In this day and age, creativity and innovation are rare commodities. Yet these particular element is exactly what have made the Aphilliates own DJ Drama one of the nations premier DJs and what have led him to the type of success that has eluded many in his field. Drama has not only made a name for himself as a mixtape and tour DJ, he has also changed the mixtape game in the South and Southeast, helping the region move in on a market once cornered by New York City. That may sound like a heavy burden to carry, but the 25-year-old, who began his career in his native Philadelphia in the early 90s, balances being an award-winning DJ, father, writer, and lecturer with ease.
It is no surprise that DJ Drama has come to gain the national recognition he now enjoys. After hosting and spinning at some of Atlantas biggest events for the likes of Diddy, Allen Iverson, Lil Jon and Jermaine Dupri, Drama became well known amongst industry tastemakers as one whos soulful, eclectic style and ear for new talent could provide entertainment outside of the mainstream. The reputation he gained from his accomplishments in the Atlanta markets has led to a national and international fan base which allows him to travel and perform at venues, events and universities across the globe. And thanks to an almost non-stop schedule as a tour DJ for a wide cross-section of artists from Bahamadia and Slum Village to BME recording artist Lil Scrappy he has been able to continue to build on that fan base. Drama currently serves as the official DJ for Grand Hustle/Atlantic recording artist T.I., which placed him on two of the most successful Hip-Hop tours of 2004/2005: the Jay-Z and Friends Tour and Nellys Sweat/Suit Tour.
But Drama may be best known for his Gangsta Grillz mixtape series. With over twenty editions in the books, sixteen of which were released in 2005 alone, the series has become a coveted promotional opportunity for any artist seeking to strengthen their fan base in the streets. Gangsta Grillz has played a monumental role in catapulting young Southern artists to the attention of national and international markets. The series is responsible for Young Jeezys now legendary Trap or Die mixtape, along with two volumes hosted by T.I. & P$C – Gangsta Grillz: Down With The King, which introduced the group to new audiences, and Gangsta Grillz: The Indictment, which helped promote their Atlantic Records debut. Stat Quo, Rich Boy, Slick Pulla, Smitty, and Webbie also received the Gangsta Grillz seal of approval, allowing them to sustain a buzz while working on their major label debuts. But the series has also been co-signed by some of the biggest names in the game. Drama has collaborated with such established figures as 8Ball & MJG, Bun B, Dame Dash, David Banner, Diddy, Lil Wayne, Paul Wall and Slim Thug. Gangsta Grillz is so well respected in the South that multi-platinum, Grammy award-winner Big Boi chose Gangsta Grillz X as his first mixtape hosting experience. Gangsta Grillz was named Vibe Magazines Mixtape Series of the Year in 2005; and Trap or Die has been recognized as XXLs 2005 Official Bootleg of the Year. Dramas other mixtape series, Automatic Relaxtion, known for its creative blend of Neo-Soul and smooth Hip-Hop, has also been heralded by fans and critics alike.
The success of his mixtape series kicked DJ Dramas entrepreneurial spirit into overdrive. In addition to being distributed in 31 markets nationally, in Germany, and through countless internet sites, Grangsta Grillz has now become a brand. Drama is currently preparing for the release of the Gangsta Grillz DVD Documentary entitled Respect The Game, produced by Gorrilla Flix; and recently inked a deal with Atlantic Records to release Gangsta Grillz The Album. And each and every Saturday night, the Aphilliates take over Radio-Ones WHAT Hot 107.9 in Atlanta with Gangsta Grillz Radio, which takes a new approach to the traditional radio format. This is the Aphilliates second radio show, joining their Sirius Satellite Radio program, Streetz Iz Watchin, which airs on Shade 45 on Friday nights. With so many accomplishments, of course has come a bevy of media and industry accolades. DJ Drama was named Best Mixtape DJ by Hot 107.9; Justos Mixtape Awards Best South DJ in 2004 and 2005; and 2005s Mixtape DJ of the Year at the MixShow Power Summit. In addition has been featured on BETs 106 & Park and Rap City, MTVs Spring Bling and Wildin Out, FOX The O.C. and MTV.coms Mixtape Mondays. He has also graced the pages of Vibe, XXL. King, The Source, Rhime, Ozone, Spin, Urb, The Village Voice, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, to name a few.