Jeezy’s new album “Pressure,” released Friday, has some of the biggest names in the business as cameo guests, including Kendrick Lamar and Puff Daddy – and also some solid North Carolina content.
Along with Fayetteville’s J. Cole guesting with Lamar on lead single “American Dream,” the album has two tracks produced by Durham native Gerran “Gotti Rock Solid” Adams.
“Pressure” is the eighth full-length studio album by Jeezy (formerly Young Jeezy), who has two platinum and gold albums to his credit and also hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart last year with “Trap or Die 3.”
The national attention should take Adams, who has mostly worked with independent artists, a long way.
“This is definitely my biggest placement, by far,” Adams, 31, said Friday as Jeezy was trending on Twitter. He lives in Greensboro now, working as an engineer at a recording studio.
“As far as business and contracts and all that, it was the most intense process I’ve been through,” he said. “I work with a lot of indie talent, helping them develop and learn how to record. Making a globally released album puts it in perspective about what really goes into the process.”
Adams, a 2004 graduate from Durham School of the Arts, played in the marching band there as well as at NC Central. He has spent the past decade on the studio hustle, producing tracks for hip-hop and R&B acts around Eastern North Carolina.
I’m blessed to have a very supportive family, but there was a lot of talk about how ‘You need to get a real job’ over the years. This is what I was meant to do.
Gerran ‘Gotti Rock Solid’ Adams.
His first big break came about seven years ago, when Jeezy’s management put out a call for beats on Twitter. Adams sent in a few, one of which made the cut. He got the news one night while in the studio with another artist.
“He called, played the record on the phone, and it just so happened it was the same beat we were recording on that night,” Adams said. “ ‘Hey,’ I said to everybody, ‘This is Jeezy. We’ll figure something else out. But this beat is pretty much a done deal.’ ”
That beat became the music to “Grape,” a song on Jeezy’s 2010 mixtape “Trap or Die 2.” Adams kept in touch with Jeezy’s representatives and submitted a number of beats at the beginning of this year, when Jeezy was assembling material for “Pressure.” By the time the album was released, he had production credits on two songs, “In a Major Way” and “Respect.”
“You kinda have to get lucky,” he said. “So many people are doing this, trying to make it. So you’re in this big wide sea of people sending in stuff, hoping you’ll get noticed.”
Meantime, he’s working with other acts including Grammy-nominated R&B singer Anthony Hamilton, Hamilton’s backup group The Hamiltones and Fantasia’s brother, Ricco Barrino. And there might be a nice payday coming, depending on how “Pressure” sells.
“Yeah, it will be one of my biggest paydays,” Adams said. “Finally! I’m blessed to have a very supportive family, but there was a lot of talk about how ‘You need to get a real job’ over the years. I fought through that, never gave up. This is what I was meant to do.”