T-Minus Talks The Making of Drake’s ‘The Motto’

When you have a certified street banger on your hands there’s no sense in messing around. You have to ride the proverbial wave. For Drake, his sparse, slick-talk 808 workout “The Motto,” which features Young Money headliner Lil Wayne, has provided a reprieve for fans who have missed his hardened mixtape fueled material amid his more melodic, commercial pursuits. While the Toronto native’s sophomore album Take Care (released November 15) moved an impressive 631,000 copies during its first week, critics have given a mixed verdict on the female-friendly release. Yet “The Motto,” which is quickly overtaking dance and strip clubs nationwide, is doing much to restore Drake’s So Far Gone underground-cred.

For T-Minus, who produced “The Motto,” witnessing the unlikely hit’s climb has been a surprise. “It was not even an official single,” he says of the booming track—which was recently given the video treatment in California’s Bay Area, no doubt a nod to the songs’ hyphy feel and shout-out to late West Coast rap pioneer Mac Dre. “I’ve been working with Drake for over a year now, but all of those other records were just features. This time around, I wanted to be a part of Drake’s actual album.”

During the recording session for “The Motto,” T-Minus says there was a more collaborative approach between Drake and himself, something that has become a rarity in today’s hip-hop game. “It was a blessing to be in a studio working on songs with Drake as opposed to just sending beats out which is now the norm,” he explains. “Nowadays, it is a lot more easier to make your music more acceptable because of the Internet, but at the same time it’s harder for you to actually produce a record as opposed to just [mailing] tracks out. I think it’s important for producers to still be in that realm of being a part of the process of making a record from beginning to the end. That’s what I experienced with Drake.”

And the momentum for “The Motto” doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. A remix for the driving Drake cut, featuring beloved West Coast hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg and two-fisted newcomers YG and Nipsey Hussle recently hit the Web.—Keith Murphy (murphdogg29)


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