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Tyree Simmons (born April 22, 1978),[1] professionally known as DJ Drama, is an American DJ, record executive and music promoter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2] He initially gained recognition as the official DJ for Atlanta rapper T.I.. He is perhaps best known for hosting several mixtapes, most notably his successful Gangsta Grillz series. He is also known for doing the Dedication series with New Orleans-bred rapper Lil Wayne, with The New York Times calling Dedication 2 one of the "10 Best Recordings of 2006".[3]

DJ Drama
DJ Drama (28545551382).jpg
Simmons in 2016
Background information
Birth nameTyree Simmons
Born (1978-04-22) April 22, 1978 (age 40)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
GenresHip hop
  • Disc-jockey
  • record executive
  • music promoter
  • A&R representative
  • songwriter
Years active2003–present
Associated acts

DJ Drama along with DJ Sense, founded Aphilliates, in 2003. The Aphilliates signed a joint venture deal with Asylum in 2006. As of January 2011, The Aphilliates now operates as its own entity, due to DJ Drama recently cutting ties with La the Darkman and Embassy.[4] In December 2007, Drama released his first studio album, Gangsta Grillz: The Album, under Atlantic, as well as T.I.'s label, Grand Hustle Records. His second album was the sequel Gangsta Grillz: The Album (Vol. 2), which was released in May 2009, under Atlantic and Grand Hustle. After leaving Grand Hustle and Atlantic to focus on Aphilliates Music Group, Drama released his third album Third Power, under E1 Music and Aphilliates.

In October 2012, Drama released his fourth album Quality Street Music, under E1 and Aphilliates. In January 2014, it was announced that DJ Drama was the new A&R for Atlantic Records. On July 22, 2016, he released his fifth album Quality Street Music 2.



2003–08: Career beginnings and Gangsta Grillz: The Album seriesEdit

Simmons in 2008

DJ Drama alongside Don Cannon and DJ Sense, founded Aphilliates Music Group, in 2003. The Aphilliates Music Group signed a joint venture deal with Asylum Records in 2006. The first artist signed was American rapper Willie the Kid. DJ Drama made a cameo appearance in T.I.'s debut feature film, 2006's ATL.

DJ Drama's Gangsta Grillz: The Album was released in December 2007 on the Grand Hustle label. The album's first buzz single, "Takin' Pictures", was released in 2007 and featured Young Jeezy, Willie the Kid, Jim Jones, Rick Ross, Young Buck and T.I..[5] The album's lead single "5000 Ones", featuring Nelly, T.I., Yung Joc, Willie the Kid, Young Jeezy and Twista, debuted on BET.[6] The second single, "The Art of Storytellin' Part 4", was released in 2008 and featured OutKast and Marsha Ambrosius.

In 2009, DJ Drama released his second album entitled Gangsta Grillz: The Album (Vol. 2), the first single was "Day Dreaming", which featured Akon, Snoop Dogg and T.I. The second single was "Ridiculous", which featured Gucci Mane, Yo Gotti, Lonnie Mac and OJ da Juiceman. Both singles were released in 2009. The album sold 19,000 copies in its first week, and as of January 5, 2010 the album sold 41,022 copies. In March 2010, Drama appeared on American singer-songwriter T-Pain's musical television special Freaknik: The Musical, in a voice role as a radio announcer named Mr. Thanksgiving.

2011–present: Third Power and Quality Street Music series, Generation Now record labelEdit

DJ Drama released his third studio album Third Power, on October 11, 2011. The first single "Oh My", featuring rappers Fabolous, Wiz Khalifa and Roscoe Dash, was released on May 13, 2011. The second single "Never See You Again", features female singer Talia Coles and rapper Wale.[7] The Gangsta Grillz album reunites DJ Drama and Don Cannon who had gone their separate ways for a few years after a lot of fighting and arguing as business partners.[8] The album debuted at #42 on the Billboard 200 chart.

In late 2012, he released Quality Street Music, his fourth album. The album was preceded by the singles "We in This Bitch" and "My Moment". The album debuted at number 15 on the US Billboard 200 chart and at number three on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, selling 25,000 copies on its first week.[9] Quality Street Music is DJ Drama's highest charting album to date. As of Feb. 7 2013 it has sold 51,080 copies.[10] On January 8, 2014, it was announced that DJ Drama would now serve as the A&R for Atlantic Records.[11]

In 2017, after repairing his relationship his friend and business partner Don Cannon. Drama and Cannon united with seasoned music executive, Leighton Morrison aka Lakeshow in started a new label.That would be more sufficient for new talent they find through Drama and Cannon's mixtapes and radio show, similar to their first label, Aphilliates. All three settled on the name Generation Now, which was the name of an early mixtape Drama and Cannon co-hosted in 2004. As a launching pad for artists coming up that year, those featured was a pre-college dropout Kanye West and Joe Budden to name a few. Drama and Cannon signed their first artist, the enigmatic Lil Uzi Vert. They signed more talent, Skeme, Lyquin, Jack Harlow, Lil James, and Killuminati.


Awards and nominationsEdit

BET Hip Hop Awards
  • DJ of the Year (Nominated)
Ozone Awards


  1. ^ David Jeffries Drama. Allmusic
  2. ^
  3. ^ Samantha M. Shapiro, "Hip-hop outlaw (industry version)", The New York Times Magazine, February 18, 2007
  4. ^ "Andre 3000 keeps DJ Drama waiting" Archived 2008-02-18 at the Wayback Machine, Mixtape Mondays, MTV, August 4, 2006
  5. ^ T.I., Jeezy, Jim Jones Blast Mixtape Raid On New DJ Drama Track. Rap Basement (2007-03-05). Retrieved on 2011-11-22.
  6. ^ Blog Archive » DJ Drama – 5000 Ones. illRoots (2007-11-17). Retrieved on 2011-11-22.
  7. ^ Reid, Shaheem. (2009-05-22) DJ Drama Already Working On Third Gangsta Grillz Album. ''MTV News.'' Accessed May 26, 2009. Retrieved on 2011-11-22.
  8. ^ Rodriguez, Jayson. (2010-11-30) DJ Drama, Don Cannon Publicly End Beef For Mixtape. Retrieved on 2011-11-22.
  9. ^ Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 10/7/2012 | HipHop DX
  10. ^ "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 10/21/2012". HipHop DX. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Hale, Andreas. (2008-08-13) 2008 Ozone Awards Winners And Recap | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales. HipHop DX. Retrieved on 2011-11-22.


DJ Drama on Generation Now and the rise of Lil Uzi Vert - Rolling Out [1]

External linksEdit