How Funkmaster Flex Mixtapes Inspired Drumma Boy’s ‘Concoction’ Album
With more than 15 years of experience and plenty of plaques on his rap game résumé, Drumma Boy has long been one of trap's most influential producers. Recently, though, he's been looking to expand his horizons while keeping his eyes on the platform that made him a living legend.
Last fall, the talented, Memphis-bred producer/rapper launched his House of Fresh boutique, a popular Atlanta-based clothing store that's been visited by the likes of Young Dolph, Ludacris and plenty of other rap luminaries. In addition to running the store, he's been operating as an advisor to the XYO Network, a cryptocurrency brand that he familiarized himself with a few months back. At the top of the month, he even dropped off a new DJ XO-assisted tune promoting XYO.
While Drumma Boy is making moves across different industries, he hasn't forgotten what propelled him to success in the first place. Having produced for the likes of Jeezy ("Put On"), Youngboy Never Broke Again and Birdman ("We Poppin"), Waka Flocka Flame ("No Hands") and Migos ("Look At My Dab"), the 34-year-old beatsmith knows what he brings to the table.
"I do a record called 'Look at My Dab' and the whole world is dabbing," he tells XXL from over the phone. "It's just about entering the system with something new. Right now, Drum Squad Records is my label. We signed nine different artists. I'm just excited about introducing those artists, coming out with this compilation and continuing to ground-break and do things that haven't been done."
Recently, XXL caught up with Drumma Boy to talk about his new Concoction compilation album, his favorite beats, cryptocurrency, the first time he heard "I Put On" and more.
XXL: So what has Drumma Boy been up to in 2018?
Drumma Boy: I've been doing a lot of stuff in the tech world. I did a cryptocurrency deal with this company called XYO. And just recently, I was embraced by Erick Sermon, Rockwilder, Statik Selektah. You know, it's just like, a real arsenal of producers last night (May 30). I just closed a deal with this company called Tracklib. It's basically just a sample home. So, before I came to New York I sampled a couple of records off of this site to play for the people last night. It's crazy how I got embraced by Erick Sermon and the whole room, everybody in New York. Nobody was really familiar with another style of my beats outside of trap. So when they hear me making New York beats it's just like, "Yo, what the fuck, yo Jay-Z needs this." "Oh man, Nas need this." The whole room was lit, it was going crazy, so that was super cool.
When did you get into cryptocurrency?
I remember four months ago, my boy sent me $400. He sent it via cryptocurrency, and it popped up on my phone like 400 bucks. And I could have pulled it out right there through my app and transferred it to my bank. And I left it in there, and I remember waking up like two weeks later and just looking at that $400 and at that particular time, that $400 had grown to $618 already in two weeks. So like, even right now, I'm looking at that same $400 is $873 now.
How did you link up with Youngboy Never Broke Again and Birdman for "We Poppin'"?
I do a lot of work with Young Greatness out of New Orleans.Young Greatness gave me a call and he was like, "Birdman in town tryna book your studio." I was like, "Aight, let's set it up." I pulled up on him, Birdman pulled up—I ain't even know YoungBoy was coming with him. YoungBoy pull up and they like, "Man, let's work. Let's do something? What you got? Pull up a beat Drum, pull up a beat." I pulled up a beat and man, NBA YoungBoy went in the booth and immediately [started rapping], "We popping... we popping." He was like, "Ah man, I fuck with this Drum. I fuck with this." And it's crazy, 'cause he remind me of Gucci Mane. Like real cool, open and just a lotta jokes. Very enthusiastic with the producer and everybody else that was in the room. Like, "What you think big bruh? You like this right here? What you think about this?" It was just cool working with him and seeing how enthusiastic he was as far as making records. As soon as he did the hook, he was like, "Man, we gotta put Bird on it—I'ma write his verse first." So NBA YoungBoy wrote Birdman's verse and man, Birdman came in and was like, "Ahh, this it right here, lil' one?" And everyone got out of the room and let them have his little private space, whatever, we cleared out the room for Birdman. Shit, in 20 minutes we came back in the room [and] the verse was done and I was like, "Bruh, that's the best I've heard Birdman in a minute." It sound organized, it sound well put together and thought-out. And shit, the rest was history. NBA YoungBoy went in the booth and did his verse, and then they went out and shot the video.
Outside of YoungBoy and Young Greatness, who are some younger rappers you're working with?
Right now I'm working with Leeky Bands, a lil' young cat that's popping. I just hooked up with Dice Soho out in Houston. [I'm] doing a lot of shit with him. This homeboy out of Florida named Grown Boi Trap. He got some dope shit. I'm working with this kid named Cyrus Smith Music. He going crazy. I'm working with so many people it's hard to keep up with. I'm also working on my Drum Squad compilation album, which is a compilation of all of the artists that we signed to my label, Drum Squad Records. And I'm working on an open-format DJ project to just all open format, EDM infused with symphony and trap.
Who are some non-Drum Squad artists on the compilation?
Quavo just sent me a verse. I got Too Short, Akon, Trae Tha Truth, Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, T.I., Young Dolph, Gucci Mane, Young Buck. I got something with everybody.
How many songs are you looking at putting on the project?
I don't even know yet. It's crazy, 'cause I've already got so many songs and so many verses from so many different people, I'm thinking of doing [something] almost like some Funkmaster Flex shit. Like just, 60 tracks, 70 tracks, but, short interludes, skits, a few songs. It'll be like maybe 12 or 13 songs, but then a whole bunch of skits, interludes—comedians—you know what I'm saying? Just some cool, different shit. Bring that old shit back.
Do you have any idea when that project might be coming out? It sounds like you're still recording a lot of it.
I'm planning on dropping it like on August, September—back-to-school area.
Last year, you opened up your own clothing store, House of Fresh. How is the store doing so far? Is it what you thought it would be?
The store is going crazy. It's almost better than I thought it would be, to be honest with you. It's just a blessing to be able to deliver Fresh to the world, you know what I mean? Making sure the world is fresh. I used to do it out of my trunk, now I got an official store. It's a blessing man.
How many rappers have pulled up to House of Fresh recently?
Man, everybody. [Ludacris] came in, Da Brat, [Young] Dolph, Young Buck, Young Greatness. Everybody comes here—it's definitely the top spot.
Looking at Memphis now, you've got BlocBoy JB, Moneybagg Yo, Yo Gotti and other artists killing it. Who are some Memphis artists that you like listening to?
Every artist in Memphis we came up with or brought out. So Yo Gotti and his family. We helped campaign Young Dolph since the beginning of Young Dolph's career. Key Glock is the fam now. Key Glock and Paper Route J Fizzle are Dolph's real cousins. So it's dope how he keeping his family in. Key Glock is going fucking dumb stupid right now. BlocBoy JB of course. But Key Glock really, really, really got some shit going on. Gotti, Moneybagg Yo, Blac Youngsta. And it's new emerging artists as well. Memphis right now is on fire.
You've made so many bangers in your career. Do you have a favorite beat?
I had a lot of fun making "No Hands." I loved "Here I Am"—Rick Ross, Avery Storm, Nelly. One of my favorite productions, as well as "You Ain't Missing Nothing" for T.I. on Paper Trail. A lot of people didn't understand like, I produced Whitney Houston's "Salute," which went triple platinum—it's the same exact beat as T.I.'s "You Ain't Missing Nothing." And it was really weird because Paper Trail came out six months before Whitney Houston's album came out. I sent the same beat to R. Kelly a year before T.I.'s version came out. So I guess he probably didn't even hear that T.I.'s version came out as crazy. I know that R. Kelly going through some bullshit [and] this shit is hella old, it was really nothing like, you know, T.I. didn't wanna go forward, the label, Atlantic, didn't wanna go forward when they found out about it. So here it is—just go listen to "Salute" and then go listen to "You Ain't Missing Nothing." It's the same exact track. R. Kelly got his band to re-play my music and put his name on it. So Whitney Houston's plaque is really mine, you understand? Like, she died thinking R. Kelly produced some shit that I really produced. It's like, it's just been crazy the power of spirits. And how amazingly blessed—look at my last three months and look at R. Kelly last three months. Like, it's just blessings and blessings and blessings coming down from God. To get fucked by R. Kelly, this is the genius. Like, "Damn, you can't just play your own music—you had to re-play my music?" So sometimes I just vent off of that shit.
Sounds like you're over it.
A lot of people gotta understand how to move and how to do things right. If you want to be righteous you have to lead righteously. You wanna see righteous profits and you wanna see positive things, you gotta do positive things. Us, as a people, in hip-hop, as a community, we gotta like bring each other up and uplift each other. And that's one thing I've been doing with tech companies [and] with music. When I got with Youngboy, first song we did, "We Poppin." First song I had ever did with Migos—"Look at My Dab." First song I did with Rocko—"Umma Do Me." Rick Ross, "Here I Am." All these different records. So it's a blessing to be able to deliver. Imagine if I just took one of these producers' beats and then put my name on it. You water down your credibility and it's unfortunate 'cause it's not even worth the money. Ok, I could make a extra $500,000 or an extra $250[,000] if my name was on that record, I would have my Whitney Houston plaque, which I know is mine anyway. But I look at how my career is going to a completely different space. A lot of people, when you include the lies in your career or in your music or whatever, you're only watering your shit down. So it's just unfortunate to see the legend—a vet—going through what he going through. And I've already forgiven R. Kelly in my mind just because I know—spirit to spirit—Whitney Houston is an angel for me.
2008 was a fire year for you on the production front, and it's officially been 10 years since you produced Jeezy's "Put On" with Kanye West. What do you remember about producing the track?
Man, when I did the the beat, I was just pissed off. I remember making the beat at the crib and I was like, "Man, I gotta goddamn get something for Jeezy for this next project." I remember sending him the beat fresh off the press. Jeezy would call you out the blue like a week later like, "My nigga." And I was like, "Bruh, I know what that means. What you got over there. You got something you're ready to push play on? You ready to hit the streets again? What you got, boy?" He was like, "I can't even tell you—I got a big surprise for you, though." I remember riding down 400 in Atlanta, going to Lenox Mall and I hear Mz Shyneka come on the radio. "Y'all ain't ready for this. I got a new record for y'all. Shout out to my nigga Drumma Boy producing this new heat, Jeezy, 'I Put on For My City' featuring Kanye West.'" And the first fucking words you hear is, "I put on..." I'm like, "Ohh, shit. He went and got Kanye on my shit, what?" That shit was lit, I ain't gon' lie to you. The first time you ever hear Kanye even playing around with the Auto-Tune, let alone rapping on a Down South beat with some real boom and 808s under that shit? Man, that shit knocking in the club. It's just like magic. And it's talking about I put on for my city. Man, my city. I did this shit for Memphis. It's just so much emotion that I put into that beat. And then to see Jay-Z come and do a remix. It was just crazy, bruh. It was definitely a humbling experience and [it] let me know that anything that you put your mind and effort into, you can conquer. That was my conquer-the-world song right there.
Check Out the 2018 Hip-Hop Music Festivals You Need to See