Name: Drumma Boy
Based out of: Memphis, TN
Hit List: Young Jeezy, “White Girl,” “Put On,” Rick Ross, “Here I Am,” Paul Wall, “Gimme Dat” Plies, “Shawty”
Awards: ASCAP, “Most Performed Song” 2007 for Plies, “Shawty”
Nodfactor.com: What’s good with you, sir? I’m told you’re on the road right now.
Drumma Boy: I’m on my way back to Altanta from Houston. Stopped in Memphis and Dallas, dudes wanted beats in each of the cities so we just on the grind. Bun had an album release party, had to holla at Slim and Tre, Paul Wall…
That sounds like fun. So where did you get the name Drumma Boy? Are you that nice with the sticks?
There’s two stories to that. I got the name from one of my homeboys who introduced me to my first job. He was the manager at Just For Feet and I had just started making beats and he had a group that was rapping. We had a convo about music the first day I was working and I said yeah, I make beats. The next day I brought a beat tape to the job and we were in the back where we do inventory with a beat box listening to ‘em. Instantly from the drum patterns I came up with he said I’mma call you drummer boy. The ironic side of that story is that that’s my ornament on the Christmas tree. My Granmother had the little drummer boy [for me]. I’m just known for those sick drum patterns. You listen to that new Rick Ross “Here I Am” single and the drums is crazy. That’s just one of my biggest passions, for those drums to be knockin. If the drums don’t hit it ain’t me.
What were you using for drums then and now?
I was on a Roland HP-50 Work Station. The drums coming out at the time weren’t as strong as an MPC but it was the patterns I was using, the ideas that I was coming up with on a small work station.
Where does the inspiration for those patterns come from? Your father was a music teacher, your mother was an opera singer and your grandmother taught piano…
I was born into music, even in my moms womb she used to just listen to records and turn the music up loud and I’d kick in her stomach. My grandmother had me taking piano lessons at 4 and my dad had me playing a recorder and then clarinet. I was in All West Tennessee bands. Did the church choir thing for while. My Dad was in an orchestra so day in and out I’m going to an opera or performance of the Nut Cracker. And my mom was good friends with Isaac Hayes and she did background vocals for Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. These were people who came to my house and picked me up when I was a baby. I came up from classical to solid gold soul. My Dad was a big Jazz fan, each genre of music I can speak on thoroughly. I’m cool with a lot of older musicians. (mother Billie Gholson)
Who on the hip-hop front inspired you? I know you know Jazze Pha, but who else?
Three 6 Mafia is probably the biggest influence out of Memphis, 8 Ball and MJG, Project Pat, Skinny Pimp, Playa Fly. The big producers were Three 6, Jazze Pha, Slice G and Carlos Broady. These were all guys I was hanging around. My older brother Insane Wane was cool with them and they watched me as a young dude. I was like their little brother in the back peepin’ game. I felt I could bring a variety to the game.
Speak on that community of production in Memphis a little more. How important is that to producers to build the comradre?
The biggest circle to me now are the Engineers. They’re the ones that know the most about what sounds combine and how to EQ classic kicks, booms and making your sound greater. That’s what was so great about Slice. Number one he was a DJ, number 2 he was a mixing engineer and #3 he was a producer. He was the guy that showed Jazze Pha how to make beats and EQ his drums and snares. He was pretty much the teacher of Memphis. There was another guy named Paragon, but all of us got game from Slice G as far as understanding the EQ the low and high end and the best combination of sounds. All of us got a big chunk of game out of Slice G. So even leaving Houston and connecting with Mannie Fresh and seeing how he do his thing, its always good to be in that loop. There’s so many new and up-and-coming cats so you want them to pay their dues and create their own sound and identity. Then they earn the right to get in the loop and share samples with guys. If you share your sound with guys who don’t really have their sound they might bite and take your shit.
Speaking of paying dues, did you ever have to go through the whole getting jerked for money, etc?
Not really. I’ve had some people say they were going to buy the beat and never bought the beat but he didn’t have the files. If you wanna run with a beat CD you won’t have the splits for the Pro Tools. If the song blows up you still gonna have to call me to get the actual product, plus all my music is copy written. Don’t give the artist the final product without getting paid in full. As far as paying dues just grind and keep your name out there. If I just get a CD in Jay-Z’s hand that’s cool, whether he plays it or not. It took 8Ball three or four years before he was like I’mma spend some money with ya. Legends wanna deal with legends so cats might make you wait. Jeezy watched me for years before we did any work together. We’d meet and shake hands but we never did business. Top dogs are gonna make sure your shit is legit. For me paying dues never ends.
I read that you’ve been sampled, not many hip-hop producers can claim that.
Yeah man I was sampled by Young Snipe. He’s in a group out of Memphis and was signed to BME as a producer and he sampled some shit from Gangsta Boo’s “Sippin’ and Spinnin.” He sampled some stuff out of Playa Fly’s verse and a couple elements out of the music: “the pills, the blow, the yac, the herb,” it was #4 on the Lil Jon Crunk Juice album. It was my first time getting sampled so to see how the royalties work when somebody samples you and see the checks come in off of a platinum album just because somebody sampled your work. I learned damn, this is what you get for doing good work. It was just the vocals and a couple of synth melodies. It was minor elements but it was a nice piece. The record was stimulated by what he sampled from my work.
Part 2 coming soon…