Performing May 18
The best hip-hop, like any other fine art, is a byproduct of dedication to craft. There's simply no replacement for putting in the time and energy it takes to represent the culture properly. At only 19 years young, Driicky Graham knows this as well as anyone. In the early 90's, a three year-old Graham co-starred in the video for Lord's of The Underground's "Tic Toc," a baby with a mouth full of silver fronts, rapping along to DoItAll's verse. "Since I was a baby, Biggie, 2pac, it's always been in the car," Graham says. He's had the luxury of growing up in an era where hip hop was omnipresent, but Graham has utilized what so many took for granted to harness a talent he was destined to share with world.
Driicky Graham remembers first taking rapping seriously as a freshman in high school. Splitting his formative years between Oxford, North Carolina and Newark, New Jersey, he's well familiar with the highs and lows of both city life and the country. He mines these very opposite experiences for a deeper connection with the dedicated fan-base he's already grown in the short time since he began distributing music on social networks like Twitter and YouTube.
Though Graham will claim not to have "a style," nothing could be further from the truth. He has style in abundance, a mix of dazzling technical skill and the contagious enthusiasm of someone who can't help being the life of the party. In fact, he believes this duality to be the answer to the industry's problems at large. "It's not enough balance in our culture these days," Graham says. "It's either a really hot track and somebody who's not really saying anything or we have those who say a whole lot but can't get their point across because it's not entertaining enough for the audience. I'm doing my best to provide the balance." So far he's gotten a chance to share that vision on tour with 106 and Park mainstays like Dorrough, the Party Boyz, as well as taking part in a marquee showcases put together by legendary producer (and mentor to Kanye West), No ID.
Currently finishing up his debut mixtape, Graham has been in the studio with doll faced Miami singer Mia Rey and legendary Three 6 Mafia producer Juicy J, but a simple YouTube search will give you the best idea of the young prodigy's ability. There, you can watch an emotional Graham speaking to his father in rhyme while defending single mothers everywhere with a heart-wrenching response to Memphis artist Don Trip's underground hit, "Letter To My Son." A few more clicks through his page will lead you to "Flash The Cash" a club-killing duet with ATL's first lady of rap, Diamond. "It's all about pieces of me at times," Driicky says. "I want it to be pain, fun, anger, all the emotions." It's a tall order for sure, becoming something of a hip-hop hero, but it's a role Graham shouldn't be too unfamiliar with. After all, he's been holding it down since he was in diapers.