"Broccoli,” the viral sensation from D.R.A.M. featuring Lil Yachty, has climbed to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. But while the MC’s debut album, Big Baby D.R.A.M., is due Oct. 21 on EMPIRE/Atlantic Records, “Broccoli” was released by surging independent distributor EMPIRE -- the company behind Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s top 40 hit “All the Way Up,” Anderson .Paak’s breakthrough LP Malibu and Kendrick Lamar’s 2011 Section.80 album.
The San Francisco-based company is the brainchild of Ghazi Shami, the 40-year-old former urban director at INgrooves who launched the company in 2010. “Labels and so-called distributors have umbilical cords to other labels or distributors; there isn’t any autonomy,” he says. “The concept was to build the modern music company that didn’t have to rely on anybody else for its success.”
That philosophy has paid off well for “All the Way Up,” which peaked at No. 27 on the Hot 100 in June and became Fat Joe’s highest-charting song in a decade. And now it’s working again for “Broccoli,” D.R.A.M.’s second hit with EMPIRE after his 2015 song “Cha Cha” went viral on Instagram, prompting Beyoncé to post a video of herself dancing along.