Hip-hop has long been home to bizarre backstories and strings of unbelievable coincidence, but few people came into the game the insane way D.R.A.M. did. Virtually overnight, his single “Cha Cha” became a digital sensation. All it took was Beyonce Instagramming herself dancing to the song, and Drake taking it as inspiration for his own smash hit, “Hotline Bling.” But when the dust settled from his initial brush with fame, D.R.A.M. proved that he was far more than a flash in the pan—in fact, he revealed himself as one of music’s most creative and anomalous young talents.
D.R.A.M.’s debut album, Big Baby D.R.A.M., features a handful of heavy hitters: Young Thug, Erykah Badu, and Lil Yachty, with whom he teamed up for “Broccoli,” a deliriously catchy single that became completely inescapable for an entire summer. (It helped that its lighthearted video struck a pitch-perfect recreation of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles,” moving piano and all.)
And yet D.R.A.M. needs no help in crafting irresistible hip-hop. The Virginia native blends singing and rapping so seamlessly, and so infectiously, that his music frequently straddles the line between genres, making it impossible to categorize (and impossible to ignore). And songs like “Cash Machine” capture just how bright his world view can be. If you need more proof, check out that album cover: there he is, smiling from ear to ear, impossible to bring down.