” He was a senior in high school at the time.
While producing the album, he had one goal: he didn’t want to sound like Detroit.
“That thing came about off the simple fact that we are not Detroit,” Enrgy said. “Anything that’s coming out of Michigan, it’s automatically assumed that it’s the Detroit style because Detroit is the bigger city.”
As his career progressed, he noticed Flint artists even rapped differently than those from Detroit. They were goofier, raw, and freer, he said.
“We never wanted to be Detroit. … I wanted to snap that,” Enrgy said.
From the womb, to the PlayStation, to the Studio
Enrgy’s father and manager, Marlon Brown Sr., said Enrgy was born into music.
“His mother said that he would stop kicking her when I turned music on,” Brown said. “I would put my hand on her stomach, and he was kicking her. I hit the button, stop. Turn it off, he’d kick.”
Growing up in the 70s, Brown was exposed to artists like Prince and Michael Jackson early on—and then hip-hop went mainstream.
“Once I heard that, it was over. I always tell people, when we heard hip-hop it was like a switch went off,” Brown said. “Hip-hop is culture. It’s more than music. It’s a feeling more than anything. … It’s in our DNA at this point.”
Brown started making beats as a hobby. But by the time Enrgy was born in 2000, Brown had an at-home studio and was producing music for local artists.
When Enrgy turned three, he made his first beat on a PlayStation game called MTV Music Generator.
“His room’s right on top of my studio. So, we could hear him making beats. … And I would turn my music off, go upstairs and say, ‘Son, can I get that beat?’ And he’d be like, ‘Yeah, Dad,’ and I’d be like, ‘I’ll pay you later,’” Brown said, adding that artists would sometimes prefer Enrgy’s beats to his own.
A New Chapter
These days, Enrgy wakes up, makes beats (though not on his PlayStation), and repeats.
“I don’t do nothing. I don’t go out. I just make beats all day,” Enrgy said. “I’m trying to be consistent and continue to grow and continue to make it.”
He’s still producing for the “core group” of Flint rappers, but he’s ready for a new stage in his life.
“I feel like now it’s time for me to leave. I just want to see something different.”
Brown said his son hasn’t even “scratched the surface” of his potential.
“As a father, outside of being his manager, outside of being really tapped into music because I’m in the business, too, I couldn’t be more proud,” Brown said.