When I was growing up, I listened to a lot of rap music. From guys like Tupac to Dr. Dre, Eminem (his early stuff of course) and Snoop Dogg I was always obsessed with the beats. The lyrics were decent, at best. I didn’t listen for the lyrics. Now, the older I get, lyrics matter more than ever before. (Don’t tell my mom, she hates this stuff!) When I met Dro Man (through Facebook actually) I was immediately impressed with his lyrics. His beats are great too. One thing that I like about his music, is his limited use of profanity. You know, the more I listen to it… I am not sure he uses any profanity at all. Regardless, that shows that a good rap artist can produce excellent music and not have to use improper language. (I try to not use profanity here on the blog, so we can relate.) I am glad that I had the chance to sit down with Dro Man, one of Indy’s hottest rap artists. Learn more about his dreams, his music, and what makes him tick from one beat to the next.
I used to be REALLY big into rap music. Not as much as I once was, but I still like to dance to it from time to time. What got you into rap music?
I come from a very tough place in life and rap was an outlet to me. I’ve literally been rappin’ since I was 9 years old. By the age of 15, my group (N.A.P. Boyz) had 2 songs on the radio, so it made this dream feel very real to me. I love to write and get things off my chest, while at the same time provide an opportunity for my family.
Where did you come up with the name Dro Man?
The name Dro Man comes from my music, my sound. My music is intoxicating, strong, and it sticks to you!. It resonates! So, Dro Man is a pun, so to speak on the quality of music he delivers.
I listen to a lot of electronic dance music. EDM is focused on bass. It seems that rap music is as well. What’s the affliction with hard-hitting bass?
It’s what makes you want to move. (Laughs) When you feel the bass in your chest, it’s a feeling like none other in music. It’s almost hypnotic and it makes people want to get on their feet and move. I’m an 808 guy myself specifically.
What speakers do you have in your car?
FACTORY! (Laughs) The police have cracked down on “booming” systems! I don’t have time to be messing with them over the sound coming out of my car. I want those new Chrysler 300s with the Beats By Dre speakers in them though. I like the sound coming out of those.
There are a TON of great rappers out there. Who are some of the best in the business right now?
To me I would say Lil Boosie, Gucci Mane (who I’ve worked with), Jeezy, and Dro Man. (Laughs) They have influenced me in my music and I feel I stand right there with them as well. Most people might say I’m crazy because I didn’t say Jay-Z or whoever their favorite lyricists is, but I’m a street guy and the music I stated is who speaks to me and reflects how I live on a day to day.
Brad Real is making his way up through the scene here in Indy. Are you familiar with his work?
S/O Brad Real, I’ve heard of him, I don’t know him specifically but we work in 2 different lanes. He has the more “hip-hop” feel to his music from what I’ve seen but it’s not to say we couldn’t cross promote, I’m always down to fuse crowds. I want my music to touch everyone.
Where are you originally from?
Far east side of Indianapolis!
Your music is extremely polished. Where did you produce all those tunes?
I actually made those in our own studio. I have some GREAT engineers on my team. Big thanks to Kaz Lil’ Daddy, Sir Hart, and St. James. They have all helped engineers my tracks to get the best quality. As far as the actual beats behind my songs it’s mostly a super producer by the name of “Swift The Gift”. We’ve known each other for a long time and he had a lot of confidence in me and my song writing ability and I had a lot of respect for his sound. Together we have created most of the music I have including my hit singles Jiggalate and Wham. He’s in Atlanta currently producing artists on Soulja Boy’s label SODMG.
Where did you guys shoot the Pelle Pelle music video?
We shot that on 38th and Franklin. It used to be a Hang time there. I am very much into showing people where I’m from and shooting videos in these locations gives them a feel on what type of person I am and where I come from. I’m very proud of that. Far eastside Stand UP! What the Trap Due?
Tell me a little bit more about Trappin for Dummies. What exactly is trappin?
Trap is a term I use with which urban youth can identify when it comes to working hard. “Trap is putting in hard work in the hustle of life”. By taking a term that has such an identity in a culture and associating it with hard work ethic in today’s times, is actually a way to encourage people to stay positive-be happy!
It seems like you have other artists in nearly every song you perform. Is there a reason to have guests like that?
Yes, because when I went solo I had it in my mind to help everybody as I got bigger. I could have just Dro Man on every song, but there are TOO many talented artists here in Nap and I want to showcase that. T-Eazy, Kaz, and Keezy are most featured because they are on my label THC Muzik/1 Hundred Ent/Starc Music. Swoe is an up and coming artist here too with his own movement, so we feature each other a lot to merge the fan bases.
Do you write all your own lyrics?
Absolutely! (Laughs) It’s my expression, my life that I want to portray. Who better to write the script than ME?
Do you prefer to produce mixtapes or full-length albums?
Mixtapes. The game has changed a lot and people are getting rich off mixtapes. I like the grind and hustle behind them. I’m totally in control of the project and when it drops, I can decide what singles I want to push and how much I want per show. It’s the independent grind.
Tell me a little bit more about THC Musik.
It’s my label. It’s something that I have been working on awhile. Shout out to Big Nate, St. James, and Sir Hart. They have taught me how to be a boss and run my own show. I’m still signed to 1 Hundred Ent for managerial purposes. But I wanted to sign myself and those around me with talent to make sure they come with me. T-Eazy is my cousin and artist on the label. We were in the group N.A.P. Boyz together and have been rapping together since we were kids. Kaz is the singer of the group and does most of my producing as well. He is magical with this music and really talented person in general. Keezy is the female element and the sex appeal. She has a lot of swag and a following so we wanted to run with that.
In one of your songs you mention Greg Oden. He is from the Hoosier state. Do you know him personally?
Don’t know him personally. Not yet anyways! (Laughs) Just showing love.
You have a few tattoos… do those hurt? I don’t have one!
Nope! (Laughs) They don’t hurt, in fact I’m looking to get a couple more.
Who is DJ Reddy Rock?
Big Shouts to DJ Reddy Rock. He is a DJ from the far east side and on WHHH 96.3. He and I really started this mixtape game here in Nap. (The NEW school anyways.) He is a Violator DJ as well as an artist on one of the first groups to sign a major deal here (Jive) named Trillogy. I respect him a lot because he works for the radio, etc. but he really is a dude that wants the streets and the underdog to win.
It looks like you are using Twitter, Facebook, MySpace… how do you keep all these social networks straight?
My Manager does! (Laughs) Stay Tuned!
What’s the biggest crowd you have ever played for?
5,000 – 96.3 Circle City Classic Concert
What about the smallest?
Coming up in the game was tough man. I’ve played for 10 people but I rocked out like it was 10,000 because I wanted them to know that no matter what Dro Man gives his all at EVERY show!
It doesn’t seem like there is a big scene for rap music here in Indiana. Do you ever perform outside the Circle City?
Yep, I’ve performed in Cincinnatti, S/O Big Heff, St. Louis, Iowa (what up DJ Commando), Chicago and Atlanta. I’m looking to go on tour in the next month so we’ll be seeing the whole midwest. So look out for me Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, Illinois, and Georgia.
So it’s all in the wrist?
Yes sir! D boys know what I’m talking about!
You recently worked with Gucci Mane. What was that like?
It was cool. He is someone that I looked up to in music and for my 1st feature to be with him was big to me. It let me know that I am reaching my goals.
What’s the best concert you have ever been to?
I’d have to say The Up in Smoke Tour! It was Legendary!
Do you have a job outside of music?
Nope. Full time Trapper. (Laughs)
You are famous for the “Ahn Hahn Yeah”. Where did that come from?
I made it up, in branding myself I wanted to make up something that a lot of people weren’t doing so I came up with my own lifestyle, language, etc.
You had some work the radio at a pretty young age. What was it like having that sort of exposure at such a young age?
It gave me a chance to grow and keep up in this business. I knew from then that someday I would break through.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In 5 years, I see myself in movies, with a label and merchandising company among other things. My main goal was to become the 1st artist out of Indiana to be a nationwide platinum selling artist. So first things first.
I know it’s a long time from now… but when this is all said and done, what is the Dro Man legacy? What do you want to be remembered for when it’s all over?
I want to be remembered for being a humble guy and someone that cared about people. When I reach where I want to be I want to give back and bring those up behind me. I want to take care of my family and their families. I want my great great great grand kids to say, “Thank you”to me for their Harvard education all because of the work I put in today.
I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Shouts to you, Ricky. Thanks a lot for exposing me to your global audience. Go check Trappin’ for Dummies 1 and 2 on datpiff.com. Big thanks to THC Muzik, 1 Hundred Ent, Stopbeefinradio, Saxx Attack, Matt Sims, Darren Bunton, and my whole staff. I want your fans to know that I am NOT your typical rapper, I really live my music and what I give to the people I do with the utmost humility. I have party music, real music, and everything in between. I’m here for the “have AND have nots” and I came from “nothing to something” with hard work, dedication, and faith in myself and God. I rep the Far Eastside of Indianapolis, but I want my music to touch the world, every genre of people out there. Shouts to all the DJs, Wrekk 1, B Swift, DJ King, DJ Ski Mask, Reddy Rock, JF the Legend, Trill Tight DJs and every DJ in the city that played my record and believed in me. Lastly, I want to thank my mom, my little brother Jalen, little sister Tay-Tay, and my family for giving me the motivation to better my situation. Look me up, Google Dro Man or Jiggalate. Ahn Hahn Yeah!