40-drake-pharell-vibe

Drake's Producer Noah "40" Shebib Explains How They Created Their Sound and Most Personal Records

With all talks of Take Care’s leak aside, Drake’s second full-length album can't come any sooner. The reason Take Care is so sonically pleasing, filled with warm and deep spiritual remnants of R&B, is this partnership between Drake and his producer, Noah "40" Shebib. His blueprint is all over the album, crafting a sound that is dramatic, moody, and somber for Drake to paint clever pictures of his life. 40 to Drake is like Young Guru to Jay-Z; an engineer/producer/rapper combo that doesn’t quit at making immaculate music.

In an recent interview with GQ, the 28-year-old from Toronto reveals the backstories on some of Drake’s most famed and personal songs, as well as sharing classic tastes in R&B.  A close friend and responsible for one-half of Drizzy’s music, 40 also reveals their first meeting and introducing his sound to him.  --Eric Diep

When the two initially connected musically:

Good call, what was the Aha moment? We musically connected first with R&B. So, it was a couple years we had worked together and I think when he started venturing into R&B, the first one was "Brand New" which I didn't actually write, D10 wrote the beat for it, but I worked heavily with them and helped him produce the record. As far as me and Drake were concerned, we started experimenting with other songs that were very R&B. I think, you know, "Successful" was the most significant turning point where he took one of my beats and worked on it, and that as well as the Shoe Still in a Vegas moment where we discovered that sound, that abstract world we were taking rap music to, between me and him, and that was all pretty transparent. The crazy thing about Drake's career is it happens quickly. "The Motto," a new single he leaked on the Internet, I finished mixing 48 hours ago. That song was created last weekend. The immediacy of how fast we create the music and it goes to the world, that's never happened before, ever. That's the result of technology. There's a transparency there where as soon as we discover the sound, the rest of the world heard it. It happened very quickly. The timeline is laid out in the releases.

Sharing similar tastes in R&B influences:  Noah "40" Shebib: 

I could go on forever, you know? I had a very distinct taste for R&B music, growing up listening to it my entire life and I love producing it first and foremost. It was everything from SWV and Jon B to Silk and Playa and any you could possibly think of. Even Tank, that intro off Sex, Love, and Pain, that kind of slow R&B vibe that lasts, somehow a line came out of "Best I Ever Had." We're always surrounding ourselves with music like that. Even on Take Care you'll see a lot of '90s R&B samples, you know? A lot of different artists from the R&B world of the '90s—we're trying to keep that prominent, like the last album with the Aaliyah stuff. I've been an Aaliyah fan since I was a kid—me and my sister—so that stuff comes up as well. That Timbaland/Ginuwine era, too.

The point 40 introduced his sound to Drake: 

 We star ted working together strictly on an engineer/artist basis. I didn't step forward with my stuff for a very long time. We'd dabble here and there, but that wasn't my place. What happened for me was I didn't know what—I was tired of hearing a Jermaine Dupri record and going home and trying to make a beat like that and make it as good and not understand why I [wasn't] a successful producer. I think you'll find that in a lot of people's emotional reactions to the industry, if you have talent and are good at what you do. At some point I stopped producing and focused on engineering before I met Drake because I like the technical aspect of it and being hands-on and the recording and mixing and electrical engineering behind it, like the mathematics. I focused on that. It came to a point where Drake, in summer of 2008, while working on Thank Me Later, which became So Far Gone, but by September we decided let's make a mixtape and we turned it into So Far Gone between January and December of 2009. That summer, 2008, when we were working on the beginnings of the album-to-be, he was looking for producers and he looked so far and so wide. We must have been listening to thousands of records with him trying to find the answer. Of course, nobody had the answers and we'd come back to the drawing board. And at the end of the day, it was us sitting there, going What do we do next? After a while, I had just said no so many times, there was one option left. I knew what I had to make. I had seen him say no to so many people, there was only one thing left he could say yes to. He said no to everything else in existence. So I started making that one thing that no one else had played yet, and that ended up being So Far Gone.

The story about creating “The Calm” off So Far Gone:  

He rapped that story out a couple times. Lyrics can be interpreted as you want, but his life is transparent through his lyrics, and it's pretty brutally honest and it's scary how much is there. He explained the story a couple times, briefly about this album. It was a crazy, crazy night. That was when we were living in an apartment building in Toronto, downtown, Apartment 1503 15 Fort York Boulevard. He says 1503, two couches and paintings, and he goes on to talk about that apartment where we did all that music, on the new album. He was distraught one night and showed up with $1,000 worth of champagne and I'm cussing at him because we're all broke and trying to make this shit work! Meanwhile, he's renting Phantoms and shit. It's all documented. He shows up with all the liquor and he's drinking and we're trying to start working and he gets into a real argument with his uncle, and he went out on the balcony and started yelling at his uncle and I'd never seen him that distraught or emotionally beat up about something. He just came back in the room and said, I need to rap. Make me something. In 45 minutes, I made "The Calm" and he wrote those bars as I made the beat. Over the next five or six hours, that record unfolded in its entirety.


(Read the full interview at GQ)

From the Web

More on Vibe

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

LeBron James Announced As A&R Of 2 Chainz's 'Rap Or Go To The League' Album

When he's not on the court, LeBron James spends his time posting videos of him vibing out to some of rap's most recent singles. Now, he's taking his ear for standout cuts a step further by becoming the A&R for 2 Chainz's forthcoming album.

On Mar. 1, the Atlanta native's Rap Or Go To The League project will hit streaming services and music store shelves after being teased for some time. "It's been quite the journey to get here," the "Spend It" rapper wrote on Twitter Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 19). "All night studio sessions, reflecting, & opening up on these records or as I call it therapy! This is my each one teach one body of work, I wanna celebrate black excellence!"

An Apple Music documentary will also accompany the album's debut. In a 60-second teaser, viewers witness Chainz and James in the studio discussing the possibility of a deluxe album and selecting guest artists for features. Rap Or Go To The League is Chainz's fifth studio album, what's being described as "his most personal, most lyrical, most soulful to date."

The soundscape arrives after Chainz released two EPs last year: The Play Don't Care Who Makes It and Hot Wings Are A Girl's Best Friend.

It’s been quite the journey to get here. All night studio sessions, reflecting, & opening up on these records or as I call it therapy! This is my each one teach one body of work, I wanna celebrate black excellence! ..... “Rap Or Go To The League” the album A&R by @KingJames 3/1 pic.twitter.com/08Y2fYKJ6X

— Tity Boi (2 Chainz) (@2chainz) February 19, 2019

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Meek Mill Responds To Comedian Michael Rapaport's Critique

While Meek Mill's pregame performance at the NBA All-Star game on Sunday (Feb. 17) may have been praised by many on Twitter, there was one person who was not impressed by the Philadelphia rapper's appearance. Comedian/actor Michael Rapaport used his Twitter account to critique Mill, but the latter didn't hold his tongue back either.

"Aye @michaelrapaport don't ever use the word trash when you speaking on nothing from our culture unless you tryna get trashed," Meek wrote. "#2 who gave you authorization to be speaking on us? #3 what you charging now?"

Aye @michealrapaport don’t ever use the word trash when you speaking on nothing from our culture unless you tryna get trashed 🤫 #2 who gave you authorization to be speaking on us? #3 what you charging now? Last time I seen You you wanted a selfie 🥴 be great tho on the net 🤷🏾‍♂️

— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) February 18, 2019

A couple of tweets after his first response to Rapaport, the "Going Bad" rapper posted a picture with the New York City native who he claims "wanted a selfie" with him.

Me:ayo yo who this? Anonymous: I think it’s the guy from white men can jump? Him: meek you so fire you give me that feeling what hip hop is missing ima fan “can I get a selfie”? Hurry up go head 🤦🏾‍♂️ pic.twitter.com/GJoMZotqG9

— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) February 18, 2019

The tweets that got Mill fired up by the 48-year-old entertainer featured references about the rapper's previous beef with Drake and his, in Rapaport's opinion, incapability to rap on beat.

"Where I'm from, if you get dragged by DRAKE & don't respond you're & always will be WACK," Rapaport started.

Where I’m from, if you get dragged by DRAKE & don’t respond you’re & always will be WACK.

At least make it competitive. Re-Up Something

People catching feelings, cause you know I’m right about Meek Mill

— MichaelRapaport (@MichaelRapaport) February 18, 2019

Meek Mill have a hearing problem? Because he rhymes off the actual beat on everything he’s on. Literally off the beat, like NoFlow

— MichaelRapaport (@MichaelRapaport) February 18, 2019

The Next Friday actor has yet to respond to Meek's retort.

Continue Reading

Cardi B And Blueface Release Music Video For “Thotiana” Remix

Cardi B is on a hot streak since taking home the Grammy Award (Feb. 10) for Best Rap Album (Invasion of Privacy). The Bronx native’s triumph at the annual showcase kept her steady on a path of musical domination since releasing her second collaboration with Bruno Mars (“Please Me”) and recently, the remix to Blueface’s “Thotiana.”

Decked out in a red bandana-print outfit, Cardi appears in the Cole Bennett-directed visual to spit a sensual verse. “Bust is, bust it, I’m a savage/ Bi**h, throw it back like a 10-year challenge/ Take him to the crib, the I push him on the sofa/ Have his breath smelling like pu**y and mimosa.”

In April 2018, Cardi B unveiled her debut album to fanfare. Since then, the mother-of-one has remained a dominant figure in the music industry and she hopes to further solidify that presence with her upcoming sophomore project. “Hopefully I can get my album done around the same time that Invasion of Privacy came out,” she previously said. “I don’t know how possible that’s gonna to be because I feel like I’m gonna be extremely, extremely busy.”

Until then, watch the "Thotiana (Remix)" video above.

Continue Reading

Top Stories