The Virginia singer will appear at Neumos in Seattle as part of Google’s “GOODfest” series of livestreamed benefit shows in various cities.
Virginia rapper/singer D.R.A.M. — performing at Neumos in Seattle on Monday, Dec. 12 — avoided becoming a one-hit wonder in 2016 by releasing a great debut studio album carried by an even bigger hit single.
His album “Big Baby D.R.A.M.” is a full realization of the German-born, Hampton, Va.-raised artist’s self-described “trappy-go-lucky” blend of bright R&B-esque crooning and singsong rapping over melodic, hard-hitting beats. Its cartoonish lead single “Broccoli,” featuring another one of 2016’s breakout artists in Atlanta’s bubblegum-trap teen sensation Lil Yachty, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B/hip-hop chart and gained nationwide radio play that carried it to a double-platinum certification.
When D.R.A.M. made his Seattle debut last November, opening for Chicago’s Chance the Rapper at the Paramount Theatre, he was mostly known for his giddy, Super Mario World-sampling breakout single “Cha Cha.” Though it was first released on his debut mixtape “#1EpicSummer” the previous November, it became a widespread success the following year, landing him a deal with Atlantic Records and officially rereleasing it on the now major-label-certified “#1EpicEP.”
Part of Google’s “GOODfest” series, 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12, Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $35 (206-709-9442 or neumos.com).
On one of “#1EpicSummer’s” tracks that didn’t make the EP, “#1EPICRANT (Ode To The Struggle Rappers),” D.R.A.M. seems to predict the “Cha Cha” frenzy. Over the phone from a tour stop in L.A., he said that it was intentional:
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“I was literally speaking that into existence,” he said. “We already knew what was going down to be honest … We had this feeling that once we let it out into the world, it was gonna go crazy.”
The runaway success of “Broccoli,” however, was a surprise to everyone.
“We had no idea it was gonna do that, but we’re definitely not angry about it,” D.R.A.M. said.
“I just thought it was gonna be something cool for SoundCloud, for Twitter to talk about, for the kids to listen to … but it exploded. When radio finally got wind of it, even if they were indifferent about the record, the research, stats and people showed … it was the people’s record.”
Monday’s show is part of GOOD Inc. and Google’s “GOODfest” series of livestreamed benefit shows in different cities. Seattle’s installment is the “Earth” edition, and proceeds of ticket sales will go to climate-justice organization 350 Seattle. Local Grammy-nominated vocalist Hollis Wong-Wear is hosting the event and performing a short set with her electro-R&B group The Flavr Blue, with The Seattle Rock Orchestra backing both theirs and D.R.A.M.’s performances.