This is the spot where you’ll see upcoming producers and Industry veterans in the game. A lot of people don’t know what goes into production. This will be the section where we feature the hottest producers in hip hop. Each month we’ll bring to you a new producer along with their background.
THIS MONTH’S FEATURE IS: DRUMMA BOY
Named by The New York Times, XXL, Vibe and others as one of the hottest producers in the South and recently receiving “Producer of the Year” at the 2010 Southern Entertainment Awards, Christopher “Drumma Boy” Gholson has been recruited again into the studio with longtime collaborator T.I. to work on the multi-platinum rapper’s seventh studio album King Uncaged (August 2010) while also boasting 11 tracks on the current Gucci Mane mixtape The Burrprint 2 HD and new work for Young Jeezy, Drake, Plies, Lil Jon, Goapele, Estelle, Plies, The Game, Waka Flocka and more
It was 2008 and 2009 that marked some of Drumma Boy’s most significant accomplishments to date. His production work was nominated in two categories at The Grammy Awards, he was hailed by the New York Times, nominated for “Producer of the Year” at the Ozone Awards and took home the Award for “Producer of the Year” consecutively at the 6th and 7th Annual Southern Entertainment Awards. In 2008 the beatmaker teamed up with T.I. on his 2x Platinum selling and Grammy nominated album Paper Trail, boasting the tracks “Ready for Whatever,” “You Ain’t Missing Nothing,” “My Life, Your Entertainment” and the hit single “What Up, What’s Haapnin.” Now the two are back in the studio working on the rappers seventh studio album entitled King Uncaged which is set to drop in August 2010. Drumma Boy says, “The anticipation working on this project is crazy… fighting for the best record….consistently presenting the hottest material…ensuring placements and aiming for singles.”
Growing up with a mother who was an opera singer, a grandmother who was a piano teacher, an aunt who taught music at NYU and a father who was a professional clarinetist and music professor at the University of Memphis, also the first African-American man to hold the 1st chair position in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Drumma Boy’s musical career was solidified as a young child. Influenced and inspired by German composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach to Jazz icons Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis all the way to Academy Award winning Three 6 Mafia and Scarface, Drumma Boy’s musical eccentricity is coated in vintage Rhythm & Blues, P-Funk, Classical and Crunk. He plays with this dichotomy of yesteryear classics and current trends to concoct sophisticated arrangements that fuse the arrogance of hip-hop with the slickness of R&B.
The 26 year old musical prodigy who has referred to his sound as “Gumbo Crack Music” and sites producers Quincy Jones, Raphael Saadiq & The Funk Brothers as his inspirations, skillfully adds crispy, hard-hitting 808 bass lines with gentle touches of rhythmic change and chord progression to each crafted beat. With a penchant for chest-beating percussion, attitude-drenched synths, bass-heavy sounds with backed live instrumentation Drumma Boy also manages to incorporate the grime of the urban streets of Memphis often delineated by a dark gothic sound. His thick and textured composed sounds have continued to dominate the South Eastern music scene, making his name synonymous with Platinum and Billboard charting hits. From the Grammy nominated “Put On” featuring Young Jeezy & Kanye West to his multiple tracks on T.I’s 2x Platinum selling Papertrail Drumma Boy has indelibly left his signature mark on some of today’s hottest rap songs.
In December 2009 The New York Times named him one of the four hottest producers “driving the city” in Atlanta, describing his sound as “a busy bee swarm of synths overlaid with brash bass injections that’s equal parts Memphis and Atlanta.” He was nominated for “Producer of the Year” at the 2008 Ozone Awards, named “Hip Hop’s Illest Soundboy” by The Source Magazine, “Top 5 Producers of 2008” by Vibe Magazine and quoted in the January 2010 issue of Rolling Stone surrounding his production work for controversial recording artist Gucci Mane’s #1 Rap Album The State vs. Radric Davis.
Drumma Boy’s current hit “Money to Blow” f/ Birdman, Drake and Lil Wayne continues to blaze the internet with over 5 million hits on Youtube while Canadian newcomer Drake opted to use the producer’s beat bangin’ reputation as inspiration to urge women to dance, “Get to shakin’ something cuz that’s what Drumma produced it for.”
Drumma Boy’s beats can be heard on forthcoming albums from T.I. (King Uncaged),
Drake (Thank Me Later),
Young Jeezy (Thug Motivation 103),
The Game (The R.E.D Album),
Gucci Mane (The State vs. Radric Davis),
Kandi Burruss (B.L.O.G),
Monica (Still Standing),
Goapele (Milk & Honey),
Lil’ Jon (Crunk Rock),
Estelle (All of Me),
Juelz Santana (Born to Lose, Built to Win),
8Ball & MJG (Ten Toes Down),
Plies (Goon Affiliated),
Triple C’s (Custom Cars & Cycles),
Snoop Dogg (More Malice),
Waka Flocka (Murda-Man Flocka),
Jagged Edge (The Remedy) to name a few.
Current songs of his in heavy rotation include “Money to Blow” (Drake, Birdman and Lil Wayne)
“Lose My Mind” (Plies & Jeezy)
“Fly Above” (Kandi Burruss),
“Pussy Fight” (The Game & Ray J) and 11 tracks on the new Gucci Mane mixtape The Burrprint 2 HD.
For the young virtuoso who originally inherited his moniker in high school due to his uniquely formulated drum patterns, Drumma Boy has taken his talents to an unprecedented level.
Growing up with a musical background in your family, did you know at an early age that music was your calling? at what point did you know?
**I remember hearing music from inside my mother’s womb… since birth I’ve been inspired by the beauty of music.
Any memorable stories growing up that stick in your mind that you’d like to share with your fans?
**I remember producing a complete underground album for a local group out of Memphis when I was like 14… we threw an album release party at a complex close to the neighborhood of the group. Watching the group perform in front of 4 to 500 people & seeing the reactions the crowd had and hearing everyone chant line for line the verses was like wow… “I GOT EM”
In terms of production, what is your process..? do you use live instruments, etc..?
**my production process is organic… it comes to me in different forms and fashions… might start off with a kick first… or a snare… maybe a guitar… however i’m feeling
Take us through a typical studio session with you..
** lighter… incense… and the ambience is set… we may conversate about how we’re feeling at the present time… then I begin to express how I feel by beginning a beat via keyboard or via beat machine… then the artist/writer begins to express how they feel via microphone… we interact and polish our expressions…
Which artist would you say has been the easiest to work with.. where you guys just mesh.
**Young Jeezy… all I have to do with him is DROP IT OFF… (meaning, I just make him a CD, we call it YAMS… he does the rest)
Any artists that you’ve yet to work with that you’d like to link up with?
What producers do you respect and look up to?
**Quincy Jones, Dr. Dre
What’s your take on the current state of Hip-Hop?
Where do you see hip hop heading ? Do you like the road it’s taken from say 10 -15 years ago?
**I love where hip hop is headed… NY started it and will always be the home of hip hop (classic)… West Coast is a heavy ambassador of hip hop and has always represented to the fullest… the South now has been on the map for a minute now in the hip hop scene and earning some tenure… Justin Timberlake, Young Jeezy, Outkast, T.I., Rick Ross & more… All coasts have been able to represent elements of Hip Hop… it only gets better!
Looking ahead.. say, 5, or even 10 years down the road, where do you see yourself?
in movies… being heard on movie soundtracks, movie voice overs, owner of a few jazz clubs and producing jazz albums… somewhere making a global impact
Any last words..?