D.R.A.M. On Loving Gucci Loafers & Working at Best Buy Before He Was Famous

We walked his dog at Coachella and talked The Sound of Music (plus, how he keeps his energy up).

By: Samantha Sutton
Photography: Jake Rosenberg

Arriving in style—pink joggers, Gucci loafers, an equally well-dressed goldendoodle, Idnit, by his side—hip-hop artist D.R.A.M. seemed on top of the world. And, perhaps, he was: the musician was still celebrating his first major Coachella performance from the night before—another milestone met after his hit song, “Broccoli,” went five-times platinum—and while the rest of Palm Springs likely slept in that Saturday, he was wired. D.R.A.M. seemed ready to take on the day, along with whatever else the world had to offer (and honestly, it was infectious).

As we walked down the road outside his hotel—sun blazing, heat rising—we wanted—no, needed—to hear everything. How did it feel out there, in front that crazy festival crowd? What was coming up next (aside from his new song, “Gilligan,” with A$AP Rocky and Juicy J)? And hey, wasn’t he working at Best Buy before making it big? Luckily, D.R.A.M. was more than happy to answer our questions....and sing a little something from The Sound of Music, too. 

What it was like performing at Coachella:

“I was [at Coachella] last year, when Snakehips brought me out to sing ‘Cha Cha,’ but this was my moment. It was one of those career-defining moments, like, damn. I didn’t expect to do Coachella this year, so the fact that I’m doing it, in this style? There was already such a hype-ness that was built up in me, but to just go out there and see everybody, it was just incredible.”

How he prepared for the performance:

“Little vocal warm-ups, sip my tea. We practice amongst each other as a band beforehand, so we do a little here, a little there. Then everything comes together.”

On his five-time platinum song, “Broccoli”:

“Everybody is listening to it, and I can’t complain. It’s that trappy-go-lucky vibe, man. You know what I’m saying? That Big Baby sound. Once you hear that sound, you’re right back up in it again, man.”

His process for creating songs:

“I let the beat talk to me. I try to figure out what I can say back to it, then we form our own little language.”

Who he’s inspired by:

“Top of the pyramid is George Clinton and the P Funk wave, then it’s like Leo Soul and Big Band, ’80s ballads—all of that shit. I love musicals.”

His favorite musical:

The Sound of Music. [sings] The hills are alive with the sound of music!”

If he would ever do a live musical:

“Yeah! Why not?”

On his dog, Idnit (which stands for "Idnit So Cute":


“He’s like a little me. He acts a lot like me because he be chill and shit, but then when he wants his way, he wants it. And he gets it.”

How he describes his style:

“It’s loose, it’s plush, it’s Big Baby. As long as I feel good, then I’m going to look good. You gotta sell it first, you feel me? If I don’t sell it to myself in the mirror, I can’t sell it to the rest of the world, so I just got to sell it first. Are you going to buy it? I can look in your eyes, and you already bought it.”

How he keeps his energy up:

“I’ll be on that natural high, and then when it ain’t natural no more, make sure it’s the right one [laughs].”

What it was like growing up in Virginia:

“It’s pretty much like, not too fast, not too slow, a lot of times not slow enough. That’s Virginia in a nutshell.”

On working at Best Buy before becoming famous:

“That was my last job before I took this on, and it became my bill payer. I told my manager—I pointed to his face—and I told him I’d be a multi-millionaire, because he tried to make a little joke out of me or whatever. He chuckled off and didn’t believe it, but it’s kind of cute now [laughs].”

His goal for the next year or so:

“Just to continue to keep the wheels turning, build the brand of Big Baby D.R.A.M. Look out for me in queen Badu’s project that’s coming out soon. I’ll be on the road and on tour, all of that. And I’m very excited for that.”

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