Talent can be defined in a myriad of ways. It can be an innate gift or a learned proficiency but occasionally, it's a potent mixture of both. This happens to be the case with visionary Memphis-bred producer Christopher Gholson a.k.a. Drumma Boy. The 29-year-old multi-platinum musical prodigy, who sites producers Quincy Jones, Raphael Saadiq, and revered Motown house band The Funk Brothers as his inspirations, has skillfully created a his own unique alchemy of hard-hitting 808 bass and classical chord progressions that has made him one of the industry's most sought after producers. He composes thick and textured sounds that take some producers years to perfect. It takes a special kind of artist to rock with his sound, which explains his impressive roster of hip hop acts that include Jeezy, T.I., Kanye West, Lil' Wayne, 2Chainz, T-Pain, Waka Flocka Flame, Wiz Khalifa, Drake, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, and Rick Ross. Drumma Boy peerless approach to music production is unmistakably fresh and innovative. His remarkable technique defies boundaries, taking the art form into new realms of abstraction.
With musical influences that range from German composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach to Jazz icons Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, Drumma Boy's sonic creations have earned him the "Producer of the Year" award for three consecutive years at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Southern Entertainment Awards. He also received a nomination for "Producer of the Year" at the 2008 Ozone Awards and the 2010 BET Hip-Hop Awards. His contributions to both T.I.'s landmark Paper Trail album and the Young Jeezy/ Kanye West single "Put On" earned him two nominations at the 2009 Grammy Awards: Best Rap Album and Best Performance by a Rap Duo, respectively. "Put On" reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks and Mainstream R&B/Hip Hop charts. The following year, Drumma Boy was hailed #2 Producer of the Year in Billboard Magazine while the New York Times named him one of the four hottest producers "driving the city" in Atlanta, describing his sound as "a busy bee swarm of synths overlaid with brash bass injections that's equal parts Memphis and Atlanta."
His production on the platinum-selling Waka Flocka Flame hit single "No Hands," featuring Roscoe Dash and Wale, earned him the accolade Best Club Banger at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards, a nod for Best Collaboration at the 2011 BET Awards and picked up the ASCAP award in the category of Most Performed Songs. Utilizing an unparalleled work ethic that is equal parts passion and conviction, his prolific output and incomparable success effectively distinguish him from the bulk of his peers in the industry. Soaked in vintage soul, P-Funk, and crunk, his inimitable style embodies sophisticated arrangements that fuse the arrogance of hip-hop with the slickness of R&B. Born and bred in Memphis, Tennessee, Drumma Boy's destiny was solidified as a young child. The byproduct of a mother who was an opera singer and a father who was a professional clarinetist and music professor at the University of Memphis, the first African-American man to hold the 1st chair position in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Drumma Boy's extended family also included a grandmother who was a piano teacher and an aunt who played the violin and taught music at NYU. "I had a recorder in my hand at age three," recalls Drumma Boy, "and by five, I had stepped up to the clarinet." Throughout his tenure as a junior high and high school student, the young ingénue participated in the band although as he got older he wanted to play more urban music and less classical. "My dad taught me everything I know about traditional music but it was my mom that introduced me to Curtis Mayfield and 70's oldies, so my style now is a reflection of all of that, classical, soul and street music."
Drumma Boy attended the University of Memphis as a Music Business Major, mainly to satisfy his father's belief that a college degree was the golden ticket to a solid and stable career however, Drumma Boy had other plans. In between attending classes, the 18-year-old would shop his homemade beats to prominent Memphis rappers such as Gangsta Boo and Tela, as well as travel to Texas to work on projects for Scarface and Bun B of UGK, all unbeknownst to his dad at the time. By his junior year, Drumma Boy had solidified a name for himself and was quickly becoming the most sought-after beat banger in Tennessee. Following in the footsteps of Memphis native and super-producer Jazze Pha, Drumma Boy relocated to Atlanta in 2004. Within a two years of leaving his native city, Drumma Boy had fostered relationships with top notch artists such as Outkast, Trick Daddy, Slim Thug, Cash Money, Pastor Troy, and Killer Mike. He'd also successfully established rapports with equally gifted writers, instrumentalists and producers such as Bryan Michael-Cox and Johnta Austin. In 2003, Drumma Boy founded Drum Squad, an umbrella company that encompasses Drum Squad Productions, which represents producers and songwriters, as well as Drum Squad Records.
Recently, Drumma Boy's repertoire has diversified even more with hands in everything from Reggae to R&B. His musical dexterity has given rise to distinctive music for Damien & Stephen Marley ("On de Grind"), Chris Brown ("Sweet Love"), Goapele ("Right Here") and R&B superstar Usher ("Stranger"). His recent hip hop hits include 2 Chainz ("Spend It"), Gucci Mane f/ Birdman ("Mouth Full of Gold"), Tinie Tempah ("Till I'm Gone"), Wiz Khalifa f/ Snoop ("Smokin' On"), Young Jeezy f/ Eminem and Freddie Gibbs ("Talk to Me"), Nelly ("Country Ass N%&$") and DJ Drama f/ Roscoe Dash, Fabolous & Wiz Khalifa ("Oh My").
With a diverse array of styles that spans rap, rock, classical, pop, and soulful R&B balladry, it's no surprise the young virtuoso is presently in high demand. Shoring up his already impressive list of credentials, this spring signifies a new phase in his career marked with new industry accolades, work on a new cadre of both established and up-and-coming artists, and new Drum Squad endeavors. Drumma Boy also released Welcome II My City, Volume 2 this spring, the highly-anticipated sequel to his 2009 mixtape Welcome II My City, Volume 1. Featuring lyrical beat downs from the likes of Beanie Sigel, reggae/ dancehall icon Junior Reid, and Three 6 Mafia members Juicy J, DJ Paul, and Gangsta Boo, the mixtape serves as a trunk-rattling ode to Memphis, where many of the sets' featured artists proudly hail from.
From Billboard magazine to WorldStarHipHop.com, various media outlets have leveled praise at Drumma Boy and his signature style. It's apparent that he's fast becoming a musical force to be reckoned with in the industry. But he is quick to credit all his success to a winning formula that relies on more than just talent alone. "I have practiced my craft faithfully for 11 years – a routine that has lead me to opportunities that have fulfilled many of my dreams. I firmly believe that any dream can be accomplished with proper follow through."