DJ Drama sat down with Wallo and Gillie Da Kid on their podcast Million Dollaz Worth of Game. Talking early beginnings in the music industry, Lil Uzi Vert, Mishaps between him and Gillie. and future endeavors.
Drama’s DJ’ing career took off down Atlanta, in 2004 when Drama formed the the mixtape series, Gangsta Grillz. After gaining so much recognition, Drama quickly became the undisputed premier DJ of the south, coinciding with the success of rappers such as Lil Wayne, T.I. Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, and many more. Drama had the south on lock, and was ready to take the nation by storm, starting with his hometown, Philadelphia. Gillie could have been the first Philly artist to have a Gangsta Grillz collaboration. Drama had yet to have a Philadelphia artist grace his Gangsta Grillz mixtape series; and at the time (2005-2006) Gillie Da Kid was one of the hottest rappers coming out of the Philadelphia scene. Gillie and Drama had a conversation about collaboration which all seem so fitting. However, there were many layers under the surface which led to become a sticky situation.
It was addressed over a phone call between Gillie and Drama, that there was beef between Gillie Da Kid and Lil Wayne, in which Drama was unaware of. Gillie had planned to release a diss record towards Lil Wayne. Drama, having overseas endeavors at the time, didn’t really pay it too much mind, and told Gillie to record it, and he’ll put it on the upcoming Gangsta Grillz mixtape. “Worst thing I could’ve said” Drama laughed. When Drama got back from overseas and heard the diss track, he started to scratch his head, “this could be bad” Drama exclaimed. Not only did Gillie diss Weezy, but he dissed him, using his “Cannon” instrumental from “Dedication 2,” a Gangsta Grillz production and from what Drama says is “Arguably the biggest mixtape ever”. Had Drama put that diss track on his mixtape, the perception would have been that Drama cosigned the slander of Lil Wayne, making him look phony, being that he just worked with Weezy, releasing one of the biggest mixtapes ever.
Drama made a business decision to hold off on his collaboration with Gillie for the time being. “If I had to play it back, I should’ve said yo that’s my guy – but I was trying to be politically correct so I said listen, I ain’t got nothing to do with that” Drama explained. Fast forward 15 years later, Drama is one of the most Influential DJs of all-time, Lil Wayne is one of the most influential artists of all time, and Gillie Da Kid alongside Wallo have the #1 sports podcast in America. So it’s all water under the bridge for them to come full circle and have a roundtable discussion on the situation in depth. However Gillie playfully jabs at Drama that he could have been the biggest artist of the early 2000s and beyond, had Drama released that track as a Gangsta Grillz production, but Drama deciding to do what was best for his bottom line, essentially “Icing my rap career” Gillie Joked.
The episode then goes on to speak about the prominence and Importance of the Gangsta Grillz mixtape series. Still til this day, there are very few DJ driven mixtape series. You have “Gangsta Grillz”, Dj Clue & DJ Envy’s “Desert Storm” series, and DJ Green Latern’s “Invasion” series just to name a few. “People may talk about who the greatest mixtape DJ was of all time – Gangsta Grillz is the most iconic and most important mixtape series of all-time” Drama protested. Rightfully so, debuting back to the Early 2000s from the artists mentioned previously, the brand is still prominent today. Most notably, Lil Baby’s “Harder than Hard” was a Gangsta Grillz production. Drama has also revamped his brand since then, working with Lil Uzi Vert, Jack Harlow and plethora of other current artist.
Drama also publicly addressed the claim Uzi made, that Drama and Don Cannon were holding up the release of his music, for the first time. “Eternal Atake, during that situation, the blame went on me and Canon for holding it up. We were never held anything up. I’m in the business of selling music, what would, I wanna hold anything up for? Drop when you wanna drop”. Trying to put into perspective that there’s a bigger picture to it all, a marketing tactic to keep his fans engaged and anticipating new music. But all is well as Lil Uzi Vert is still in connection to DJ Drama and his label.
Drama was asked to name his Mt. Rushmore of mixtape DJ’s. Drama counted himself and his partner Don Cannon who was also a major contributor to the production of the Gangsta Grillz series, as one person. He then lists DJ Clue, DJ Whoo kid, and DJ Green Latern as his Mount Rushmore of DJs. “For me – Those (DJ Whoo Kid and DJ Green Latern) are who inspired what Gangsta Grillz became” Drama praised. So what are the top five Gangsta Grillz Projects you ask? I was wondering the same thing. Drama never quite gave a direct top five, but he did name drop some artist. “See that’s hard for me because it’s so many different ways I could go. I could go Gucci, Guwop, I could go Meek, with Dreamchasers, I could go with Fab” Drama expressed. He did put he permanent stamp of approval on Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy, stating that “Dedication 2 and Trap or Die are the biggest mixtapes of All-time”.
Drama has revamped the Gangsta Grillz mixtape series into a record label, “Generation Now.” Alongside Don Cannon and Lake Morrison, they’ve built a “foundational infrastructure for the young creative economy.” Drama revealed he just signed his first R&B artist “Carvena” who is on the rise and also hints a new music. “I gotta itch… It’s new life” Drama explained. So sit tight, Drama sounds like he’s getting ready to feed the streets again, Mr. Thanksgiving Style.