Which artists are on your personal wish list?
N.O.R.E. I want to fuck with Ghostface, Raekwon. I want to bring my sound and do what I know I can do with rap. Obviously working with Sade was a dream and I somehow achieved that.
That’s right: Sade’s “The Moon And The Sky (Remix)” with Jay Z. How did that record come about?
Jay Z emailed me like, “Yo, I want you to do this Sade record.” That record was tough, [though]. We went back and forth and I can’t say it ended up the way I really wanted. The record had five versions—the first me and Jay were like, Whew! We did it! And then Sade was like, Yeah, you change this, you change that. Me and Jay were deflated. I kept trying and it became a dead record for five months. I went back to the table, sent it to Sade and as soon as she greenlit it I was happy that she was happy.
Many of your collaborations with other artists have come through Drake. Maybe you could be the conduit for his bucket-list collabo with Sade.
Well, I was that for Aaliyah. Aaliyah’s label Blackground—the Hankersons, her uncle and cousin—came to me and said if she was around she’d want you to do this [posthumous] project. I’ve been obsessed with Aaliyah forever, and I know Drake has his relationship with her. But that opportunity was mine. Drake said, “Can I do it with you?” and I was like, “Of course, we’ll do it together.” The world reacting to Drake’s involvement so negatively, I just wanted nothing to do with it. That was a very sad experience for me. I was naïve to the politics surrounding Aaliyah’s legacy and a bit ignorant to Timbaland’s relationship and everybody else involved and how they’d feel. Tim said to me “Don’t stop, make the album.” I think that was Tim taking the position of, “I’m not going to stop you. If you’re not going to do it, that’s your decision.” But ultimately, I wasn’t comfortable and didn’t like the stigma. We released [“Enough Said”], but I was seven songs deep. [Aaliyah’s] mother saying “I don’t want this out” was enough for me. I walked away very quickly.
Now that you and Drake have released Nothing Was The Same, where do you go next, musically?
We finally made an album we’ve been trying to make for a long time. Now that we made “that album,” which is an eclectic mix of music and genres, we can do other things, like maybe a rap or an R&B album. I don’t know what we’re going to make next, but both me and Drake are hungry to start working on it, like, yesterday. I’d love to try something different. I just don’t know if that’s going to happen—if we’ll let each other or if the world will let us.