|Features Published: November 19, 2011 |
Exclusive Interivew With Drumma Boy – Multi Platinum Production Strategies From The Drum Squad
Exclusive Interivew With Drumma Boy – Multi Platinum Production Strategies From The Drum Squad
Born in Memphis, TN and bred in Cordova, Tennessee, Drumma Boy was exposed to musicianship at a young age. His mother was a professional opera singer and his father, a professional clarinetist and music professor at the University of Memphis, was the first African-American male to hold the 1st chair position in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, where he is still an active member. The rest of his extended family including grandmothers and aunts were also musicians and taught music in the schools. Drumma Boy says he had a recorder in his hand at age 3 and a clarinet at age 5.His father was instrumental in teaching him about traditional music but it was his mother that introduced him to Curtis Mayfield and 70’s oldies. Gholson is the younger brother of producer Ensayne Wayne. Drumma Boy attended the University of Memphis as a Music Business Major. In between attending classes, he would shop his homemade beats to Memphis rappers such as Gangsta Boo and Tela, as well as travel to Texas to work on projects for Scarface and Bun B of UGK.
WWSMAG: You took home the Best Club Banger Award at the 2011 BET Awards for your collaboration with Waka Flaka F, Roscoe Dash & Wale. How does it feel to get that kind of recognition?
DB: It’s cool to get that kind of recognition. We definitely been in this limelight before and it’s cool to finally go head and get the outcome you expect. A lot of times things are political and what not.. Amongst all the achievement awards and merits, I told Waka that I was going to do a specific thing..I fulfilled my word with Waka, I fulfilled my word Roscoe Dash and I fulfilled my word with Wale, so to me that’s what’s most important. Exactly what I tell someone I’m going to do and being able to come through exactly how you expected it to come through. That was the only record I’ve done with Waka and it’s a blessing..I definitely swung as hard as I could swing and I actually felt like I hit a home run. You’re out there practicing your hits, getting your hitting percentage up and you know..hard work pays off.
What’s going on in Drumma’s world at the moment? What do you have working on right now?
Right now, the King just came home! Working with T.I., of course everybody heard the ‘ride around and gettin it’ Remix, the title to that song is “Spend It” by Tity Boi aka 2 Chainz. Spend it Remix Featuring T.I. Everybody’s listening to that, jammin to that, I think we’re number 30 on Billboard right now so that joint is picking up like crazy. DJ’s have noted me as one of the hottest artist coming up in Atlanta as a Rapper. A lot of people have been checking out my music as well. I just dropped my first rap solo mixtape titled “The Birth Of D-Boy Fresh.” I got a single on their called “I’m on World Star” that’s kinda been picking up. “I’m on World Star” has been labeled as the Word Star anthem by the owner of World Star, Q. He heard the record, sent the whole World Star video crew down to Atlanta and we did the video. The video should be coming soon to World Star in about a week. I’m releasing an iTunes version of my mixtape in about a month, definitely stay tuned to that. I got another single titled “Levi Jeans” with 2 Chainz and Rocko on it, that’s been heating up the clubs as well. I’m working with Nelly, we were just in the studio all last night.. I’m working with Luda, Big Boi of Outkast, Trey Songz, Johnta Austin, B.O.B, Goodie Mob, Young Buck, Big Sean, Wiz Kalifa, Plies..staying busy man. Also, Dboy Fresh is like my verbal side, I consider Dboy Fresh to be who you’re talking to right now. Dboy Fresh is like how you figure out more intellectually about me, it’s like who I am verbally. Drumma Boy is what you hear musically and Dboy Fresh is the vocal side of me.
Your records are real complex, do you have any background in orchestra music?
Yeah, my dad comes from the orchestra. My dad played clarinet in the orchestra, still is first chair clarinet in the Memphis orchestra for 36 years plus and my mom was in the opera. I had a recorder in my hand at three or four and was on to the clarinet by five.. was in a Tennessee band by thirteen, coulda been in the orchestra. Started making beats as a side hustle for change and blew up with it, basically long story short.
Can you explain “Drumma Boy Live?”
Drumma Boy Live is what I do with live instrumentations. The first Drumma Boy Live placement was a record titled “Here I Am”. It was Rick Ross’ record featuring Nelly and Avery Storm. The second Drumma Boy Live record I did was on T.I.’s Paper Trail album titled “You Ain’t Missin’ Nothin”. He was basically talking to the homeboys in jail like “you ain’t missin nothin homeboy”.. It had all the live drums, live bass the saxophone and all that on that joint. Definitely have more Drumma Boy Live coming soon.. Angie Stone, been working with her.. been working with Raheem DeVaughn. Erykah Badu just reached out so definitely going be working on some more R&B..and some of Ne-Yo’s soul music as well.
Your music is real captivating, every track does a great job getting you in a certain vibe. Is there anything you particularly do in the studio to help make your tracks more of an experience?
Not really man, a lot of times I just get to it. I try to capture how I feel at the moment. I like to take advantage of how I feel at the moment. If I’m feeling great..if I’m feeling good I want to take advantage of that feeling and transfer how you feel at the moment to music.. Transfer your emotions to music and that’s really what I do..I consider the best producer to do that the best. Transfer exactly how you feel into a song, and that’s what I do. It works, a lot of people are fans of what I do so that’s why I like to make music how I like to make music. If it satisfies me, then it’ll satisfy you ’cause you like what I like. So many people try to make music for other people.. I just do what I do, stay in my lane and you’ll have a crowd to that.
We Feature a lot of Independent Artists, can you explain how important it is to focus on finding your own niche in the industry and building your own brand other than focusing on the next dollar?
That’s it right there within the question. Focusing on the dollar will short you a lot of other opportunities and blessings so you definitely gotta stay focus on the love of the music. That’s the only thing that’s gonna get you through the thick and thin. There’s gonna be a lot of times that you wanna give up, there’s gonna be a lot of times you feel you should be paid more and deserve more, there’s a lot of times you don’t get the outcome you expect and you gotta be ale to hold it down and stay grounded and say you know what..let me give it another shot..every time you get hit in the face, every time you get knocked down, every time you take that shot you gotta get back up. You gotta say you know what, I’m not done, I cannot quit, I cannot give up.. and that’s the attitude you gotta have, or else your not gonna make it.
Your Memphis, TN born and bred. Who were some of your influences growing up?
Man influences hands down were Isaac Hayes, Al Green, Three 6 Mafia, 8 ball and MJG..they were all OG’s and legends around me, gotta salute the Kings..Elvis Presley.
What was the transition like from Drumma Boy the Producer to Drumma Boy the business man? Did anyone partake in your growth of business?
If I give credit to anyone, I’d give it to my Mom. My Mom always taught me how to hustle at a young age and taught me how to not depend on her because she was a single mother raising me and what not. Around twelve and thirteen she basically had me taking care of myself and providing for myself and being responsible for myself.. Since that age, I’ve been kinda business minded as far as being able to provide for myself and run my own company and do everything that I need to do myself and understand how to pump out a budget consistently for myself. Which is hustlin’..hustlin’ is your budget. In the midst of all that I went to school after I graduated 2-3 years in music business and touched up on a few things there. The business mind has always been in my blood, the hustler mind frame has always been in my blood… You know the music is only like 10%.. 90% of the game is business anyways so I mean I’ve been conducting business, consulting, managing, being very therapeutic to a lot of these artists man, it’s a lot deeper than these beats, I consider myself as a therapist. I gotta put guys in the mood, I gotta know what kind of music to play for these guys when they’re in certain kinds of moods.. you gotta know what to present or how to present a certain situation or idea. One artist is gonna be different the other artist is gonna be completely opposite. You gotta be able to switch your game up, be very versatile, be very consistent and be able to observe the situation and bring a solution to the table. At the end of the day, you gotta make results. When someone calls on you, when somebody puts you in the studio with their artist, do you produce results? And that’s what people look at, different companies know that I produce results and they feel comfortable working with me because they know I’m gonna get the job done. Warner Brothers can call me, Sony can call me, Atlantic Records can call me, put me in the their studio with their number one artists and actually relax, like you don’t have to think anymore.. Actually, when labels get me involved they’re actually more relieved than anything which is crazy, it’s almost like All State, the insurance company that you can just feel so comfortable with, that you can trust.. being in the game ten plus years, I consider myself to be a vet, a lot of people can depend on me, put the ball in my hands and know that I’ll follow through.
What was your experience like when your first started profiting from your craft?
One of my first placements I got was on Tela’s album, Double Dose, I was about sixteen when this project came out. I sold my beats for $2,500 per beat, I got like $7,500 for three beats. I thought that was dope because I was only sixteen and $7,500 for three beats, that really put me in a different league and started me off early. After Tela, I followed right back up with Yo Gotti, we pretty much came up together. I did a song of his called “That’s Wassup”. That was a big song for Gotti and really was huge in the streets for him. Our careers both soared after that, so I definitely have to credit that Tela project because it was one of my first Independent Projects.
I heard you began selling base tapes when you were younger, how’d that get started?
When I first started making beats I started making base tapes. I was getting a lot of trouble in the south side of Memphis where I was born, I was in White Haven, which is now known as Black Haven. So we moved to the suburbs which is predominantly all white, I moved out there when I was thirteen which is called Cordova. You know, it was a new school system, new friends, new area, new life, new everything like I’m on a whole other side of town.. So I had to adapt and change up a lot of the slang..I learned how to be humorous in front of a different crowd, I learned how to talk to a different crowd, how to entertain a different crowd and how to get money from a different crowd. All of the kids out there had these banging ass systems, Alpines, Kenwoods and all of these different exclusive systems in their rides and what not, I was like man everybody’s riding clean out here so I was like man I’m gonna make some base tapes. Made a base tape for this one particular kid in high school. He would actually come to school late just so he could blast the music and make the windows rattle in the school.. So kids started asking him where he got his base tapes, word got out and I started making the base tapes and kids started calling me Drumma Boy. Next thing you know I’m getting offers, like $100 a tape. I started selling 2-3 tapes a week…next thing you know I think one week I made $1,500. I was like man I sold 15 base tapes this week so I knew it was picking up. The money I was making I was paying my Mom back for the loan she gave me for my keyboard and just getting new equipment that I needed over the course of time. Eventually they started playing my music during the warm ups to the basketball home games. It was kind of like a side hustle, basketball has always been my biggest dream but I never grew as tall as I wanted to. I had D1, D2 scholarships but really put all that aside for my music. I really wanted to make at least 6’4”, I entered in a lot of dunk contests in high school and would do a lot of different tricks.. so I was like man if I get about 3-4 inches more, I’m going to the league no questions.. Never got those 3-4 inches I wanted so I was just like, I’m gonna take what I know best and do what I do.
For the upcoming producers out there, what do you think they have to be most careful of during their grind in becoming successful?
Well, there’s many things you need to be careful of. One being you gotta make sure you copyright your music, hands down no question, if your music isn’t copy written then anybody can have it. And coming up, you don’t have much respect, you don’t have much power, you don’t have much authority, nobody knows who you are so as a new upcoming producer definitely protect your music. So in the case somebody does like something that you have, they have to come through you to use it, they have to include your services, your name, your involvement as oppose to just stealing it from you. That’s one thing I can speak on is the copyright. Another thing is branding yourself. Getting out, promoting your face, promoting your name, hiring publicist.. A lot of kids expect just because they made ‘this record and that record’ everyone’s gonna know who they are and producers, you know, we’re like behind the scenes. So we get credit our name written on the record and what not.. but you don’t get that full publicity. So you have to take it upon yourself to promote yourself and make sure your getting in magazines, make sure your doing awareness for yourself, and letting people know what your doing and what your capable of,what you do have to offer.
What do you think the major labels are looking for now a days?
I think nothing has changed as far as labels signing artists. Labels sign artists with buzz, with movements. So definitely, if you want to catch a label’s attention create a movement, you know what I mean. Create a following and have that on your own. Labels like to see guys who work on their own and can already get the job done on their own, and you just need a bigger push. Labels are always attracted to those type of things..deals where they don’t have to do much but put up the dollars to help you further attack your career. So definitely, create a movement, get your city poppin before you go to the labels.
Who would you like to see yourself collaborating with in 2012?
I would have to say I’d like to collaborate with Erykah before it’s all over with.. Beyonce.. I just like working with artists that love music, and actually really love what they do and do it for the passion so any of those artists I’m attracted to. Looking forward to work with Big Crip, that’s one dude I respect and think he’s extra dope so looking forward to it.
What are some of your ultimate goals before everything over?
Definitely to get into some film. We’re getting into some soundtracks right now.. working with more orchestras.. definitely gotta get a number one R&B record, that’s definitely on the list. Number one R&B, number one Pop, and to get into some acting too man. A lot of people tell me your personality, your knowledge, your jesters, your demeanor, you should be on TV, you should be in movies.. I got a couple people offering me spots in this and spots in that.. So I got some acting classes probably coming up soon.. You might even have some Jazz albums coming from me in my latter years of my career, nothing right now, nothing soon, but definitely always wanted to put out a Jazz album, so that’ll be another one.
Where can our readers find you online?
You can find me on Twitter (@iamdrumma). You can also find me online at . Definitely check out the website and support the movement.