Young Dro: Best Thang Smokin'
True indeed, Dro (Djuan Hart) is that vet who was destined to unite with The King of the South, T.I., and his powerful Grand Hustle conglomerate. With Dros discography listing the Grand Hustle/Atlantic debut, Best Thang Smokin' (Grand Hustle/Atlantic) as his only project, the sole insert does not do him justice regarding his tumultuous rise to fame.
Using Young to head off his moniker keeps his true years of struggle and music game experience undisclosed; Dro, 27, and his family endured evictions from countless notorious housing projects throughout Atlanta (Perry Homes, Herndon Homes, Bowen Homes, Bankhead, Summerhill, Adamsville); he lugged around a colostomy bag in high school thanks to a bullet he bit while working the corners; and endured dead-end stints with music labels (although he birthed a couple of summer hits including Yes Sir in 2002).
After meeting a cat he met in a trap a few years back named Tip a.k.a. T.I., Dro reunited with The King of the South while he was being interviewed at a radio station to promote his debut album I'M SERIOUS in 2002. They later met that night at the poppin ATL club at the time, Bounce, and opened for Big Boi on his birthday night. The rest is history.
Already killin em with the southern anthem of the summer that inspires minimal dance steps but exercises the neck with serious head bob, Dro is about to drop his next single to keep the fire ablaze, Rubberband Banks. Even with the hectic schedule, Young Dro still found time to lean with www.hiphopdx.com. and talk about the best thang smokin!
HHDX: I see cats going nuts when Shoulder Lean bumps. Everyone comes out of the woodworks, hanging outta cars and doing whatever especially down in the ATL. What feeling does that give you after putting in so much work?
Young Dro: Its a good feeling when that goes down. I have been praying for this for a long time. I wrote this song and planned for this exact reaction. Thats what I wanted to happen with this record.
HHDX: You were bouncin from project to project early in life, going through a lot of instability in the home, but hanging with so many different Atlanta crews in the process. What affect has this had on your life? What were able to take from that?
Young Dro: Put it like this, throughout those bounces, the people that passed through my life were important people that showed different ways of living. Ive seen life through a lot of different angles. On the real, I kinda dug that, you know? Thats kind of why I started rappin. No matter the side of town, people would be like, I know him! I know him, too! Everybody was fucking with me, know what Im sayin? But thats just because I lived in almost every damn project, you know?! I leave a good impression on people. If I know you, I will treat you like family. I might have stayed in one spot for only a year, but when I leave, you gonna miss me.
HHDX: Since then, you got really serious about the music after getting show and everything. Talk about your transition through all the labels, signings and work you put in to finally get with T.I. and a major distributor like Atlantic.
Young Dro: I have been knowing Tip (T.I.) for a long time before all of the record deals and even back then, he was trying to get at me since day one. I went on and did my thing and he went on to do his thing. Then when he came out, thats when I noticed him and he noticed me cause I had a hit on the radio, too. I went through some bullshit; Tip left his record label and went to Atlantic. See, we always wanted to be in this situation we are in now.
HHDX: That night @ The Bounce when you opened for Big Boi that was a sign of things to come, huh?
Young Dro: Yeah, I think it was. See, I was doing my thing, but I didnt get no record deal. I just had a hot song, Yes Sir. Tip was doing his thing and I was selling and going through this and that. I come back out on [the indie label] Rocky Road and then I came on with Grand Hustle. I had differences over there [with Rocky Road] because no music was getting put out. On my album, I had Bonecrusher, Mia X, Bun B, Jazzy Pha, JuvenileCome on! I had everybody on that thang. Some shit happened, I think they didnt put no bar code on the albums or something and I had to sell em out the trunk. People dont know nuthin about that! I been had that a long time ago.
HHDX: You had all those artists and it didnt come off?
Young Dro: It caught a buzz and shit but we never did a show. It just was like, hot music and thats it!
HHDX: So what is the vibe over at Grand Hustle? Its like family, right?
Young Dro: Hell, yeah! We have been family for 13 years. Grand Hustle didnt even exist when I met Tip.
HHDX: Talk about T.I. as an executive. How is it working with him business-wise?
Young Dro: Oh, he is a serious businessperson. I think he is a stand-up guy and he surprises me all of the time. He comes up with great ideas, but he has always been like that. I see him as an artist and businessman and I see how he has progressed. I respect what he does as a man.
HHDX: And whats in the future for you, business -wise?
Young Dro: Hey, man, theres no telling what I will do in the future. I might own a couple gas stations or buy a chain of gas stations. It dont matter. Whatever I choose to invest my money into, I will be creative with it, know what Im sayin?
HHDX: Speaking of ideas, lets rap about your logo. Youve got the smiley face with no eyes. Stickers are all over the place in Atlanta
Young Dro: Ha! Its real simple. It says, Welcome! We come in peace. Its a different kind of flavor. Its me. Its Young Dro.
HHDX: Rap in the past used to go through stages where one year is the East Coasts year and then the next will be the West and so on. But with the South, it has been staying fresh for a good amount of years. Why?
Young Dro: I think it is the creativity that the South brings forth. I think its if you are good enough, then we will put you out. At the same time, you still have to fight for that spot and that makes good music come out of here.
HHDX: What direction do you want the city of Atlanta to go? What changes would you like to see happen?
Young Dro: I want to see more support. We dont support each other enough, man. I am speaking about the artists specifically. There is always a lot a punk shit going on. Theres a lot of egos in this system, man.
HHDX: Aiiight. What other rap do you bump?
Young Dro: Aw man, I jump on that Ghostface I still bump that Raekwon purple tape. All of that music was before its time, man. I also fuck with Tip of course. I am talking about that music aint nobody heard from him yet!
HHDX: Okay, I got one more for ya: Somebody gets a bag of Young Dro; what will they feel like after rolling one up?
Young Dro: [Laughing] Thats a good one! I mean, my musics so potent, man, itll get you high wit just a little bit, no what Im sayin? Im Young Dro because I am the best thang smokin, know what I mean? Anything more potent than this and you are on crack!