Grammy award-winning DJ turned record executive, DJ Drama, visited the Howard University School of Business on Tuesday, March 21 and spoke with students about how he shifted from a struggling college student to record label owner.
While traveling through the nation’s capital to promote his new album “I’m Really Like that,” Drama, also known as Tyree Simmons, stopped by The Warner Music Blavatnik Center for Music Business Education. He encouraged students to devote time to their dreams and foster meaningful relationships with their peers while in college. The platinum-selling artist who is also an HBCU alumnus from Clark Atlanta University, emphasized that the friends he made while attending Clark Atlanta became his business partners for his record label “Generation Now.”
“The people in this room right now, the bonds that you make are the ones that are going to be key later in life, literally my friends from college are my business partners in starting a multimillion-dollar label,” Simmons said.
The center buzzed with chaotic energy as groups of students swarmed the center with eagerness to meet the legendary DJ. Students of various majors gathered together to get a taste of wisdom Simmons offered regarding the music industry.
Naquel Perry Jr., sophomore accounting major, political science minor, from Hampton, New Jersey, described the opportunity to meet Simmons as an invaluable experience.
“The DJ Drama visit was insane, it was really surreal,” said Perry. “I’m an old head, I know ‘Gangsta Grillz,’ I know ‘Headbussas’ I know a lot of DJ Drama projects, so it was really cool being able to be here in his presence, get some career advice and being able to network with him afterward,” he said.
Simmons also reminisced on the journey he and his college friends made throughout the years and turning their dreams into reality. Going from struggling college students to making “seven, eight, and nine figure deals” as Simmons puts it, represents the power of having great work ethic and connections.
Simmons gained notoriety in the early 2000s for his popular mixtape series “Gangsta Grillz.” In 2015, he co-founded the record label “Generation Now” alongside producer and fellow Clark alumnus, Don Cannon. The label is home to famous artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, Jack Harlow and Killumantii who also appeared on Howard’s campus in November of 2022.
The anticipated album, ‘I’m Really Like That” will feature notable artists like Tyler, the Creator, Freddie Gibbs, a posthumous track from Nipsey Hussle, and more and is scheduled to be released on March 31.
Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee