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With New York and Los Angeles as Hip-Hop’s most prized beacons, and cities like Chicago, Atlanta and more recently Toronto emerging as hotbeds, the scope of where quality music can come from has expanded. But seldom does the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia get credited for its contributions.

Comprised of the seven cities–Virginia Beach, Hampton, Norfolk, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Newport News–the area bred renowned artists like Pharrell/The Neptunes, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Teddy Riley, Jodeci’s DeGate brothers (notably DeVante Swing), and Clipse. And that’s scratching the surface.

A list of the aforementioned bunch rests among the elite class of their respective crafts, but it’s been a while since a new act from the seven cities has emerged with dominance. Thankfully, the Internets have cured our blindness, as a newcomer name D.R.A.M. (Does.Real. A$$.Music.) dropped a jaw-dropping debut project called #1EPICSUMMER. Like other artists from a generation shaped by social media and blog-influenced, the Hampton native’s style cannot be constricted into one box. Lyrically capable, but also astute when delivering fine melodies, D.R.A.M.’s draft day equivalent is a 19-year-old 6’5” combo guard who still may have some growing to do.

D.R.A.M.’s breakout track, “Cha Cha,” has gained traction on SoundCloud, and is moments away from bubbling onto other formats. In other words, it’s quite possible that he could be a special talent. Gather around the proverbial campfire and learn more about him below.

Who: D.R.A.M., a native of Hampton, VA., is rapper-singer on the rise. Crossing the water to make an impact on Norfolk’s showcase scene proved to be viable, as that would be the grounds for him to meet Gabe Niles (of Virginia soul duo, Sunny & Gabe), who would later produce the bulk of #1EPICSUMMER. As the saying goes, the rest is history.

Credentials: Though new to the scene, D.R.A.M.’s #1EPICSUMMER project has managed to catch some ears. Most notably, legendary MC and producer Q-Tip went on Twitter to sing his praises.

Fun Fact: D.R.A.M. used to record songs in a recording booth in the now-defunct Coliseum Mall in Hampton, VA.

Photo: Instagram

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