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Creator of trap sound takes movement beyond music

Ryan Dennis

Published: 2/20/2017 8:46:04 PM
Updated: 12:07 PM EST November 10, 2017

Christopher James Gholson, popularly known as Drumma Boy, faced the music after his parents got divorced and continued to grow up under two separate roofs.

“My mom would wake up cooking and cleaning. I might hear Earth, Wind and Fire, The Temptations, Issac Hayes, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin,” he said. “With my dad I’m hearing scales, and classic music.”

With mom’s busy schedule as an opera singer, Gholson stayed home alone. When he was with dad, a first chair clarinetist with the Memphis Orchestra, he had a strict learning regime hardening his skills as a musician.

The balance of growing under his parents and being raised in Memphis couldn’t keep him out of trouble, but the influence of his older brother did. Mom brought Gholson his first keyboard and looked forward to keeping her son out of the unpredictable streets of Memphis, TN.

Like all musicians, Gholson discovered the sounds in the key of his own life. Producers like DJ Squeeky, Jazze Pha, Carlos Broady, Slicse T and Quincy Jones became the influencers of his early career in music starting at age 13. Gholson introduced his skills while in school making beats for his classmates during freestyle cyphers.

His grandmother called him Drummer Boy inspired from the classic Christmas carol that she taught over the years.

The day came when Drumma had to get a paying gig at 16, but it wasn’t the start the teen had in mind. He began working at a shoe store. During his hours of employment at Just for Feet, he met Author Sydney.

“I know you’re not going to just sell shoes all of your life,” Sydney said. Drumma assured his co-worker that his sights was set on shaping the next generation of the music industry.

“I’m gonna make beats, “he said. Sydney challenged Gholson hear some of the music he was working on.

The next day, Drumma played his instrumentals over a cassette tape while doing inventory at work.

“I just pressed play. One person comes in, another person comes in, next thing you know everybody who worked there is in the back listening to my beats.”

With the whole staff in the back of the store, Drumma recalled his manager telling everyone to come out and get back to business. When it was time for Drumma to go back out, his manager couldn’t help but compliment the rapper’s fresh trap sound.

The response of everyone at the store was that his talent fit the industry “like an ornament on a Christmas tree.”

Being one of the originators of the ever growing trap sound, Drumma said he is still surprised to hear the genre that he helped create on a global scale.

“When I was coming up, everybody was playing basketball and you still have people that are doing that. But now, there are so many more people that want to do music….when I went to Germany, Russia, or other countries they are making beats that have that sound. They recognize that beat but they don’t know that is done by me.”

“Trap music came from the abandoned house, hoods, and projects” Drumma said. “Before then, we had Birdman and 36 Mafia and Jay Prince, but it was a suave energy, and in Memphis it was about getting crunk. Atlanta’s Lil Jon made crunk universal. Trap came after.”

The trap movement went crazy after Drumma produced successful hits for rappers including Young Jeezy and Yo Gotti.

“Regardless of where we came from, regardless of what we do, we can still make it. We learned how to motivate people in a massive way.” Drumma said.

The Grammy nominated producer has recently been in the studio with Wale, Keyshia Cole, Akon, Yo Gotti, Hurricane Chris, and so many others. He produced Gucci’s first single post-jail called “All My Children”

Drumma Boy, Photo: Ryan J. Dennis/ 11Alive

With the wave a trap music influencing hip hop, Drumma decided to take his career to the next level. He is an entrepreneur building an empire in the realm of technology, fashion, and comics, just to name a few.

His clothing line Fresh Phamily represents all things high-end, urban and the lines are uniquely designed for consumers of all ages. The lifestyle-clothing collection is a brand for men, women and kids headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

Drumma has also partnered with award winning sparkling wine Moreno. But no deed is complete without giving back; Drumma Boy takes pride and giving back to communities helping the next generation of leaders.

“Being prepared for opportunities to come is success to me,” Drumma told 11Alive. I never had a moment where I’ve feel like I’ve made it. I’m making it. I’m only at a point of making it in life. How can you make and you’re still alive? You still have to make going.”

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