DJ Drama has admitted that he still feels horrible about removing Nicki Minaj’s verse from one of Gucci Mane’s early mixtapes.
In an interview with Bootleg Kev, Drama reflected on Gucci’s first Gangsta Grillz project, 2008’s The Movie, and said that when the 1017 rapper originally brought the tape to him, it included a verse from a then-up-and-coming Nicki Minaj.
DJ Drama decided that it was best to remove the verse because at the time, Nicki was still a largely unknown quantity. 15 years later, it’s a move that the Philly native now regrets.
“When he brought it to me, the first song on the tape, the first voice you heard on the tape was Nicki Minaj,” Drama began. “Obviously, this is an early Nicki Minaj. And disrespectfully I felt like we can’t have a Gangsta Grillz with me and Gucci and the first voice you heard not be Gucci, so I removed her verse from that song. I feel terrible to this day.”
Later that year, DJ Drama made it up to Nicki Minaj — whose burgeoning career continued to bubble — by making sure she appeared on her future Young Money boss Lil Wayne’s eagerly anticipated Dedication 3.
“But in defense, I will say that I made sure out of everyone that Nicki Minaj was on [Lil Wayne’s] Dedication 3 because Nicki Minaj was about to get left off of Dedication 3,” he added.
“She was calling me directly to say, ‘Dram, please don’t let the tape come out without me on there,’ and I said, ‘I got you.’ So Nicki Minaj is on Dedication 3 directly because I made sure she was on there.”
Nicki appeared on the mixtape’s 12th track “Still I Rise,” which borrowed its beat from T.I.‘s “No Matter What.”
Speaking of Gangsta Grillz, DJ Drama is currently hard at work on a highly-anticipated mixtape with Pusha T, and in February said the project will easily be a Grammys contender.
“The Pusha T Gangsta Grillz definitely gonna be spicy,” he told Complex on the red carpet at the 2023 Grammy Awards. “I feel like it could potentially be the next mixtape to win a Grammy.”
Pusha T and DJ Drama formally announced the mixtape in December, telling Rap Radar‘s Brian “B. Dot” Miller that the project was officially on the way. Additionally, Push spoke about the tape in an interview with XXL, calling it “special.”
“I’m working on a special mixtape,” he said, before explaining why he wanted to drop a Gangsta Grillz mixtape at this point in his career.
“To have the fun I want to have,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is restore the feeling in every aspect of this subgenre of music. And just of this cloth, of this taste level.”
He added: “I’m just trying to make people realize how viable this is. To show people that I can’t do what you do, but you definitely can’t do what I do. I have to show those differences. That’s the whole premise behind the mixtape.”
Juelz Santana and Fivio Foreign have also teased their own Gangsta Grillz projects, as have Lloyd Banks, Dave East and Vado, who are collectively known as The Council.