In anticipation of this year’s Thanksgiving Day (November 24), Drama ran through a hefty list of 2022 highlights with HipHopDXincluding awards and accolades, team victories, proud family moments, personal triumphs and much more for which he is grateful.
Beginning with his family, Drama said he was grateful to be able to celebrate milestone birthdays with each of his two daughters. “I am grateful that I got to spend my daughter’s 21st birthday with her and throw her a lavish party and have an after party with her hosted by Wiz Khalifawhich she enjoyed very much,” he said DX.
“I’m grateful that I got to share my other daughter’s sweet 16 with her, and again throw her a great party, and get to Jack Harlow, Tyler, the Creator, Chris Brown, Lil BabyLatto, Summer Walker and Lil Uzi Vert to tell her ‘Happy Sweet 16’ as well [getting] Flo Milli to perform for her.”
Drama then turned his attention to his parents. The DJ’s mother celebrated her 75th birthday this year, which he celebrated by throwing her a huge party at his home. “I am grateful that I got to spend my mother’s 75th birthday with her and have her at an event in my house filled with family and friends, and the trap band, which she enjoyed and was very grateful for.”
As for his father, the Philadelphia-born music mogul was able to fulfill his father’s longtime dream by taking him to see his beloved Phillies play in the baseball World Series — not once, but twice.
“I’m thankful that I got to take my dad to the World Series in Philly, which is a dream come true for him as a lifelong baseball fan and a Phillies fan. He wasn’t just going to a World Series game , but he also had to go to two back-to-backs. And even though the Phillies lost, the experience was priceless and memorable for him. To share that moment with him was amazing.”
Moving on to Generation Now – the record label he co-founded Don Cannon and Leighton “Lake” Morrison – Drama heaped praise on Jack Harlow, the label’s marquee artist this year, who released his second album, Come home, the kids miss youin May.
Harlow has received a host of awards in 2022, including recently been nominated in three categories for next year’s Grammy Awards: Best Rap Song (“Churchill Downs” with Drake), Best Rap Album (Come home, the kids miss you), and Best Rap Melodic Performance (“First Class”).
“I’m grateful that Generation Now as a company has had such a successful year and has flourished,” Drama said of the Atlantic Records partnership. “Watching Jack Harlow become an incredible superstar, one of the biggest A-listers in the game. From hosting the MTV Awards and three-time Grammy nomination to doing a sold-out tour for Come home, the kids miss you in front of 11,12,000 people every night. I’m grateful for his rising star and his success and to be able to witness it.”
Drama said he was grateful to another of Generation Now’s biggest stars, Lil Uzi Vert, whose meteoric rise began with Drama and co. until the two parties had a brief argument, which hit the boiling point in 2019 when Uzi fired off a series of tweets calling out his label bosses. However, Uzi and Generation Now have since reconciled, which Drama is grateful for.
“I’m thankful for the reconciliation of Generation Now and Lil Uzi Vert, and Don Cannon and Lil Uzi being back in the studio together,” Drama said, “and seeing Uzi have another monster hit on his hands with ‘Just Wanna Rock’ and enters the new year with great momentum and looks forward to his new project.”
Drama added that he was also grateful for Seddy Hendrixanother Generation Now artist who dropped his Gangsta Grillz tape Well Sed, earlier this year. “He’s another Generation Now artist who’s on the rise and doing amazing things,” Drama said.
In April, Drama won her first ever Grammy Award for her work with Tyler, The Creator’s Call me if you get lostwhich won Best Rap Album at the 2022 awards show. Drama couldn’t let Thanksgiving pass without mentioning this incredible achievement.
It was a monumental moment,” Drama said of his Grammy win, which he found out just before taking the stage at J. Cole’s Dreamville Festival with Lil WayneJeezy and YOUthe three artists he is best known for working with.
“It was a 360 moment for me,” he said DX. “Winning my first Grammy and then performing at the Dreamville Festival in front of 75,000 people with the three people that I started my career with very early and started Gangsta Grillz with very early and come full circle and win a Grammy with Tyler The Creator, I’m very grateful for that.”
He added that he was also grateful to be named DJ of the Year 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards. “I’m grateful that I got to share the stage with my mates, my collaborators and my artists,” he said, adding that having them on stage really brought things home for him.
About the subject Gangsta Grillz2022 saw a huge resurgence for the series that kicked it all off for DJ Drama. After taking a step away from the label – which has been a staple in hip-hop for many years – to momentarily concentrate on Generation Now and the growth of its artists, Drama re-introduced Gangsta Grillz via Tyler’s Call me if you get lost.
From there, the brand caught fire, and in 2022 Drama went out of business Gangsta Grillz bond with a bunch of cutting edge talent from Symba, NBA YoungBoy and Dave East, that Snoop Dogg and J. Cole’s Dreamville crew.
One of the most talked about was Jeezy’s SnowFall, which saw Drama and the Atlanta trap star reunite after years apart, marking a new chapter in their long-standing and revered collaborative partnership. In the mid-2000s, the two teamed up for the now iconic Fall or die mixtape, which many consider to be the project that helped push it Gangsta Grillz series into the mainstream.
“I am grateful for the resurgence of Gangsta Grillz and the many projects I have done this year,” Drama shared DX. “I don’t even want to start naming them because I don’t want to forget anybody. But you know, Jeezy SnowFall is a big talk of the town.
“The feeling that we reconnected together, the combination of me and Jeezy and what we brought to the game and to be here 17 years later and put out a monster project that people are really appreciating and really talking about, I’m grateful for that . day.”
Once in the bag, Drama showed himself some love and made it a point to celebrate his competitive spirit. “I’m thankful to be able to keep my foot on these n-gg’s necks and I’m thankful to still have a competitive spirit and thankful to still be so addicted to the culture and addicted to creating and giving to Hip Hop , which I love so much,” he said.
“I’m thankful for 30 years of DJing this year. Hip Hop turns 50 next year and I’ve literally been DJing for 30 of those years. I’m thankful that I can have those around me be able to to be successful and create jobs and positions for those who are deserving and not only bask in my own success but also be able to bring people with me.”
Looking ahead to 2023, DJ Drama explained that he is also thankful that he is on the verge of releasing his sixth studio album, I really am like that. “I’m going to start the new year with a bang, with a project that I’m quite proud of, with an album that’s really the culmination of a whole year and a whole career.”
That career has been getting a lot of love this past year, and Drama revealed that a lot of people have been giving him his props lately. “Without really asking for it, I’ve gotten a lot of my flowers this year and I’ve been appreciated for the years of work I’ve put in and all that I’ve given to hip-hop and being a stand up individual,” he said.
“I’m grateful that I’m in one of the biggest rooms of my life, and [at] 44 years old, health is wealth,” continued Drama. “My skin is glowing. I drink a liter of water every day. I feel like I’m still 21. I can go on the hip hop circuit and kick anybody’s ass. I’m thankful that when it’s all said and done, when they tell the stories, it will be that DJ Drama was one of the greatest to ever do it – and that’s words for Mr. Thanksgiving. After all these years I still feed the streets. Can no one say otherwise.”
Closing by giving “thanks for life,” Drama shared HipHopDX that people’s cups should “always be half full, not half empty,” and that while everyone has things to complain about, “it could always be worse.”
“I am thankful that I live by that faith and know that on my worst day I live like someone on their best day. Say thank you. Amen.”
DJ Drama I really am like that is ready to come sometime next year.