The city of Philadelphia has bred some of the most respected lyricists in Hip Hop. Black Thought, Cassidy, Eve, Beanie Sigel, Freeway and more have represented the city and paved the way for stars like Meek Mill, Lil Uzi Vert and Tierra Whack. As Hip Hop evolves, so did the music from the various regions across the country, and the city of brotherly love is no different. Drewboy, a fresh new face out of northern Philly, has been making waves in the local circuit with his Traphouse Bounce sound and is looking to make it a unique, definitive sound for the city.
The 22-year old has been taking rap seriously since 2018 but started rapping when he was going to an after-school program when he was a kid. By the time he was in high school, Drewboy was freestyling with ease and consistently crafting quick sets of bars while on his way to play quarterback at football games.
Eventually, he drew up enough confidence to record and post his freestyles, and it was then that the Flow God was born. In the various Instagram clips he posted, Drewboy showed he really studies the art of freestyling with the many different flows he took on. Instagram clips soon turned into live freestyling sessions on the app, and the fanbase began to grow.
After sensing things were changing for him, Drewboy took one of his most popular freestyles and reworked it into Close Friends, his first official single. The release was a smart move as everyone from Snoop Dogg to Meek Mill to record labels got in contact with the Philly rookie. Things took a huge turn when Philadelphia radio station Power 99 invited Drewboy to their yearly celebration, Powerhouse, to showcase his energetic set.
Since then, Drewboy has been hard at work, building the foundation for his proper breakout moment. He already signed a deal with Tommy Brown and his Champagne Therapy label and Team Xcluzive Entertainment via a joint venture with Island Records. After the signing, Drewboy dropped his debut project Personality in August. He even shared a hilarious moment with Rick Ross that turned into a classic Twitter gif.
Personality gives listeners an inside look into who Drewboy is. The project is just as loud and energetic as he is, and according to him, it is the perfect introduction to the leader of the Traphouse Bounce sound.
“I feel like the rap game isn’t fun anymore, and I’m showing my personality on these tracks,” he says. “I want to make music that feels good like certain things you can laugh at, certain things you can rewind. Things you can dance to. I don’t want to make songs that you can’t dance to. I want lit vibes. I want everyone to have fun.”
HipHopDX spoke more with Drewboy about his debut project, growing up in Philly,
HipHopDX: What was growing up in Philadelphia like and how did it play a role in your music?
Drewboy: I grew up kind of like everybody else in the city. You know, everybody had these little struggles going on, you feel what I’m saying? All that I went through birthed me. I always could freestyle and I liked listening to music when I was young so I did that whenever shit bothered me. I liked the flows like Twista and Busta Rhymes.
I feel like with music, if it sounds repetitive or if it sounds the same, it gets boring. So, I know that if I get bored with listening to it, I know I can’t do it, so I know I’ve got to put something in my flows, and I talk fast so I don’t know, it just was in me. Some stuff is just in you, you feel me? You can’t be taught how to rap.
HipHopDX: What made you want to study audio engineering in college?
Drewboy: I always knew I wanted to rap, so I’m like if I can get this thing unpacked and do everything on my own, in house, then I can do something. I went to school for that, and I know that I didn’t really need school for that, you feel me? But I had to start doing it. It was something I wanted to try. I wanted to go to college, that was something that I was interested in, but I couldn’t touch any equipment until my junior year, so I felt like I was wasting time. I couldn’t wait two years and then start trying to rap. So I just made the decision to leave school and just go hard with music in 2018.
HipHopDX: You were fortunate enough to have a teacher actually support your dreams of becoming a rapper. We don’t hear that all the time since teachers usually say you won’t amount to anything.
Drewboy: Well, that felt good because he was actually a teacher I had in high school and he was also my basketball coach. I came to him with it and at first, I asked him to manage me because that was a person I knew at the time that knew about music. He told me I needed to do something that catches people’s attention. He told me to drop a freestyle on one day of the week and I picked Monday, the start of the week because nobody was doing it at the time. He told me that I didn’t really need school for this. He said “If you want to do it, then do it. Everybody’s going to tell you, you need school, but I’m going to tell you what it really is.” It felt good because a lot of teachers when you say you want to rap, everybody looks at you like you slow.
HipHopDX: How’d you discover Hip Hop on your own and who were some of the artists you were listening to growing up?
Drewboy: I discovered Hip Hop by watching rap battles, old rap battles in the neighborhood, and online. I’ve been into battle rap, seriously, since like the ninth grade. When I heard certain stuff or certain bars, I’m like, “Damn, how you think of that?” You feel what I’m saying? That made me think I can go on and really write and get my bars down, and I always liked to geek. I heard the old Philly rappers, how they flow, how they rap, how they talk, and I just incorporated the old with the new. I got some features from the old-school rap to the new school of rap, and I just put it in one. I don’t know. It’s just me, though.
HipHopDX: If there was a Philly battle rapper that you could go toe to toe with and really test your rhymes with, who would it be and why?
Drewboy: Philly battle rapper? I would say the old Tech9. He threw a lot of jokes in his raps, a lot of stuff that would make you laugh. It’s the same thing, we’re both animated. I feel like that’d be a crazy matchup. I feel like Tech9 would’ve been somebody I wanted to battle. I would also say Philly battle rap made me want to start rapping because I could only really explain myself through music. I think Philly battle rap really made me excited about rap because it’s really like a sport, you feel me?
HipHopDX: Your music doesn’t really sound like traditional Philly Hip Hop. What type of Philly music are you trying to bring forth?
Drewboy: It’s a trap house bounce. I can still give them the hood feel with the songs, but put a little bounce to it. A little more energy and a little more excitement that makes you want to hear it. The way I make my music, I just hear certain things in my head and there’s certain stuff you can’t explain. You feel what I’m saying? But I like the feeling of it because when you think of Philly you think of a dark place. I want to brighten that feeling like yeah they’re lit over there in Philly. They not just all about killing, they can be lit. And that’s the vibe I want people to feel.
HipHopDX: You had Rick Ross vibing to that Traphouse Bounce. It’s safe to say you’re responsible for that gif of him dancing in a studio that blew up on social media. How did that happen?
Drewboy: That day he was at Cozmic Cat and he had just released his tape. The people that I was working with were the ones that were paying for the show Ross was going to be at that night. It was a coincidence that we were working together so they told me to come down to the Cozmic Cat. When we went down there he was on the air and once he got off three minutes after that he turned around like, what’s up, how y’all doing? Then he saw Dree, he was like, oh you look familiar. He looked at me and was like, yo, y’all the two that be doing the freestyle videos. He wanted to see it in person so he said to play my music.
He got his phone but the room we were in didn’t have any audio, so we had to go a different room. But that room we were in was smaller so that’s how he got next to me, you feel what I’m saying? So now that’s why we were in that little room with little tight space. Which was good, cause that got him next to me and that made him vibe even more. So when he turned it on, we doing our thing, doing “Close Friends” and we look over and he’s dancing in his own little world. So we start dancing with him and now he’s sliding over in the joint, and he’s just going crazy. He just in this tiny room, he was doing everything. I’m like yeah, that was heavy because everybody was like, yeah we never seen Ross dance like that.
HipHopDX: What was the conversation like after that moment you two shared? A lot of people thought you signed to MMG.
Drewboy: He was telling us to keep it up. He was like “your guy is different, your vibe just feels fresh. Nobody doing that.” Then he told us to come to Noto to perform that night. I went and we were in the same section, I performed and all that. But I don’t know about those rumors. People say anything when they see you with other people. They come out, rumors. We were just talking at that time. I never really signed to him or ever really talked about it.
HipHopDX: Let’s talk about your debut project Personality. How did you want to approach it with this being your debut and was it everything you’d hope it would be?
Drewboy: I just wanted to give them the vibes. Basically that the vibes are still lit. It was more of a simple tape, a simple project. But, how can I say this, there’s more to come. I don’t stop and I’m not going to settle on it. I want to keep going. It was everything I’d hope it would be but I would have put other songs on it but you know how clearances go. That’s why you and I got to wait, you feel me?
HipHopDX: I noticed at the end of the album you changed gears with “Over.” You put listeners on a wild ride for close to 20 minutes then flip the switch on them. Why do that?
Drewboy: I did that to let them know it’s a lot more in store. Don’t think I can just do that. I also ended the album that way because, after this, that’s what I’m on. It’s time for the actual songs to drop. Put yourself together because I can make songs. I can make a rap like I made on the tape for 15 minutes. All I’m doing is going out with four eight bars, easy, and then I’m just rapping. When I really critique my song for my penned work it’s a whole different story.
HipHopDX: Would you prefer making the turn-up records, or the more emotional, softer records like “Over” was?
Drewboy: I would prefer to make the turn-up records, only on the strength of performing-wise. It keeps the crowd rocking. The slower songs and the emotional songs, not even just emotional songs, but, the slower songs, they got more meaning to it. They cool for when you vibing out though. You might be on the vibe to something smooth. That’s why I got both and I can do both. My next project is going to be all types of stuff, and they’re going to really see the real me.
HipHopDX: What’s in store for the next project?
Drewboy: I’m definitely writing more. I’m getting it back to where people really hear me. On Personality, you don’t really know who I am, you just know how turnt up I am. This one is going to be more of my feelings, all types of stuff. Actually, I don’t want to give you too much, man. I want you just to wait because you’re going to see it. You’re going to think that boy is something else.
HipHopDX: How are you trying to change Hip Hop in a way that hasn’t been done before?
Drewboy: I want Hip Hop to go back to performing. Like Michael Jackson and them. I want to perform so well to where if you’re not performing like that or better, I don’t even want to come to your show. So I want everybody to come to see me. I been to shows that a lot of people get excited off of, as a fan of somebody, or supporter, how you want to say it. I want them to be that lit for me. I can rap and I can perform, so I got everything I want. How can I lose?
Checkout more Drewboy content here and here. His latest project, Personality, can be streamed below.