Drumma Boy

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Drumma Boy
Gholson at the 2011 BET Awards in Los Angeles
Gholson at the 2011 BET Awards in Los Angeles
Background information
Birth nameChristopher James Gholson
Also known asD-Boy Fresh
Born (1983-08-11) August 11, 1983 (age 40)
OriginMemphis, Tennessee, U.S.[1]
  • Record producer
  • rapper
  • songwriter
Years active2002–present
LabelsDrum Squad Productions

Christopher James Gholson (born August 11, 1983), better known by his stage name Drumma Boy (or Drummer Boy), is an American record producer and rapper.

Early life[edit]

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Cordova, Tennessee, he was exposed to music at a young age. His mother, Billie Baker Gholson, was an accountant who worked as a part-time opera singer and was the first African-American to graduate from Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis. His father, G. James Gholson, a retired clarinetist and music professor at Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, was the first African-American male to hold the first chair position in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.[3][4] His father is an emeritus of the Memphis Woodwind Quintet and a soloist in the United States Navy Band.[5] His paternal grandfather was a high school principal and has a high school named after him in Washington, D.C. The rest of his extended family including grandmothers and aunts were also musicians and taught music in the schools. Drumma Boy says he had a recorder in his hand at age 3 and a clarinet at age 5.[6] His father was instrumental in teaching him about traditional classical music yet it was his mother that introduced him to Curtis Mayfield and 1970s rhythm and blues.[7] A classical musically trained musician, Gholson began the practicing E-flat clarinet at age six and then went to the B-flat clarinet. At the age of six, Gholson began taking piano lessons.[8][9]

Mathematics was his favorite school subject. In 9th grade, he made a song about the quadratic formula for extra credit and received the top grade for the class.[10][3] Gholson started making hip hop beats at the age of 12 and scored his first production placement on local radio with Memphis rapper Tela's "Double Dose".[11] He produced an entire album at age 14.[12] During high school, Gholson played basketball and was offered several athletic scholarships.[13] He was offered a position in the Memphis Youth Symphony Orchestra as well as being offered college music scholarships.[14] As an amateur producer during his high school days, he began charging $200 for each beat that he made and eventually earned $500 per track by the time he graduated from high school.[14][15][16]

Gholson attended the University of Memphis as a Music Business major, matriculating in 2001. Due to the pressure from his parents to achieve academically, his father advised him that a college degree would open more doors for career advancement, and his mother stressed the importance of financial savvy. Gholson also attended college to satisfy his father's belief that a college degree was a ticket to a solid and stable career.[13] Following his father's advice and by his junior year, Drumma Boy established a name for himself and was quickly becoming the most sought-after producers in Tennessee.[citation needed] He spent much of his spare time outside of classes on the keyboard and drum machine making hip hop beats in his room.[17] In between attending classes, he would shop his homemade beats to local Memphis rappers such as Gangsta Boo, as well as travel to Texas to work on musical projects for Scarface and Bun B of UGK. Though Gholson earned good grades, he was expelled from school in 2004 due to lack of attendance.[18] The cash flow from his music production company was so strong that Gholson pulled $20,000 per month where he eventually realized that he had no reason to stay in college.[18] His father challenged him, in an effort to convince him to return to college, to earn $100,000 within 12 months to prove his independence. Drumma Boy earned $100,000 within 10 months.[18][19] Though Gholson never returned to the University of Memphis, he and his father established the James and Christopher Gholson Scholarship Fund, a scholarship that goes towards undergraduate and graduate students studying music at the school, furthering his father and his family's commitment and values towards education and cultural literacy.[5][20]

Within two years of leaving his native city, Drumma Boy had fostered relationships with a number of hip hop groups and rappers such as Outkast, Trick Daddy, Slim Thug, DJ Cash Money, Pastor Troy, and Killer Mike.[21]

In October 2013, Drumma Boy conducted a halftime show during the 2013-2014 season opening of his hometown NBA team, the Memphis Grizzlies.[22]


Gholson has worked with an array of acts from hip hop, R&B, and reggae.[23] Gholson relocated to Atlanta in 2004 and set his sights to become a professional music producer and entrepreneur. Citing his sense of business acumen from his mother, a professional accountant, Gholson founded Drum Squad, an independent umbrella entertainment company that encompasses Drum Squad Productions, a music production company that represents producers and songwriters, Drum Squad Records (a record label), and Drum Squad Films, a film production and distribution company.[24][25]

By 2008, Gholson became one of the most sought after hip hop producers in the music industry.[26] In 2008, Vibe Magazine named him one of the Top 5 Producers "making noise" in the music industry. In December 2009, he was named by The New York Times one of the 4 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".[27] He was quoted in the January 2010 issue of Rolling Stone surrounding his production work for controversial recording artist Gucci Mane's #1 rap album The State vs. Radric Davis.

In January 2009, Gholson starred alongside Jazze Pha and Vawn in BET's reality series Welcome to Dreamland.[28] He appeared on a segment of Bravo'sThe Real Housewives of Atlanta while making beats for cast member Kandi Burruss as well as appearing in the studio during an episode of Monica's BET reality series Still Standing.[29] In November 2009, Drumma Boy released his music video "Dis Girl" shot by Mr. Boomtown, the first single off his mixtape Welcome II My City, which received millions of hits on Worldstarhiphop.[30] He has appeared on Good Day Atlanta, Good Morning Memphis, CBS News Channel 9, BET and MTV.[31][32][33]

Gholson also scores for television and film, most recently working on FOX's hit TV show Empire with Bryshere Gray (Yazz).[34] In December 2013, Drumma Boy was commissioned to create film scores for the independent film Blood First for NaRa Films and O.Y.'s Spotlite Entertainment. He created film scores for movies Chapters and Holla 2.[35]

Other ventures[edit]

In 2013, Gholson released his own line of luxury wine called Moreno BHLV.[22] Gholson has also opened "G Factory"; a 20,000 square foot creative studio in his hometown Memphis, for film and TV show production that will eventually encompass a wood shop, and car detail crew where the space will be designated strictly for creative professionals, artists and painters to hone their talents.[36] Gholson also launched a film production and distribution division called Drum Squad Films subsidiary within his company, Drum Squad. One of the first few independent films called "Chapters" was launched through Drum Squad films in 2012, of which Gholson did additional film scoring for. "Know your History" was another independent film released by Drum Squad films documenting on history of the city of Memphis.[25]

Gholson is part of Tracklib's Creators Advisory Board.[37]

Gholson was a featured guest at The Heart of God Foundation's "City of Atlanta Neighborhood Revitalization Ball, an organization dedicated to raising funds to provide for the city's homeless.[36]

Along with his father, Gholson annually bestows a scholarship[38] at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music that benefits either clarinet or music business students.

Production equipment and style[edit]

Gholson uses a variety of production equipment to compose hip hop drum beats for hip hop songs. He primarily uses an Akai MPC 4000, Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Roland TR-808 and electronic keyboards manufactured by Roland, Korg and Yamaha.[25] Gholsons's signature drop on his beats is a voice saying "listen to this track, bitch". He is also known for the origination of extending sounds at the end of a verse and his use of a rise effect before the beginning and end of every verse and hook. He also utilizes his ad-lib of "Yeah Boy" and a young reverbed female voice saying "Drumma Boy" before the beginning of a song.

Gholson cites hip hop and R&B musicians Dr. Dre, Quincy Jones, Raphael Saadiq and The Funk Brothers as his signature music production inspirations with other musical influences ranging from European classical composers Ludwig van Beethoven, Jean Sibelius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Johann Sebastian Bach to American jazz icons Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis all the way to hip hop group Three 6 Mafia and Houston rapper, Scarface. He is known for combining classical music chords with urban hip hop street sounds, and for his adherence to the Atlanta trap music subgenre. His production techniques bring together a diverse array of genres that originate in hip hop, rock, pop, classical, soul, and R&B.[39][40][41][42][43][44]


Drumma Boy won "Best Indie Producer of the Year" consecutively at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Southern Entertainment Awards.[45][46] He received a nomination for "Producer of the Year" at the 2008 Ozone Awards [47] and at the 2010 BET Hip Hop Awards. His beats assisted with two nominations during the 2009 Grammy Awards including his work on T.I.'s Paper Trail (Best Rap Album) and "Put On" by Young Jeezy & Kanye West (Best Performance by a Rap Duo.).[48] Drumma also produced "Stranger" off Usher's 2010 Versus (EP), released in conjunction with the deluxe edition of Raymond v. Raymond; the album won two Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. In 2011, Drumma's hit single "No Hands" for Waka Flocka, Roscoe Dash and Wale received a nomination for "Best Collaboration" at the 2011 BET Awards and picked up the accolade for "Best Club Banger" at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards.[49]



Year Film Role Notes
2013 Buck Mentality[51] Himself Video Documentary

Production credits[edit]


  1. ^ Drumma Boy. last.fm.
  2. ^ "Drumma Boy Best Songs List: Top, New, & Old". AllMusic.
  3. ^ a b "Interview: Drumma Boy Talks Respect, His Legacy, and Wanting to Work With Miley Cyrus". Complexmag.ca. March 2013.
  4. ^ Memphis Symphony Orchestra. tburbantimes.com.
  5. ^ a b "Empower Winter 2013". ISSUU University of Memphis. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  6. ^ Interview: Drumma Boy[permanent dead link] sixshot.com
  7. ^ O'Connor, Nekeya. "Q&A: Producer Drumma Boy". AMMO Magazine. AMMO. Archived from the original on 11 November 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Classically trained artists turn hip-hop - The Page". Archived from the original on 2014-11-11. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  9. ^ "Drumma Boy: Continuing The Legacy of Memphis Music". STACKS Magazine. 5 June 2009.
  10. ^ "MISI Entertainment catches up with multi-platinum producer Drumma Boy [@DrummaBoyFRESH]". Frost Beats. 9 December 2011. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  11. ^ Miranda J. (15 July 2016). "Studio Session: Drumma Boy Motivates the Children". XXLmag.com. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  12. ^ "This Month's Feature Is: Drumma Boy". RapIndustry.com. 2010. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Exclusive: Drumma Boy Talks On Working With T.I., Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz & More". Hotnewhiphop.com. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  14. ^ a b Smokey Fontaine (16 October 2008). "Drumma Boy Interview". Giantlife.com. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  15. ^ "6 Questions". Billboard. 13 October 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  16. ^ Jake Paine (August 20, 2008). "Drumma Boy Talks Past, Success, And Upcoming Placements". HiphopDX.com. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  17. ^ "Drumma Boy". ASCAP.com. Archived from the original on 13 May 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  18. ^ a b c Kelly, Chris (3 October 2013). "DRUMMA BOY 'The Conductor' (Self-released, 2012)". Fact Magazine. p. 9. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  19. ^ Ben Westhoff (Dec 1, 2009). "Atlanta's beat generation: Drumma Boy, Chris Henderson and Zaytoven". CLATL. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  20. ^ "Drumma Boy Gives Life Advice To High School Students". HiphopDX.com. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  21. ^ Welcome to dreamland cast Drumma Boy[permanent dead link]. bet.com.
  22. ^ a b "Drumma Boy Gets His Own Luxury Sparkling Wine". XXLMag.com. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  23. ^ Beat maker Drumma Boy nominated for producer of the year at Ozone awards 2008 alongside nominees Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, T.I., Plies, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Jeezy, and Soulja Boy. mvremix.com.
  24. ^ "drumsquadonline". Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  25. ^ a b c "Drumma Boy: "The Beats Is Like A Hustle, It's 20% Of My Mind" @DrummaboyFresh". nodfactor.com. Archived from the original on 2021-04-18. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  26. ^ Annika Allen (18 December 2014). "Young & Ambitious: Drumma Boy". flavourmag.co.uk.
  27. ^ Caramanica, Jon (December 11, 2011). "Gucci Mane, No Holds Barred". The New York Times.
  28. ^ Welcome To Dreamland. YouTube.
  29. ^ Rashaun Hall, Real Housewives of Atlanta: Kandi Burruss Archived 2010-01-23 at the Wayback Machine. November 16, 2009. essence.com.
  30. ^ Drum Squad (Feat. S. Fresh) - Dis Girl (Artist Submitted). WorldStarHipHop.com.
  31. ^ Drumma Boy – CBS News Memphis Live @ 9. CBS News.
  32. ^ Drumma Boy - FOX Good Morning Memphis. Fox News.
  33. ^ Drumma Boy Receives Two Grammy Nominations. myfoxatlanta.com.
  34. ^ "Drumma Boy Talks Working With 'Empire' Star Yazz & Why He's One of the 'Originators of Trap'". Billboard.
  35. ^ "Drumma Boy Scores Indie Film 'Blood First'". Memphis Flyer.
  36. ^ a b "Schedule". Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  37. ^ "Grammy-Winning Producer Zaytoven Joins Tracklib Creators Advisory Board". Music Connection Magazine. 2018-10-05. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  38. ^ Mikayla, Higgins. "Why Drumma Boy and his dad offer clarinet scholarships to the U of M". The Daily Memphian. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  39. ^ "Drumma Boy Discusses Not Giving Up, Originality, Importance of Social Media for Music Promotion". Lauryn Doll. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  40. ^ Kyle (November 14, 2011). "Interview: Utilizing His Strong Musical Background, Drumma Boy Plans To Take Music To The Next Level – New R&B Music, R&B Videos, R&B Interviews, R&B Concert Coverage". You Know You Got Soul. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  41. ^ "From Classical to Hip-Hop: Why Beethoven Still Inspires Me". Huffington Post. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  42. ^ Louis Goggans (May 21, 2013). "Reppin' for Memphis: Q & A with Drumma Boy". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  43. ^ Judah. "Hip Hop Production Block Rap Producers - Beats". Rap Industry. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  44. ^ Jake Rohn (2 August 2014). "Drumma Boy Talks Beats, Branding and Beethoven". BET. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  45. ^ Official 2009 SEA Results Archived 2009-05-21 at the Wayback Machine. southernentawards.com.
  46. ^ Official 2010 SEA Results Archived 2010-03-31 at the Wayback Machine. southernentawards.com.
  47. ^ ATL beat maker Drumma Boy nominated for "Producer of the Year" at Ozone Awards 2008 alongside nominees Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, T.I, Plies, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Jeezy, Soulja Boy & Andre 3000 as the classically trained musical prodigy holds chart topping singles "Put On" for Jeezy & Kanye West, "What's Up" for T.I., "Tomorrow" for Rocko and upcoming tracks for Ludacris, Akon, Monica, Nelly, Brandy, Keyshia Cole, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, Raheem Devaughn, Goapele, Dionne Farris, Keri Hilson and more. mvremix.com.
  48. ^ Drumma Boy: Next2BlowContest Archived 2009-09-07 at the Wayback Machine. yoraps.com.
  49. ^ BET Hip Hop Awards 2011: Big Winners Archived 2012-04-02 at the Wayback Machine. kmel.com.
  50. ^ "Drumma Boy's 2k14 All-Star Weekend Playlist". Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  51. ^ "The Real Young Buck on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 19 March 2015.

External links[edit]