Drake’s pen has been through some hard times. After crafting a decade of hits, speculation about his songwriting abilities returned following the release of Pusha T’s critically-acclaimed project, DAYTONA.
The rapper has given a gentle reminder of his bars as of late with monster records like “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What,” as the songs hold the third and number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively. The conversation of ghostwriting is as old as time. “Rapper’s Delight,” the 1979 track dubbed as the genre’s first hip-hop track was partially written by Grandmaster Caz.
Like “Rapper’s Delight,” ghostwriting has landed the genre some classic records. JAY-Z penned Dr. Dre’s standout 2001 cut, “Still D.R.E.” while Max B penned Jim Jones’ 2007 jam, “We Fly High (Ballin).”
While Drake has been on the opposite side of the conversation, he’s crafted big hits for other artists. Check them out below.
10. “Fall For Your Type” – Jamie Foxx
The track was intended for Drake’s debut album, Thank Me Later but was later used for Foxx’s fourth studio album, Best Night of My Life. Foxx reportedly fell in love with the track at the first listen and decided to re-record it. Out of all the singles released on the glitzy album, “Fall For Your Type” was a favorable standout and reached No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
9. “30 Hours,” “Father Stretch My Hands” and “Facts” – Kanye West
The two might have a strained relationship at the moment, but it’s hard to deny their musical chemistry. It was known that Drake penned the tracks for Kanye West’s made IRL album The Life of Pablo in 2015, but the rapper decided to let everyone know on his “Duppy Freestyle.” The Toronto native is listed as a co-writer on “30 Hours” and “Facts.” Ye himself gave the rapper a shout out on Twitter, thanking him for his contributions. While the former tracks were appreciated, “Father Stretch My Hands” featuring Kid Cudi has the most fanfare. The one thing that remains uncertain is this–who came up with the bleached a**hole lyric?
8. “0 to 100/ The Catch Up” (Meant for Puff Daddy)
Ah, what could’ve been. The track that earned Drake two Grammys for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song in 2015 was intended for Diddy. The story is a simple yet complicated one. Boi-1da, a frequent collaborator of Drake, was reportedly flown to Miami by Diddy to work on music. The beat for “0 to 100” was created and that’s where the story gets blurry. Sources claim Diddy either passed on the track or gave it to Drake to flip, but Drizzy decided to keep it for himself.
Diddy clarified pieces of the story with The Breakfast Club after their alleged brawl at a Miami nightclub. “It was the beat, and it was just a misunderstanding,” Puff said. “I sent him the song for him to ghostwrite for me. Sometimes you can be in a room with someone who has a better idea than you, and you’ve got to be open to that. I’ve never apologized for any of that. I want the best record, if someone can go out there and write a better record than me, I’m the one that has to go out there and pull it off.”
7. “I’m Single” – Lil Wayne
The gift that is No Ceilings birthed the first blend of the track originally named “Single.” A remix for the song featuring Drake was made for Wayne’s I Am Not A Human Being but instead, the song was repackaged as “I’m Single.” Noah “40” Shebib shared how the song came to be in 2017 with ROLI founder Roland Lamb. As 40 says, the song was actually created by Drake and given to Wayne, who decided to take over the entire track.
Critics have speculated Drake penned many songs for Wayne during his early years, but the rapper refuted those claims in 2009. “You know, we’re all great artists, great minds, and we all just contribute to each other; there’s been times when Wayne has helped me out, and I’m sure, I hope, I’ve influenced him to do or say things on tracks,” he told Complex. “We help each other out, that’s part of being two artists who respect each others’ creativity.”
6. “R.I.P.” – Rita Ora feat. Tinie Tempah
Before Rita Ora dominated the dance floor with cheeky tunes, she was pushed as a pop-R&B star by her former label, Roc Nation. “R.I.P.” was the outcome, which featured a mix of samples like Drake’s “I’m Ready For You” and the Chase & Status remix of Nneka’s “Heartbreak.” “I’m Ready For You” was penned for Rihanna, but she passed on the single before it was given to Rita.
5. “Signs” – Louis Vuitton Spring 2018 Menswear Show
— Louis Vuitton (@LouisVuitton) June 22, 2017
Well, this one is pretty direct. Shortly before the Louis Vuitton Spring 2018 menswear show kicked off in June 2017, Drake announced how he penned “Signs” specifically for the show. The flowery vibe stayed true to the threads in the collection. Designer Kim Jones said the song came as a surprise since he sent over photos from the collection to get the rapper’s opinion.
“Well, I sent a few pictures [from the collection] to Drake because he’s a big fan and then he wrote a song, which is going to be the music,” he shared with Vogue. “Which is kind of amazing! It’s really, really good—I think he’s probably releasing it as a single. Because he loved it too. It’s so nice that Drake wrote a song.”
It wasn’t the only song featured from the OVO camp. Majid Jordan’s “Gave Your Love Away” opened the show.
4. “Mine” – Beyonce
Drake’s love for R&B led him to work with Queen Bey on her self-titled 2013 album. “Mine” was penned by the two and went on to be a clear standout on the project. The fellas of Majid Jordan also have songwriting credits on the track with their essence flowing over the beat produced by 40.
3. Alicia Keys – “Un-thinkable (I’m Ready)”
Keys’ 2010 single meant a lot of things to a lot of people. As fans speculated that the song was written about her romance with her now-husband Swizz Beatz, Drake revealed that it was also inspired by Nicki Minaj. “It is [about Minaj], I’m not gonna lie,” Drake told BET. “The concept came from a conversation that we had, or conversations we have. I wrote it based off two things: Number one, based off that, and then two, based off Alicia and Swizz and their situation, and it just seemed fitting. It was like the perfect concept.”
The single, plus the remix with Drizzy, also made for a perfect R&B jam.
2. Possibly Unusable Songs For Kanye West
After the release of “Duppy Freestyle,” fans also got to hear Drake’s hot and cold friendship with Kanye West. The two have shared a complicated relationship through the years with Kanye sharing how the two planned to release a joint album. While breaking down Drake and Pusha T’s beef, Hot 97’s Ebro shared how Drake went to Wyoming to help Kanye pen tracks for his upcoming album.
Ebro claims Drake left Wyoming looking to record his own songs after “they didn’t set out what they wanted to accomplish together.” This includes a verse from Kanye removed from Drake’s “Nice For What.” This Friday (June 1) is the release date for West’s album, so it’s up in the air if we’ll hear any of their collaborative work.
1. Unusable Songs For Dr. Dre
Following the release of John Seabrook’s book, The Song Machine: Inside The Hit Factory in 2016, it was speculated that a 19-year-old Drake and 40 attended a strenuous songwriting camp for Death Row Records. It was later confirmed through DJ Booth that the guys were hired as songwriters for Dr. Dre and his label Aftermath Entertainment.
Because Drizzy’s head wasn’t in the game, the rapper told Seabrook no songs came out of the opportunity. “It was some of the most strenuous militant s**t I’ve ever done,” he said. “But no useable songs came out of it. When I think of how he worked us, it’s no wonder he didn’t get anything out of it. It was just writers in a room churning out product all day long.”
He also shared a piece of the story with Zane Lowe during the release of Views in 2016.