Drama Enters Jail Empty-Handed, Walks Out With Album

Incarcerated for violating probation, he made the most of his time by writing his second LP, due in September.

For Drama, Causin' Drama was more than just the title of his debut album.

The Atlanta rapper was incarcerated for violating his probation shortly after the release of the album in February 2000. Although the album was eventually certified gold, Drama was unable to capitalize on the momentum he created for himself in late 1999 with his explosive underground single "Left, Right, Left," which gave a manic spin on military marches.

"You stumble, man," he said. "I stumbled, but I never fell. I did a little time, but I did something with it. I kept writing, so when I jumped out I had a whole album already done. It was just something from the past that I had to take care of, even though it was at a f---ed up time in my career, when I probably could have pushed 2, 3 million off that album."

Now gearing up for the September release of his second LP, Drama will soon be heard on the soundtrack of "Osmosis Jones," an animated feature film starring the voices of Laurence Fishburne, Chris Rock, Bill Murray, William Shatner and others. Although the soundtrack will be released August 7, Drama's single from the collection, "Big Ball," went to radio this week.

"It's a real jam, something to make you get out of your seats," Drama said of the Jazze Pha-produced song, whose video should be shot by the end of the month.

As for his forthcoming album, Drama has already recorded "On Fire" with Trick Daddy and "No I Don't Think So," a Jazze Pha-produced song in which Drama explains that he doesn't need problems from the women in his life. Another cut, "Outlaw," is about a man who lives by the gun.

Drama said he made an effort to vary the themes on his new disc. "I really picked up the pace and elevated it instead of just closing myself in with just the crunk sh--," he said. "I really switched it up and went from here to there. You've got some stuff for the Cali heads, with the slow beats with the gangster bass. For the Down South, the really nitty-gritty Dirty South, you've got the get-crunk, 'On Fire' Drama. If you're just a lyrical head, I've got one for that, too."

Although Drama was the primary producer of Causin' Drama, he used such producers as Jazze Pha and DJ Nabs on his new album.

"Everybody's got different styles, but if you heard my last album, it was really just on one style as far as the beat, the lyrics," he said. "Everything was really on one level. If it wasn't for the club, it was about bustin' somebody's head with the gat on every track. This album, I'm talking about real life issues. On the first album, I was telling you my life. On this album, I'm telling you what I've seen."

"I hope the world is ready for this," he said. "Strap on your seatbelt. This is what it's going to be about."