On January 15, 1979, Young Dro was born D’Juan Hart in Bankhead, a neighborhood on Atlanta’s west side. His inspiration for wanting to rap came from the success of one of his best friends, Chris “Daddy Mack” Smith, one half of Kris Kross. Musically speaking however, Goodie Mob—also west Atlanta natives—had the biggest impact on him.
Hart embarked on his professional career around 1999 when he signed to bass music rapper Raheem the Dream’s local Atlanta label, Tight 4 Life, under the moniker Dro. He released the regional hit “Yes Sir”, and an album titled I Got That Dro, around the same time T.I. released his debut, I’m Serious. Although Hart had known T.I. since the early ’90s, they grew apart for some time. In 2004, Young Dro signed a recording contract with T.I.’s label imprint, Grand Hustle. Young Dro released his commercial debut single “Shoulder Lean”, in the summer of 2006. The song had heavy rotation on BET and MTV2, and its cellular phone ringtone sold over 500,000 units. The hit single was featured on his major-label debut Best Thang Smokin’, released on August 29, 2006. The album debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart.