DRAM Goes Long On Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Cardi B, & More
DRAM is having a big summer.
He's dropped a single with Juicy J and A$AP Rocky ("Gilligan"), unleashed a hot remix with Cardi B ("Cute") and landed an opening slot on Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. arena tour — all while basking in the afterglow of his gold-certified debut, Big Baby D.R.A.M., which dropped last October. The GRAMMY-nominated rapper has many reasons to smile, and when he does, it's infectious.
Recently, the Virginia native paid a visit to Recording Academy headquarters in Santa Monica to talk about life on his dream tour with Lamar, another possible collaboration with Erykah Badu, plans for a new music video, and what's up with his dog.
What's the vibe been like so far on the road with Kendrick Lamar?
It's amazing because on the Kendrick tour we're doing arenas. It's Kendrick's first — it's the whole TDE faction's first arena tour. And I went from doing 500, 700-cap rooms — very, very intimate — to now being catapulted on this platform, and it's been a real growing experience. It's just been pleasant man, to be on tour with your favorite artist.
I've got to ask you about working with Erykah Badu …
I love Erykah Badu. [She's] one of my closest friends, especially in music. She gives me advice. We're working on music together. My birthday is August 3rd, she legit FaceTimed me and sang me "Happy Birthday." I was like, "Aw, thank you queen!" Really, she's literally a queen. Heart of gold, mind of steel.
What's the possibility of a DRAM/Erykah Badu collaboration album?
Yeah, we're working on a whole project together.
You shot a video for "Gilligan." When can we expect it to drop?
On a great day, and soon. That was the funnest [sic] shoot I've been to. It was easy, everything flowed naturally. Everybody was cool with everybody. ... It's gonna be a treat.
Cardi B just hopped on your remix of "Cute." What's your opinion on her rise in rap?
Hey, shout-out Cardi B! How 'bout this: We had the verse from Cardi for months now, and that first line, I'm not sure why, but I never heard the verse. And so I see Cardi at the BET Awards, "Hey Cardi." "Hey DRAM, you heard my verse?" And I'm not a liar, but I lied. "Yeah girl …" Then I walk up, I'm biting at my manager, "She dropped a verse? ... Send me that verse!" Next day, he sent me that verse. She killed it! But it was a blessing in disguise because "Bodak Yellow" [Ed.: Cardi B's latest single] — I've been doing after parties on this tour so, you know, you have to be up in there. When that song drops, it’s mayhem. … And she's on this crazy rise and it just dropped as soon as I heard the verse, I'm like, "This s*** hard as hell." We sent it off to mix and as soon as we could get it out … we dropped it. And now it's like the rebirth of a year-old song, which is dope because music is timeless.
So how's your partnership with PETA?
It's cool. You know it's so crazy, every time we run into each other it's all love. I did the ["Broccoli"] commercial thing with them and then they actually came out to my Norfolk homecoming show during the Big Baby D.R.A.M. tour this winter, and every time they come around, it just be lit.
We know you love your dog, Idnit. Have you ever been fined for not picking up after him?
I'm not picking that up. So as I'm on tour he is in Atlanta with my cousin and his girl and he's got a little brother companion. He's like a Labradoodle, and it's like he's on vacation while I'm out here running around. These arenas, they don't have fields like when we were doing modest venues when we could just walk across the street. … But as soon as I get off tour I'm getting my Stink Dink back.