DJ Drama sits down with Complex for the latest episode of its series, The Blueprint, where he details how he went from mixtape king with his “Gangsta Grillz” series to a music mogul with the launch of his own label Generation Now.
The music bug started for DJ Drama in Philly at age 13 with his first turntable, and continued through Clark Atlanta University, where his name began to ring bells. Soon came the birth of his legendary “Gangsta Grillz” series, spawning collaborations with T.I., Young Jeezy, and Lil Wayne that revolutionized the mixtape game. And then, the feds tried to shut down his operation forever. Bowed but not broken, DJ Drama re-emerged with a second life as a music mogul whose Generation Now record label continues his legacy of uncovering emerging talent, including Lil Uzi Vert and Jack Harlow—and whose voice is still loud and clear on Tyler, the Creator’s Grammy-nominated album.
There are more ways than ever to “make it” these days, and like snowflakes, no two journeys are identical. On “Blueprint,” a diverse range of influential people reveal the lessons they learned on their paths to success—direct to camera with no filter. From the origin stories of Lyrical Lemonade founder Cole Bennett and TV mogul Mona Scott-Young to the career pivot of rapper-turned-exec Lil Bibby, learn how small victories can add up to big wins. Also featured in the series: unconventional advice from Twitch’s most popular streamer Hasan Piker and words of wisdom from Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John. These are their blueprints—it’s up to you to create yours.