DJ Drama in 2008
April 22, 1978|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Zaki Mohamed (born April 22, 1978), professionally known as DJ Drama, is an American disc jockey (DJ) and record executive from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He initially gained recognition as the official DJ for Atlanta-based 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".
DJ Drama along with DJ Sense, founded Aphilliates Music Group, in 2003. The Aphilliates Music Group signed a joint venture deal with Asylum Records 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 Entertainment. In December 2007, Drama released his first studio album, Gangsta Grillz: The Album, under Atlantic Records, 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.
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.. The album's lead single "5000 Ones", featuring Nelly, T.I., Yung Joc, Willie the Kid, Young Jeezy and Twista, debuted on BET. 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.
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. 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. 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.Quality Street Music is DJ Drama's highest charting album to date. As of Feb. 7 2013 it has sold 51,080 copies. On January 8, 2014, it was announced that DJ Drama would now serve as the A&R for Atlantic Records.
In 2017, after reparing 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.