For the past few months, artists from Lil Wayne to the Clipse to T.I. have been weighing in on DJ Drama's January arrest for running what the Recording Industry Association of America considered an organized-crime ring.
Now more MCs are talking about the bust (see "DJ Drama Arrested In Atlanta Mixtape Raid"), but this time, they're speaking out in a song: "Takin' Pictures." The track — which features T.I., Young Jeezy, Young Buck, Rick Ross, Jim Jones and Willie the Kid, and will be released on Drama's own Aphilliate Music Group — is the lead offering from the upcoming Gangsta Grillz album, due May 15.
" 'Takin' Pictures' is a monumental moment for me," Drama told MTV News. "I have been saying for over a year that this album was bigger than me, and at the time I didn't even realize how much bigger. This song is dedicated to anyone and everyone who has overcome any trial, tribulation, hardship or struggle. What doesn't stop you only makes you stronger. I'm glad that I was able to come out with a song that has purpose instead of just something to try to get some spins. My role in hip-hop is important now, and it was vital for me to stand strong to show everyone who loves hip-hop that we can't be stopped."
So who's behind the snapshots mentioned in the song? Definitely not the paparazzi or fans wanting to capture the moment of seeing their favorite rappers — it's federal agents. "Feds takin' pictures" is the phrase repeated in the song's hook, and on one of the verses, Jeezy raps, "Feds takin' pictures on me/ N---as still snitchin' on me."
Successful hip-hop producer Dame Grease (Cam'ron, the LOX, DMX, Mase, Nas) produced the track, and as Drama tells it, the record was originally supposed to be the lead cut from Willie the Kid's debut. Willie came up with the concept after Drama and his partner Don Cannon were arrested and their offices were raided (see "What's Next For The Mixtape World After DJ Drama Raid?"). But everyone in Drama's camp agreed it was the perfect single to lead off the official Gangsta Grillz album.
"I immediately reached out to everyone on the song and made a movie to show them the vision," Drama said.
The DJ's pull in hip-hop hasn't been a question in hip-hop circles for the past few years. Just about every big name has been featured on his Gangsta Grillz mixtape series, and on the official Gangsta Grillz album, it's no different. To name a few, Outkast, Lil Wayne, Beanie Sigel, Cassidy, Project Pat, 8ball & MJG, Paul Wall, Pharrell Williams, the Clipse, Young Lloyd, Yung Joc, the LOX, Trick Daddy and the late Soulja Slim are all featured on the project.