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Take A Closer Look At The Best Music Video Nominees | 2021 GRAMMYs

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Take A Closer Look At The Best Music Video Nominees | 2021 GRAMMYs

Visuals from Beyoncé, Future featuring Drake, Anderson .Paak, Harry Styles and Woodkid will vie for the prize of Best Music Video at the 2021 GRAMMYs

GRAMMYs/Nov 30, 2020 - 12:01 am

Updated Jan. 5, 2021.

Every picture tells a story, don't it? With visual aesthetics and original style more important than ever in the music world, the Best Music Video category continues to honor the most stunning, striking and moving music videos the year has to offer. Honoring the artist, video director and video producer, this award has gone to past winners and visionary music video pioneers like Peter Gabriel, Madonna, Lady Gaga and OK Go

But today, the art of the music video has evolved well past visual experimentation, as music-makers push the medium toward meaningful social statements, moving storytelling and truly original art. In recent years, Kendrick Lamar's "HUMBLE.," Childish Gambino's "This Is America" and Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" took home the honor, setting the conceptual bar high for all who follow. 

Today, GRAMMY.com takes a closer look at the Best Music Video nominees at the 2021 GRAMMYs, a stellar class of visual artists ready to carry the torch.

To find out who will win, tune into the 2021 GRAMMYs Sunday, March 14, on CBS.

"Brown Skin Girl," Beyoncé

Beyoncé returns to this category four years after winning it for her commanding and provocative 2016 video for "Formation." This time around, her breathtakingly beautiful "Brown Skin Girl" video, from her Black Is King visual album, with daughter Blue Ivy, plus SAINt JHN and WizKiD, is a feast for the fashion-forward and a celebration of Black and brown female beauty everywhere. The video's various venues and styles weave together in a stylish, six-minute sight to behold, featuring cameos from Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyong'o and former Destiny's Child bandmate Kelly Rowland

True to her fierce creative vision and limitless talent, Bey also directed the video alongside director Jenn Nkiru. The nomination also recognizes the video's producers Lauren Baker, Astrid Edwards, Nathan Scherrer and Erinn Williams, the latter of whom won the GRAMMY for Best Music Film alongside Beyoncé for the epic 2019 documentary concert film, Homecoming, at the 2020 GRAMMYs.

Read More: Beyonce Created A Space To Celebrate Black Culture At Coachella & More Things 'Homecoming' Taught Us

"Life Is Good," Future Featuring Drake

GRAMMY-winning rap heavyweights Future and Drake don't quit their day jobs in their hilarious "Life Is Good" music video. In the clip, they go back to work taking out the trash, setting up the Genius Bar, fixing cars and more. On a break from their fast food gig, they dream aloud about saving up for studio time and making it big. They ultimately end up behind the cameras of their own video, meta-directed by the actual Director X, real name Julien Christian Lutz. Try not to laugh as they all ham it up, and look closely for cameos from 21 Savage, Lil Yachty, Mike Will Made It and Big Bank Black.

Taken from Future's eighth album, High Off Life, the "Life Is Good" video dropped back in January and stands as a gut-busting, working-class snapshot of a simpler time. The Best Music Video nod also includes a nomination for the video's producer, Harv Glazer.

"Lockdown," Anderson .Paak

The people are rising. Three-time GRAMMY winner Anderson .Paak's on-location report from the streets of Los Angeles in "Lockdown" shows life in the shadows of the Black Lives Matter movement, which grew to define the battle against social injustice in 2020 America. Honoring the lives and tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and far too many more at the hands of police, .Paak and GRAMMY-winning director Dave Meyers, known for his work with Kendrick Lamar, craft a lasting image of the quieter side of an uprising to accompany the bold social statement song, released as a single in June. 

Nathan Scherrer, who is also nominated in the category for his work on Beyoncé's "Brown Skin Girl" and Harry Styles' "Adore You," also receives the nod for his work here as producer. 

Watch: Anderson .Paak Is A Part Of A New Wave Of R&B

"Adore You," Harry Styles

They say if you love someone, you should set them free. In the year's most unlikely on-screen pairing, One Direction alum Harry Styles falls for a fish who keeps outgrowing his makeshift tanks while longing to return to the open sea. The extended version even features an introduction to the land of Eroda, where none other than Rosalía narrates the larger story arc of how Styles turned all the frowns in the fictional, magical land upside down.

"It's the first idea that popped to mind after the first listen to the song, and the first idea I pitched to Harry. It was a story that underscored my understanding of what Harry stood for and felt it was necessary to tell it as a narrative to convey his optimism," Dave Meyers, who directed the heartwarming romp, said of the concept. Mission accomplished. 

Jo Coombes, Ellen DeFaux, Tom Gardner and Nathan Scherrer produced the "Adore You" video.

"Goliath," Woodkid 

The leadoff track from Woodkid's 2020 sophomore album, S16, got a special visual treatment that is probably unlike anything you've seen before. The video for "Goliath," directed by the French artist, born Yoann Lemoine, himself transports the viewer to an industrial construction dystopia where massive, maniacal, mechanical machinery carves away at the earth, feeding the debris—through pulsing rhythms that match the music, mind you—into a super cauldron that births a gigantic, fiery, rising blob before cutting to black with the track's final drum smack. The result is intense, unique and stirring. 

Woodkid's much-anticipated S16 arrived seven years after his 2013 debut—and the wait was worth it. The latest in his catalog of epic music videos, "Goliath" has earned Woodkid his third nomination in the category, following nods for "The Golden Age" at the 2014 GRAMMYs and "Run Boy Run" at the 2013 GRAMMYs. Will this be his lucky year to take home the golden gramophone for Best Music Video?

2021 GRAMMYs: Complete Nominees List

Harry Styles' Sonic Evolution: How He Grew From Teen Pop Idol To Ever-Evolving Superstar
(L-R) Harry Styles in 2012, 2022 and 2017

Photos: (L-R) Kevin Mazur/WireImage, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for ABA, Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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Harry Styles' Sonic Evolution: How He Grew From Teen Pop Idol To Ever-Evolving Superstar

'Harry's House' not only gives Harry Styles his most GRAMMY recognition yet — it serves as a testament to how much he's expanded his sound over his already storied career.

GRAMMYs/Jan 25, 2023 - 05:02 pm

Watching 16 year-old Harry Styles walk onto the stage for his "The X Factor" audition in 2010, it's remarkable how little some things have changed in the following 13 years. Though his rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" was rather unpolished — even receiving a "no" from judge Louis Walsh — his magnetic charisma and natural talent were more than evident. And at just 16, Styles clearly knew he was on the right path.

"Singing is what I want to do," Styles said in an interview before his audition. "And if the people who can make that happen for me don't think that I should be doing that, then it's a major setback in my plans."

Of course, so much else has changed in the ensuing decade. Styles was tabbed alongside other contestants Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik to form the group One Direction. As the band stormed the charts and captured the love of fans globally, Styles grew into his abilities — and now, he's achieved a rarified level of fame.

Even after being part of one of the most successful boy bands of all time, Styles has reached new heights of superstardom in his own right. In addition to selling millions of albums and selling out arenas around the world, he's starred in four feature films and became the first male cover star of Vogue magazine. The depth of Styles' charisma and drive he's shown from that first audition have made him an all-encompassing star like few before him.

While Styles was a solo star as soon as he emerged in 2017 — selling out his first-ever solo tour and debuting his self-titled first album atop the Billboard 200 — he has dominated the 2020s. His second album, 2019's Fine Line, spawned his first No. 1 hit in the U.S. in 2020 with "Watermelon Sugar," which also earned him his first GRAMMY in 2021 for Best Pop Solo Performance. But 2022 was the year he took his stardom to the next level — and it all began with an invitation to Harry's House

The lead single of Styles' third album, "As It Was," became undeniable, debuting atop the Billboard Hot 100 and spending 15 weeks there — the most in history for a British act. And when Harry's House arrived less than two months after "As It Was," it was clear that 2022 was the year of Harry. 

The album, featuring smooth electronic beats and funky bass riffs, went platinum in the UK and US, put four songs into the Billboard Top 10 at the same time, and earned Styles the most GRAMMY nominations of his career. His six nominations for the 2023 GRAMMYs include his first in the coveted Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year categories; Harry's House also earned a nod for Best Pop Vocal Album and "As It Was" is up for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video.

If you ask Tyler Johnson — who has co-written and co-produced the majority of Styles' three solo albums — the GRAMMY nominations may just be Styles' biggest validation yet. "It's really the music community recognizing him as Harry Styles — [his time in the band] is just another part of his resume, it no longer defines him. And that's really exciting."

In reality, Styles hardly ever let his past define him. Even Johnson sensed Styles' star power upon meeting the singer in 2015. "When I first met him, I knew a lot about him from the band, but it was obvious he was a star," he recalls. "Especially how he performed in the vocal booth, it was very brave. I was like, 'Wow, this person has no barriers.'"

With no barriers comes a willingness to always try something new — which is why the Harry Styles of Harry's House sounds much different than Harry Styles of One Direction. The change was heard immediately back in 2017 on his first solo single "Sign of the Times," released ahead of his self-titled debut LP later that year. It's a rock track to its core, starting with hearty piano chords and building to a crescendo of wailing electric guitar and crashing drums. This initial offering was a sign of what was to come, as Harry Styles is built on these rock sounds from beginning to end. 

Even if reviews weren't outright surprised by this sound, they noted the seemingly brand new, well, direction. "Few people probably predicted the 23-year-old ex-One Direction superstar to drop the kind of album that makes your uncle or your mom perk up," read Variety's review. Pitchfork mused, "If you only know one thing about Harry Styles, it's probably that the album bucks the established trends governing bids for young male solo pop stardom." Styles becoming a rock star was something new, but looking back at the totality of his work, it's not quite as surprising as it might be at first glance.

When assessing the music of One Direction, the singles will of course stand out. Tracks like "What Makes You Beautiful," "Live While We're Young," and "Best Song Ever" are big and boisterous, with infectiously fun hooks. And while each of the group's five albums had rock influences — queue the Clash-like electric guitar opening of "Live While We're Young" — they're all pop projects at their core. And the writers and producers behind them were pop masterminds, too, including Rami Yacoub, Steve Mac, Ed Sheeran, and Ryan Tedder.

By nature of an essentially constant touring schedule and working with so many other people — especially the four other members of the group — there was simply less opportunity to write. Across the 86 songs in the band's discography, Styles has writing credits on only 21 of them, whereas he serves as lead writer on every track on each of his three solo albums. 

"I think it was tough to really delve in and find out who you are as a writer when you're just kind of dipping your toe each time," Styles told Rolling Stonein 2017, recalling some of the struggles of being in a band. "We didn't get the six months to see what kind of s— you can work with."

Listening to the songs Styles did have a hand in writing for One Direction, though, the throughline of his career becomes clearer. Even the earliest tracks he co-wrote include key elements to his later songs.

The chorus of Up All Night's "Same Mistakes" takes his penchant for lyrical repetition, creating a folksy call-and-response feeling and pairing it with powerful guitar chords; he uses a similar pattern on Harry Styles' opening track "Meet Me in the Hallway." Made In The A.M. ballad "If I Could Fly" is strikingly vulnerable lyrically and melodically minimalistic; this combination is seen on Styles' solo ballads, like Fine Line's "Falling" or Harry's House's "Matilda."

Styles' solo success also stems from his versatility. Alongside folksy ballads, he has an ear for rock songs to fill a stadium (and after completely selling out his 2021 and 2022 Love On Tour stretches, stadiums may be where he's headed next). "Where Do Broken Hearts Go?" is one of One Direction's most anthemic tracks, tailor made for karaoke or shouting alongside a crowd. It's no surprise Styles is the sole One Direction member on the writing credits for it, and you can hear that same exuberance on his solo rock anthems, from Fine Line’s ultra cool smash "Watermelon Sugar" to the funk rock-infused "Late Night Talking" on Harry's House

In a 2017 New York Times interview, Styles explained his rock influence — and really, his musicality as a whole — stems from his own musical tastes. "I really wanted to make an album that I wanted to listen to," he said of Harry Styles. "That was the only way I knew I wouldn't look back on it and regret it. It was more, 'What do I want to sit and listen to?' rather than, 'How do I shake up compared to what's on radio right now?'"

Judging by the elevated sounds on Harry's House, Styles' musical interests have grown as he has evolved as an artist. While there are hints of his previous writing and growth on the album, Styles incorporated so many new elements, and that's what makes Harry's House so interesting and so refreshing. 

Funk pervades the record, with synths and stylized loops fleshing out tracks like "Music For A Sushi Restaurant" and "Keep Driving." There's a constant sense of playfulness throughout all 13 tracks — something that was apparent to Styles' collaborators long before the world got to hear it. 

"Harry just said that he's never been more proud of anything, and Tom [Hull, better known as producer Kid Harpoon] and I are just there for the ride," Johnson says. "We didn't feel too caught up in the kind of reality of who he is and having to put out an album very specific to the commerce side of it. It was a lot of having fun and just kind of burying our heads in the sand and enjoying doing it. That was very different from Fine Line."

Styles can seemingly feel his evolution himself, too. In a wide-ranging interview with Zane Lowe upon the album's release in May 2022, Styles revealed that he tried not to take direct sonic influences on this record like he had in the past. "I kinda felt like you can reference things by the emotions that they evoke," he said.

The same interview points out how much more comfortable Styles has become with being flexible and fluid, both in his own writing and his collaborators. And now that he's found his right-hand men in Johnson and Hull, he finds it easier to bring his ideas to life. This has allowed Styles to continue to expand his writing, and that resulted in an album that launched his superstardom to even greater heights — and showcased Harry Styles simply having fun.

Now 28 (almost 29!), Styles has been a beloved star for nearly half of his life. In that time, fans have watched his musical abilities mature, morph and expand; he has shown a willingness to always have an eye on what comes next — and that forward thinking paid off in a big way in 2022. However he evolves next, it seems Styles will never lose the drive and endearing charm the world first saw on the "X Factor" stage over a decade ago.

"He's a very similar person. He's a very consistent, loyal, kind person, very focused. That is all the same," Johnson insists. "He's just doing what people do when they do it more and more — he's focusing in on who he is more, he's gaining confidence, and he's becoming more and more himself — which is a very potent thing."

Additional reporting by Taylor Weatherby.

The Official 2023 GRAMMYs Playlist Is Here: Listen To 115 Songs By Beyoncé, Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Kendrick Lamar & More

The Official 2023 GRAMMYs Playlist Is Here: Listen To 115 Songs By Beyoncé, Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Kendrick Lamar & More
(L-R, clockwise) Steve Lacy, Harry Styles, Lizzo, Anitta, BTS

Photos (L-R): Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Harry Styles, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy, LUFRÉ, Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

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The Official 2023 GRAMMYs Playlist Is Here: Listen To 115 Songs By Beyoncé, Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Kendrick Lamar & More

Get to know this year's nominees with the official 2023 GRAMMYs playlist, presented in partnership with Amazon Music, which features 115 GRAMMY-nominated songs across pop, rap, country, and beyond from today's stars.

GRAMMYs/Jan 19, 2023 - 04:24 pm

With the 2023 GRAMMYs less than a month away, excitement is bubbling over in the music community.

Whether you're rooting for innovative newcomers like Wet Leg and Omar Apollo or beloved legends like Beyoncé and ABBA, there is an abundance of spectacular talent to be celebrated this year. And the 2023 GRAMMY nominees are not only leading music, but they’re creatively transforming genres, from rap to alternative to reggae — and beyond.

To let the music speak for itself, stream the official 2023 GRAMMYs playlist, presented in partnership with Amazon Music, which features 115 GRAMMY-nominated songs across pop, rap, country, and beyond from today's stars, including BTS, Harry Styles, Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo, and many, many more.

Get to know this year's nominees by listening to their biggest hits and GRAMMY-nominated works on this immersive Amazon Music playlist — and tune in to CBS and Paramount+ on Sunday, Feb. 5 to experience Music's Biggest Night live.

Where, What Channel & How To Watch The Full 2023 GRAMMYs

Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: New Year, It’s Poppin'! Monthly Member Playlist

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Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: New Year, It’s Poppin'! Monthly Member Playlist

The GRAMMY U Mixtape is a monthly, genre-spanning playlist to quench your thirst for new tunes, all from student members. GRAMMY U celebrates new beginnings with fresh pop tunes that will kickstart 2023.

GRAMMYs/Jan 6, 2023 - 12:17 am

Did you know that among all of the students in GRAMMY U, songwriting and performance is one of the most sought after fields of study? We want to create a space to hear what these students are creating today!

The GRAMMY U Mixtape, now available for your listening pleasure, highlights the creations and fresh ideas that students are bringing to this industry directly on the Recording Academy's Spotify and Apple Music pages. Our goal is to celebrate GRAMMY U members, as well as the time and effort they put into making original music — from the songwriting process to the final production of the track.

Each month, we accept submissions and feature 20 to 25 songs that match that month’s theme. This month we're ringing in 2023 with our New Year, It's Poppin'! playlist, which features fresh pop songs that bring new year, new you vibes. Showcasing talented members from our various chapters, we felt these songs represented the positivity and hopefulness that GRAMMY U members embody as they tackle this upcoming year of exciting possibilities.

So, what’s stopping you? Press play on GRAMMY U’s Mixtape and listen now on Spotify below and Apple Music.

Want to be featured on the next playlist? Submit your songs today! We are currently accepting submissions for songs of all genres for consideration for our February playlist. Whether you write pop, rock, hip hop, jazz, or classical, we want to hear from you. Music must be written and/or produced by the student member (an original song) and you must be able to submit a Spotify and/or Apple Music link to the song. Students must be a GRAMMY U member to submit.

About GRAMMY U:

GRAMMY U is a program that connects college students with the industry's brightest and most talented minds and provides those aspiring professionals with the tools and opportunities necessary to start a career in music.     

Throughout each semester, events and special programs touch on all facets of the industry, including the business, technology, and the creative process.

As part of the Recording Academy's mission to ensure the recorded arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, GRAMMY U establishes the necessary foundation for music’s next generation to flourish.

Not a member, but want to submit to our playlist? Apply for GRAMMY U Membership here.

2022 In Review: 6 Trends That Defined Rap
(From left) Drake, Nicki Minaj, Dr. Dre, Coi Leray, Kendrick Lamar

Photos: Emma McIntyre/BBMA2019/Getty Images for dcp; Doug Peters/PA Images via Getty Images; Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images; Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET; Samir Hussein/WireImage

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2022 In Review: 6 Trends That Defined Rap

This year has been one of transition, where old school came back as the genre's freshmen stood poised to take over. GRAMMY.com revisits six rap trends from 2022 that spawned from multiple generations of artists.

GRAMMYs/Dec 29, 2022 - 03:54 pm

In 2022, rap seemed to be slowly evolving into something new. It was a year when long-gestating regional and cultural trends reached a new fever pitch. Savvy listeners seemed more focused on the emerging voices who were breathing fresh life into the form, even though established stars continued to earn critical and commercial acclaim.

This trajectory resulted in the sense that the past year has been one of transition, and that 2023 will be an even better season where the genre's freshmen are poised to take over. Only time will tell, but while you wait for the first fire releases of the next year, revisit six rap trends from 2022 that spawned from multiple generations of artists.

Jersey Club Goes Beyond The Garden State

Every few years, the rap community rediscovers the pleasures of flowing over electronic beats. In 2022, the sound of the moment was Jersey club, a hybrid of house and bass music that fueled scene leaders such as Bandmanrill (who released his debut album Club Godfather), DJ/producer Uniiqu3, and Unicorn 151 aka Killa Kherk Cobain. Meanwhile, a parallel wave developed in Philadelphia with tracks like 2Rare’s "Cupid" and Zahsosaa, D Sturdy and DJ Crazy’s "Shake Dhat."

Jersey club inspired mainstream artists as well. Drake pulled from the sound on his dance-music opus Honestly, Nevermind, and collaborated with 2Rare on the hit single "Sticky." It also fueled club-ready remixes like Coi Leray’s "Players (DJ Smallz 732’s Jersey Club Remix)."

Women Unite For Posse Raps

Anyone who fondly remembers women-only ciphers such as Brandy’s "I Wanna Be Down (Remix)" and Bahamadia’s "Three the Hard Way" will delight at how the format is making a comeback.

For "Super Freaky Girl (Queen Mix)", Nicki Minaj gathered an all-roster that included JT from City Girls, BIA, Katie Got Bandz, Maliibu Miitch, and Akbar V. On "Shabooya," producer Hitkidd gave mic time to Memphis rappers Gloss Up, K-Carbon, Slimeroni, and Aleza. Meanwhile, ShantiiP collaborated with Kash Doll, Rubi Rose, and Dream Doll on her "Abow (Remix)." The nascent trend demonstrates how women have begun working collectively again — with or without the boys’ help.

Rap's Nepo Babies Come Of Age

It’s not unusual for children of famous rappers to follow their parents into the business. Past years have seen the emergence of scions such as Droop-E (son of E-40), Lil Tracy (son of Ishmael Butler of Digable Planets), Cory Gunz (son of Peter Gunz), and Jaden Smith (son of Will Smith). But 2022 may be the first year where a second-generation rapper arguably exceeded her father’s mainstream appeal.

Coi Leray scored a Billboard top 40 hit ("Blick Blick" with Nicki Minaj) — a feat her estranged father Benzino never managed — while releasing her debut album, Trendsetter. King Combs hit number one on Billboard’s Mainstream R&B Hip-Hop Airplay chart, surpassing famed father Sean "Diddy" Combs' latest single "Gotta Move On" in the process.

Back To The Old School 

When Mount Westmore’s Snoop, Cube, 40, $hort hit the Billboard top 200 albums chart in early December, it was yet another sign that golden-era artists are issuing quality albums, albeit on a smaller scale than their career peaks.

Still, in an era when rap fans are all too aware of how middle-aged hip-hoppers seem especially prone to the ravages of time — rest in peace to DJ Kayslay, Coolio, and Don Newkirk — it was heartening to see musicians in their 50s continue to hone their craft. Examples include Chill Rob G of "The Power" fame, who dropped Empires Crumble on Chuck D’s SpitSLAM label; KRS-One’s IMAMCRU12, Diamond D’s The Rearview, Daddy-O of Stetsasonic’s First Team, Frukwan of Stetsasonic and Gravediggaz’s Nightmare in B-Minor, and Tragedy Khadafi’s Immortal Titans Vol. 2.  Meanwhile, Dr. Dre prefaced his triumphant showcase at Super Bowl LVI with his EP-length soundtrack for "Grand Theft Auto: The Contract."

As the genre moves into its fifth decade and beyond, here’s hoping its pioneers continue to evolve along with it — without dying before they grow old.

Here Come The Big Steppers

"Big steppers" is an old-school phrase that means exactly what it says: someone whose sheer presence leaves an impact. In recent years, the phrase has percolated through rap songs by Youngboy Never Broke Again, Young M.A ("Big Steppa"), Roddy Ricch ("Big Stepper"), and Stunnaman02 & Quakebeatz ("Big Steppin’").

The term seemed to peak in usage in 2022, thanks to Kendrick Lamar, who used the phrase multiple times — including on "Worldwide Steppers." The track is both literal through the sound of tap dancers, and metaphorical in the sense of Lamar navigating the earth through the prism of his career. Meanwhile, deep album cuts like Rome Streetz’ "Big Steppa" and Yo Gotti’s CMG Crew ("Steppers") put a vintage spin on boasts of being the big men on rap’s campus.

DJ Drama Connects With Everybody…Again

In 2022, DJ Drama was a one-man wave, reconnecting rap with its dirty South roots. The Philadelphia-raised, Atlanta-based DJ was one of the biggest names during the height of the mixtape boom in the mid-to-late aughts, hosting dozens of projects a year with soon-to-be famous acts like Young Jeezy (2004’s Trap or Die) as well as established stars such as Lil Wayne (the Dedication series) and Pharrell Williams (2006’s In My Mind: The Prequel) through his Gangsta Grillz and Aphilliates imprints.

While DJ Drama hasn’t disappeared in the years since, 2022 may be the first to find Drama approaching the productivity of his most successful era. He helmed a critically acclaimed mixtape with Baton Rouge’s Youngboy Never Broke Again (Ma’ I Got a Family), helped promote rising stars like Oakland’s Symba (Results Take Time) and Detroit’s Icewear Vezzo (Paint the City), worked with New York rap star Dave East (Book of David), and scored a chart-topper with the Dreamville crew’s D-Day: A Gangsta Grillz Mixtape. He even reunited with Jeezy for Snofall, a throwback to the latter’s trap glory years. Working with artists from different regions and generations, Drama proved he still has plenty of genre-wide impact.

2022 Year In Review: 7 Trends That Defined R&B