DJ Drama Drops ‘Gangsta Grillz’ Album – Today in Hip-Hop
On this day, Dec. 4, in hip-hop history...
2007: On the heels of his wildly successful mixtape series of the same name and in the face of adversity following the widely-publicized police raid of his headquarters, DJ Drama released his debut compilation album Gangsta Grillz: The Album through Grand Hustle and Atlantic Records.
Revered as a DJ whose mixtapes have played an instrumental part in the growth of many hip-hop acts through the years, the Philadelphia-born DJ was hard at work and looking to bring his popular Gangsta Grillz brand of mixtapes to the next level in the early part of 2007 when things took a turn for the worse. On January 16 of that year, officers from Atlanta's Fulton County Police Department raided the offices of Drama's Aphilliates Music Group, arresting the "mixtape king" along with Don Cannon and other associates for illegally distributing music in violation of Georgia's racketeering laws.
In all, 50,000 mixtapes were seized and the company's assets were frozen including recording equipment and the hard drives containing the material that was produced for the DJ's anticipated Gangsta Grillz: The Album. In the wake of the incident, Drama told XXL, "After the raid, I was left with nothing. I got a phone call from Atlantic [Records] and they were like, 'Drama, anything is good publicity, can you finish the album in three weeks?' At the time, they knew my hard drive was gone, but you have to stay on your business. So I sat down with the Aphilliates and said, 'Let’s go back in and get [this] done.' We pretty much started over. I got in touch with some of the artists that I worked with [prior] and did some new songs. I got some people producing some new songs for me and [now] the album is better than before.
Despite the release date of Gangsta Grillz: The Album being delayed indefinitely after the legal issues, Barack O'Drama wasn't held down for long. The official release date for the long-awaited project was set for December 4, 2007 in October of that year, with the album's first single, "5,000 Ones" featuring T.I., Diddy, Twista, Yung Joc, Young Dro and Willie the Kid, dropping shortly afterward.
The album's second single, "The Art of Storytellin' Part 4," was widely acclaimed, featuring absolutely stellar contributions from both OutKast members Andre 3000 and Big Boi and Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry fame.
Gangsta Grillz: The Album peaked at number 26 on the Billboard 200, number 2 on the Billboard Top Rap Albums chart and made way for a slew of successful releases from DJ Drama.
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