It’s the end of 2002. And Atlanta native D’Juan Hart already had dreams of being a successful rap artist. Why wouldn’t you believe it’s possible when one of your childhood friends was Chris “Dady Mack” Smith, one-half of Kriss Kross? D’Juan, then know as simply “Dro,” (named for the popular hydroponic herbal “remedy”) had the city ablaze with his independent hit single ‘Yes Sir’ from his debut album I GOT THAT DRO. He was signed to bass music rapper Raheem the Dream’s local Atlanta label, Tight IV Life Records.
Around the same time, a young rapper by the name of T.I. was prepping his debut album I’M SERIOUS. While the King of the South was promoting the album during a radio interview, Dro called the station and asked to talk to the fellow rapper. “I was like, ‘That sounds like my homeboy,” Dro realls. “He was like, ‘You the one who sings ‘Yes Sir?’ Man, meet me at The Bounce.’ We went up there and performed.”
Fast forward to today. Dro is now Young Dro, christened by the Grand Hustle/Atlantic general himself and signed in 2006. He has enjoyed much success and anticipation during his career. Hit singles such as “Shoulder Lean” and “Rubber Band Banks” from his major label debut BEST THANG SMOKIN have put Young Dro on the hip-hop map. And while T.I. is away serving his sentence for weapons charges, Young Dro has taken it upon himself to carry the torch for his label. J.Write and I were headed to one of Grand Hustle’s studios to interview last month’s feature, Rich Kidz. As we enter, we are asked to wait for the group to arrive. Young Dro emerges from the booth to the lobby where we are standing with MC Kidd Dupree and teen entrepreneurs DJ B-EZ and S.Marie. Dro’s personality is immediately evident, as he speaks on how hard it is for him to choose a 1st single from his upcoming sophomore album, P.O.L.O (Players Only Live Once). Several songs from the album have already leaked, including a Jim Jonsin production, “On Fire” and “***.” Dro plans to counter this by simply recording more single-ready tracks and releasing the album in early 2010.
Dro’s personality is warm and friendly, hinting at the southern hospitality expected from those raised in the Bible Belt. Both cocky (consider quotes like, “My gear alone just shames the whole world!” and “I put swag to sleep…just rest in peace…I killed that”) and approachable, he actually makes an effort to try to make the kids with us laugh and feel comfortable. And though we are here to interview Rich Kidz, Young Dro graciously allows us unplanned time from his schedule to answer some questions from BE Magazine. “Shout out to Rich Kidz! We’re just hitting the tip of the iceburg [with them],” he proclaims. “I got big dreams behind the music. When you do music and it seems like other people aren’t paying attention, but you’re doing the music to have big dreams, they fail to realize that those are the people I’ve been in the streets grinding with so its not suprising to us that all these singles are about to come out and do well.”
-On Grand Hustle Love
“It feels good to still be loved even though I’m still ballin’ of “Shoulder Lean” money. But Imma crush the streets.”
-On T.I. saying Young Dro is better than him
“It felt good for my homeboy to say that. Plus it feels good to stand with the best of em.”
-Diamond Crusted Chain
“This is like the rappers kit. Everybody gotta have one.”
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