Drumma Boy’s catalog of hits is difficult to surpass. “Umma Do Me.” “Money To Blow.” “Put On.” “Spend It.” The Memphis native has worked with a who’s who of rappers in the South, ranging from Scarface to T.I. to Plies. In a scene where the producers catch fire for a year and then fall off, he has remained consistent. Recently, he picked up placements on Lil Wayne’s Dedication 5 and 2 Chainz’s B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time.
While Drumma Boy has worked with a lot of artists, one of his most prolific partnerships has been with Gucci Mane. The two have worked together on over 100 songs over the course of the last decade. Drumma Boy has produced some of Gucci’s biggest hits, including “Beat It Up,” Gucci’s collaboration with Trey Songz. It’s a partnership that continues to flourish, as evidenced by the release of Diary of a Trap Lord: Drumma Boy produced the Kevin McCall assisted “Cold Hearted.”
But with Gucci Mane’s prolific musical output comes his propensity for beef and social media outbursts. Earlier this week, Gucci went on a rampage of vicious tweets. Nobody has been spared from his onslaught: The list includes his former manager, Debra Antney, artists signed to his Brick Squad label such as Waka Flocka Flame and OJ Da Juiceman, and random artists ranging from Ciara to Iggy Azalea.
While artists get embroiled in beef, producers are left in awkward situations when they work with both artists separately. Especially when that artist is Gucci Mane, who is known for his history of beefing. But Drumma Boy is used to it by now, having worked with Jeezy and Gucci throughout their long, bitter rivalry.
We got on the phone with Drumma Boy, and while he talked about working with Wayne and his lengthy relationship with 2 Chainz, the conversation centered around Gucci Mane. He told us about the studio environment when working with Gucci, how he deals with Gucci’s personality without offending the rapper, and the studio session for Waka Flocka Flame’s biggest hit, “No Hands.”
Interview by Dharmic X (@DharmicX)
It must’ve been really crazy for you when Gucci went off on Twitter. Did you get hit up about it?
I just saw the tweets. I was in Aruba, so I didn’t have Internet the whole weekend. I just got back so when I get to my crib, all my boys ask me if I saw what happened with my boy. I said, "Huh?" That was the first thing everyone said, "You seen your boy?" You never know with Gucci. I get to reading that shit and I said, "Shit, if that’s how he feels." You know what time it is because of what he was saying.
A lot of the people he talked about have relationships with you, do you think you’ll talk to him about it the next time you meet up with him?
I mean, I just focus on my work. I don’t fuck with the gossip. I read, I laugh, I joke about it, but as far as my mission I deliver exactly what he asks me for. "I need two songs with Chris Brown," ok cool, I will make it happen. I just focus on the work.
Having problems with people don’t get me paid. So, that ain’t me. I support those that support me. Gucci, Rocko, Nicki, Rick Ross, Drake, Tyga, whoever you want to put in the list, I’m working with them and they are all down with me. I just make good music.
Sometimes Gucci is pissed off and there's no telling what’s on his mind. I’m not going to irritate him and ask, "What happened dog?"
Let's backtrack a little. How did you first meet Gucci?
I met Gucci walking through the door of [his former label] Big Cat Records. I was walking through there, probably around the end of 2001, and going into a meeting with Big Cat. He had some artists, and it was crazy because the other artists were bigger than Gucci at that time. He had an artist by the name of Young Snead and a couple other artists, and I was there to work with Young Snead. Gucci was the new signee of Big Cat Records.
I remember playing pool with Gucci and him freestyling the whole time we were playing pool. There were a couple beats playing. Three producers were having meetings there, so one producer would play his beats, then the next one would play his, and then I played mine. Throughout that entire process Gucci was freestyling.
I was like, "Man, who is this guy?" He always had something cool to say. It wasn’t real lyrical, but he kept making you smile. That’s what made you want to listen to it. It was entertaining, it was comical, he always jokes around and plays, and he has that distinctive voice. There was just chemistry from the get go. We started kicking it, him and Jeezy were cool at the time and we were both working with Jeezy.
What’s the process of working with Gucci like? Where do you guys record?
We’ve been all over the place. We work in my studio, we go through to his spot, and he’s had two or three different studios throughout the years and he’s been signed to three or four different labels, so that’s moved him around too. Whether it’s been Miami or L.A. or Dallas or Memphis, Atlanta, New York. He’s the artist I’ve worked with in the most cities.
We’ve done studio atmospheres with 300-400 people.Those were the nights where he was just getting out of jail, hadn’t been in the studio for eight or nine months, and he wanted to go to the studio and just work. We would go to the studio, book all the rooms, and just knock out work. There were times when it was just me and him. There were situations where it was just me, some ladies, and him and we would stay in the studio all night. He’s a dude who just wants to have fun and put it down on wax.
When there's a couple hundred people, what’s the atmosphere like?
That’s what everyone asks me. I produced a record called “No Hands” like that. It felt like I was in the club, I couldn’t even really touch my keyboard. I had Waka Flocka in the B room and Gucci in the A room.
Gucci had just gotten out of jail so he didn’t really want to wait for me to cook up from scratch. I already had a folder of beats waiting for him. So I gave him the folder with his name on it, and told him to do him. The first song that he did was "Normal." I go in the studio with Waka, Waka said, "I want you to cook up a beat for me from scratch." I had Roscoe Dash in there, I had Lloyd Banks and G-Unit there. Everyone came to celebrate Gucci getting out of jail.
I feel like I’m so underrated, because I’m a therapist. I’m not just a producer, I do so much more just to cater to this motherf****r for him to even be in the mind set to record a hit. It’s a whole lot of other s**t that goes on in the process of producing. You have to cater to egos, and some people don’t do that well.
It was packed. It was literally 100 guys packed like a can of sardines into this smaller room. I just started making the beat. Everyone is in there talking, and that’s why the chorus is so simple because I can’t even really reach the keyboard. That’s not an excuse though.
What am I going to tell everybody, "Hey guys, get out of the studio?" I’m not the asshole to do that. If I did, I would have lost the unity and lost the vibe. Roscoe Dash would probably be in the lobby talking shit instead of in the studio vibing with me.
So out of the 100 people there, three individuals were necessary. Fuck how many people are there, I’m cooking up my beats. The whole room went insane. It was crazy, I got goosebumps. I made that beat in literally five minutes. It was something that fucking simple that stayed on the charts for four years and is still on the charts.
When it’s just you and Gucci by yourselves, what is he like?
It depends on how he feels. Sometimes Gucci is pissed the fuck off and there's no telling what’s on his mind. I’m not going to irritate him and ask, "What happened dog?" His dudes will ask him if he wants a blunt or he’s hungry, and we’ll just get him in a vibe where we can say, "You wanna hear some beats?" and he says, "Yeah play something!" Now he’s in his zone and I can get him to record.
As a producer that’s one thing. That’s why I feel like I’m so underrated, because I’m a therapist. I’m not just a producer, I do so much more just to cater to this motherfucker for him to even be in the mind set to record a hit.
It’s a whole lot of other shit that goes on in the process of producing. You have to cater to egos, and some people don’t do that well. When he asks me for something, like water or food, I just send an intern. But some people handle that by getting offended and saying, "I’m not your assistant." You have to know how to handle that. If you get shut out that’s because you don’t know how to handle it.