Mic Check: Atlanta musician/producer Drumma Boy a tsunami of activity

Atlanta producer/musician Drumma Boy created the music for a new Pepsi commercial spotlighting Black restaurant owners and also appears in the commercial for the Atlanta-grown Greenwood Bank.
Atlanta producer/musician Drumma Boy created the music for a new Pepsi commercial spotlighting Black restaurant owners and also appears in the commercial for the Atlanta-grown Greenwood Bank.

Credit: Courtesy

Credit: Courtesy

Editor’s note: With live music and concert reviews on hold due to COVID-19, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is focusing on how Georgia musicians are spending their time in our feature, Mic Check.

In a career that has produced more than 300 projects, it’s no surprise that Drumma Boy barely sleeps.

“I take naps, maybe the longest is five hours,” he said with an audible grin. “Eight hours is for growing kids, but as a grown man, three or four hours and let’s go!”

The musician/producer born Christopher Gholson is a tsunami of activity.

Last summer he produced the protest song “Burn” with record producer Zaytoven and DJ Toomp and features from Pastor Troy, David Banner, Noochie and others. A few days before its release, the Atlanta Wendy’s where police shot and killed Rayshard Brooks was burned down. The timing, Drumma Boy said, “was crazy.”

His 2020 also included an appearance in a commercial touting the arrival of the digital bank, Greenwood, the Killer Mike initiative aimed at the Black and Latino communities; producing scads of projects for artists including Noochie and Young Buck; maintaining his Howell Mill Road luxury boutique House of Fresh; and, earlier this year, scoring the Pepsi commercial “Dig In,” created in support of Black-owned restaurants around the country.

In a recent chat, the energetic Drumma Boy filled us in on his flow of projects.

Atlanta producer/musician Drumma Boy created the music for a new Pepsi commercial spotlighting Black restaurant owners and also appears in the commercial for the Atlanta-grown Greenwood Bank.
Atlanta producer/musician Drumma Boy created the music for a new Pepsi commercial spotlighting Black restaurant owners and also appears in the commercial for the Atlanta-grown Greenwood Bank.

Credit: Courtesy

Credit: Courtesy

Q: What have some of the challenges been keeping House of Fresh open this past year?

A: It’s ironically been better business than before. We started doing appointments only when COVID hit really hard and our online business really got going in different areas and cities. So when we did open for appointments, we were getting people driving in from hours away. Our after-hour business would be crazy and people felt special having the whole store to themselves. With House of Fresh, I wanted to deliver that upper echelon of a one-stop shop. Everything is so photo-driven these days, and people having content is the name of the game. Every day we’re shooting in there with professional cameras, and we put a barbershop in the store.

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Q: What brought you to the Greenwood bank initiative?

A: It was brought to me. I’m good friends with (co-founder) Ryan Glover — I worked with him through Bounce TV when I did my (2009) TV show, “Welcome to Dreamland.” Killer Mike is another great friend of mine and a pioneer of the industry and with politics as well. Great causes I’m always about. Our business (House of Fresh) is a Black-owned business, and we’re being supported by Greenwood. I’m about anything that can better the community.

Q: And the Pepsi commercial for their “Dig In” campaign?

A: When I got the call from Pepsi, they said we need something energetic that represents Black-owned restaurants. What I made was a commercial sound, but it all starts with the lower part of your hand and your knuckles (stars slapping a beat in the background). Then I took knives and started to beat with the lower part of the knife, and the snare is the metal part of the knife. It’s crazy to show that we can make music with kitchen utensils. I put together that whole beat with the Atlanta agency Ten35, and they are amazing.

Q: What music have you been listening to lately?

A: You never go wrong with the oldies but goodies, the ’60 through the ’80s. My ultimate favorite time period for hip-hop was the ’90s. I listen to country to alternative to pop. Most recently SZA and Vedo, a new R&B artist out of Atlanta. And a little Keyshia Cole and Ashanti.

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Q: You’re a Memphis native, but Atlanta has been your home base for almost 20 years. What keeps you grounded in both places?

A: I’m home all the time. I’ve had Memphis season tickets for the (Memphis) Grizzlies for six years and started the charity GroundedMemphis.com. It’s a great organization that allowed me to uplift the city emotionally. Going home, it’s always essential to be hands-on. But the business keeps me in Atlanta. The convenience of travel, the accessibility to any and everybody. Everybody’s coming to Atlanta. This is where I have my equipment, my store. When you’re valuable, they’re going to come to you wherever you are. I have a home studio. I cook in the kitchen, literally.

Q: What else are you working on?

A: Young Buck, I produced pretty much the whole project of “Back on My Buck (****) Vol. 2,” and it was such a classic that people said you’ve got to do “Volume 3.” (It arrives Feb. 26.) Looney Babie from Milwaukee, I just produced his “Swindle Season” and three songs on that project. And I’ve got “Drumma Boy and Friends” dropping this summer with Young Dolph, Gucci (Mane) and others. I’ve been working on it for two years, but I keep the music updated. I try to make timeless music. I’ve done stuff in 2010 that the world would think I did yesterday. I’m always excited to share new music.

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