%cD.R.A.M.% is a rapper, singer and producer best known for his 2016 summer hit "Broccoli". He was born Shelley Marshaun Massenburg-Smith in Germany, but spent his childhood in Hampton, Virginia, which he admitted wasn't a place for experimentation.
"Hampton was never really big on supporting open-mindedness," he told Noisey. "It's really old-fashioned here. It's like one of the first cities in America, so people are really big on values, and there's not much ethnic diversity. Everybody knows everybody." Because of that, D.R.A.M. spent the majority of his time in neighboring Norfolk, which according to him is "the place to be if you're into music."
D.R.A.M. grew up listening to various kinds of music. "I stayed with my grandparents a lot growing up and they went to church all the time," he explained. "I sang on the choir. My mom had a little gospel group when I was growing up too. But outside of church, I was just on soul music heavy. People like %cAl Green%, or those songs that you automatically know but never know whose song it is."
He started writing raps when he was in eighth grade, but things got more serious in 2005, his senior year in high school. He was asked to come to the now-defunct Coliseum Mall in Hampton with his rap verses. He and his pal Key then created a song at a recording booth inside the mall, and managed to impressed the recording studio's owner Soul.
From 2005 to 2009, he worked at call centers and tried out a year at Kentucky State University before going back to music. He released his debut mixtape, "#1EPICSUMMER", in 2014. It featured the single "Cha Cha" which became a regional hit. In the following year, he reached national success when Cleveland R&B radio station Z 107.9 FM began playing the track as their "weekend warmer," a campaign that eventually reached %cBeyonce Knowles%, who shared a video of her own version of the track. With Queen Bey's co-sign, "Cha Cha" was re-released that year while "#1Epic" reappeared as an EP, aptly titled "#1Epic EP".
Following the success of "Cha Cha", D.R.A.M. released another mixtape titled "Gahdamn!" in October 2015. Months later, he scored another hit with the %cLil' Yachty%-assisted "Broccoli". The song has been climbing up the charts in the U.S. and has peaked at No. 8 on Billboard Hot 100 and at No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.