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DJ Drama's had a busy month. From his work on Lil Wayne's Dedication 4 mixtape, to his fourth album, Quality Street Music, which dropped on Tuesday, the man behind Gangsta Grillz back in the spotlight once again. The star-studded line-up on his album includes 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Tyler, the Creator, and Kevin Hart—DJ Drama think it's his best body of work yet.
Drama spoke with Complex earlier today about Rick Ross and Young Jeezy's fight at the BET Hip-Hop Awards, what it was like working on his latest album, the response to Dedication 4, and how he was never officially set to host Chief Keef's Finally Rich mixtape.
Interview by Lauren Nostro (@LAURENcynthia)
At the BET Hip-Hop Awards, you were leaving and saw Young Jeezy, who had just performed with Wiz Khalifa.
I saw him in the house. Then we walked backstage at the same time.
What happened when you walked backstage?
Jeezy was walking one way, Ross was going the other way. They stopped briefly, exchanged a few words, and there was some pushing and shoving. That was pretty much it.
What words were exchanged?
I don’t really know. I just heard a couple, "What’s ups." I didn’t hear what else was said.
The video that you see is all after the fact. Jeezy wasn’t even inside at that moment.
It seemed like Ross started walking away in the video.
The video that you see is all after the fact. Jeezy wasn’t even inside at that moment, he was already outside. The confrontation in the video is Ross’ manager, Gucci Pucci, trying to get to Ross and the cops trying to stop him because they don’t know who he is.
People thought that video was the fight.
There’s no footage of the fight. That’s all afterwards.
You made a little cameo, too. But no punches were thrown?
Someone broke a mirror. That’s seven years of bad luck.
A mirror did break, but it was over at that point.
What are your thoughts on the conflict?
It could have been avoided. I know BET didn’t think those two guys were gonna walk down the hall at the same time. It’s been somewhat blown out of proportion.
Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t a fight. No shots were fired. It was a small disagreement, but it was a small disagreement between two very important and big individuals within hip-hop. It’s been the talk of the town.
Do you think there will ever be a resolution between them?
I hope so.
That wasn’t the first fight on the night, either. There was Gunplay and 50’s crew after that. Were you around for that?
No, I had to leave to go to the radio station. I wasn’t there for none of that.
Next year, everyone’s trailers should be a little more spaced out. It was a very close environment.
Did you hear anything else about that?
I just heard it was a fight. I watched some of the footage so I saw what everyone else saw.
What are your thoughts on that fight?
Once again, these are grown men and they have differences. They’re placed within a small space, so it’s tough. Next year, everyone’s trailers should be a little more spaced out. It was a very close environment.
Have you spoken with anyone since—Jeezy or Ross?
I hit Ross briefly. We exchanged small talk, he asked me to promote the MMG tour, and I asked him to help me promote the album. Me and Jeezy spoke the other day, but I haven’t spoken about the situation.
You just put out a new album, Quality Street Music. Congratulations.
Thanks very much. It was fun. It was probably the smoothest of all my albums—it’s my fourth one. I have some great artists and great producers on there. I think it’s a well put together album.
Do you think it’s your best album yet?
Yes, definitely. Song-wise and material, from beginning to end, it’s got really strong records and it really flows. The collaborations are really fun and interesting and dope.
How did you assemble such a stacked line-up of artists?
A lot of the work wasn’t done in [my] studio. I came up with the concepts and got a couple people in the studio, but there was a bunch that was done from where whoever was on it was, because there's a lot of busy people on there. Waka and Tyler, the Creator—that track is a fun one. Common and Kendrick Lamar. “We In This Bitch” was another good one. I think the “Chocolate Droppa” skit with Kevin Hart is hilarious.
What’s the reaction been like for you?
It’s been good. From the feedback, people seem to really be enjoying it.
What did you think of the response to Lil Wayne's Dedication 4.
It was fun working on that album. That’s a project that’s important to a lot of people, that’s important to the culture, that’s important for his and my career. I wanted to put my all into it. I think the response has been good. Wayne is in an interesting space because he’s done so much and accomplished so much. His hardest thing is doing something that he hasn’t done yet. Overall, it’s been good. I think that it made sense in the series and it had some good features and good raps. It’s Wayne at his best, being creative.
I had brief conversations with Chief Keef but we never finalized or agreed on the tape.
What happened with Chief Keef’s Finally Rich mixtape? You were originally hosting that and now you’re not?
I never was really. I had brief conversations with Chief Keef but we never finalized or agreed on the tape.
You tweeted some things about the cover of the mixtape and there were videos where Chief Keef talks about it.
All I know is that he put out a cover with my name on it and I didn’t ever know anything about that and I told him, "Yo, I didn’t OK that." Other than that, the plans for me hosting this tape were never 100 percent.
Now you’re not involved with it at all?
I haven’t spoken with Chief Keef in a couple of months.
What’s coming up next for you?
I’m working on some mixtapes, some big ones, but I can’t tell who.