At the center of a monstrous year for music was D.R.A.M, the buoyant hip-hop upstart whose smash hit “Broccoli” featuring Lil Yachty soared to the top spot on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs before earning one of the biggest accolades of his career: a Grammy nomination for Best Rap/Sung Performance.
“It’s just a blessing man, I feel great,” D.R.A.M gushed to Billboard over the phone about his nod after a studio session. The Virginia-bred rhymer — who also celebrated “Broccoli” going double platinum just a few months ago — says that although the news of his nomination is still “building up inside of me,” he’s overwhelmed with joy reflecting on the past year.
“At the end of the day, it’s still a privilege to even be considered,” D.R.A.M added. When the 2017 Grammy nominees were unveiled on Tuesday morning (Dec. 6), D.R.A.M. (born Shelley Massenburg-Smith) was tucked away in a Brooklyn Airbnb when he received a call from his manager, Tunde.
“My manager calls me like, ‘Yo we’re Grammy nominated, we’re Grammy f–king nominated,'” he recalled. “The fact that a record that came just as freely and off the cusp and unexpected like ‘Broccoli,’ [a Grammy nomination] is the mountain top. It means the world to me [because] then I become a Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum selling recording artist.”
D.R.A.M released his highly-anticipated debut album Big Baby Dram back in October, an infectious 14-track set doused with giddy rhymes mixed with sweet, sweeping melodies. Even “WiFi” collaborator Erykah Badu once called the LP a merge between “George Clinton, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and D’Angelo.”
The multi-hyphenate says that while walking away with the award for Best Rap/Sung Performance in February would be “a dream come true” (he noted that he’d keep his acceptance speech “short, sweet and simple”), he’s content with his newest title and thanks God “for the strength to put in the work.”
He also shouted out his team. “My team went just as hard as me. I really feel like this summer was the key point in building up the awareness and the overall vibe for the record.” High off the success of the past year, D.R.A.M. also recalled his reaction to “Broccoli” hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Rap Songs.
“This is a big deal, I didn’t even shed my tears yet and I’m a tearjerker kind of dude,” he admitted. “I know [the tears are] coming. I still don’t think I really took it in yet.”
And how exactly does D.R.A.M plan to top his monumental year as he prepares for 2017? “The grind doesn’t stop, the load only gets heavier,” he said. “As you grow, you’re supposed to get stronger and I’m up for the task.”