D.R.A.M. on the comeup

11.17.16 genebae

Shelley Marshaun Massenburg-Smith, better known as D.R.A.M. (which stands for Does Real Ass Music), was born in Germany only to relocate to Virginia later in life. Just as his personal backstory, D.R.A.M.’s success has been anything but conventional. D.R.A.M. garnered notoriety with his debut single “Cha Cha” from his EP, #1Epic. In an interview with Billboad, D.R.A.M. reveals that the making of “Cha Cha” had very humble beginnings, “Cha Cha” was recorded on the edge of his bed on a $100 mic, a computer that barely functioned, and with dusty fan which is the reason why the record sound “dirty”. The single went on to peak at #1 on the Hot Hip-Hop singles chart. “Cha Cha” which is about his love and admiration for “Spanish” woman after his encounter with a Dominican girl at a bar, even went on to inspire fellow chart topper Drake on his single “Hotline Bling”, which unless you live under a rock you are aware that it was basically the biggest song of 2015 and brought forth hundreds of parodies.

With that kind of influence, it would have been easy for D.R.A.M. to remain complacent, instead he came back and outdid himself with his single “Broccoli” from his debut album Big Baby D.R.A.M. “Broccoli” which features Lil Yachty, peaked at #5 in October on the Billboard 100 list. In regards to the success of “Broccoli” while he never doubted his song was going to be well received by the public, he never anticipated how massive it was. In his mind, it was going to be a liked by the “soundcloud culture” but not beyond that. Besides chart success D.R.A.M. has seen success in getting his peers and music industry titans to believe in him as an artist. Chance the Rapper, Whose Coloring Book album is one of the most beloved hip hop albums of the year, chose to feature one of D.R.A.M.’s pieces as an interlude after hearing his work.  E-40, a bay area rap-icon, as well as Rick Rubin, a producer who has worked with names such as Kanye West and Jay-z, have both expressed an affinity for D.R.A.M.’s music.  through the creative process and mentored D.R.A.M. in evolving his music more.


Pictured: Rick Rubin and D.R.A.M.

Pictured: Rick Rubin and D.R.A.M.

Although he believes himself to be “special” the confidence he has in himself does not have an ego behind it, but rather it’s just genuine believe in his ability to create “real ass music”. He remains as much of an oddball as ever, when Billboard asked how he would describe his sound he assessed that his style was “rare” and likened himself to mew-two “(yes, the pokemon). His inspirations range from jingles, to The Sound Of Music, to “big-band shit”. That’s what makes him stand out, his brand of quirky and bops that aren’t afraid to be positive in a world where it’s cool to be cynical and removed. If D.R.A.M. wants to tell you that he thinks you’re cute, he won’t hesitate to let you know as the chorus of his single “cute” suggests.

And no, D.R.A.M.’s broccoli intake has not increased since his hit single “Broccoli” was released

D.R.A.M. is opening up for Wiz Khalifa on November 18, making this a stacked lineup that no hip-hop fan would want to miss. Tickets for the show can still be purchased HERE.


— Erika Bocanegra