Two weeks ago, the Internet lit up at the sight of a leaked track from Drake’s anticipated debut, Thank Me Later. “Shut It Down,” a So Far Gone-lite record featuring The-Dream, was reported in September as Drake’s official lead single before any word of “Over” had surfaced.
While the overall response to “Shut It Down” was more than favorable, Stadiumred producer Omen, who worked on the track with Drake’s right-hand 40, told VIBE that version heard on the Net had a few elements absent.
“[‘Shut It Down’] is still missing some ingredients. It’s missing a full Dream verse and a full rap verse from Drake,” he says. “The leaked version wasn’t the way it was supposed to be presented. It was just something that caught on so quickly… I don’t know how the hell radio got it. Drake’s [rap verse is] basically playing around with the song’s concept more, not really telling a story, but just talking to the ladies.”
Omen also revealed that “Shut It Down” was the first song Drake recorded for Thank Me Later in the early fall. Though he’s still unsure whether other tracks he co-produced with 40 made the final cut, from what Omen’s heard of the album, he says fans can expect more hip-hop than heard on the mixtape that made Drake famous.
“It’s more rapping than So Far Gone… a lot more rapping. Even if he is singing it’s just the chorus. ‘Shut It Down’ has probably the most singing on the album and then he has another one with a Sade vibe that’s dope,” he says. “He’s definitely improving his singing too. He just hired a vocal coach that he’s working with during The Away From Home Tour. This is going to be one of the top hip-hop/R&B albums out this year. I can feel it.”
The 33-year-old Harlem producer added that he spoke too soon about “Shut It Down” being Drake’s first single.
“I jumped the gun [Laughs]. What happened is everyone was real excited and saying this is the single, but you know how the industry works, when an album’s being recorded there’s always going to be other producers that bring something different. It still was a very good song to be in the single contention, though.”
Omen first worked with Drake in 2008 on the track, “Overdose On Life,” off Drake’s second mixtape, Comeback Season. Drake’s major label debut, Thank Me Later is scheduled for release on June 15. —Tracy Garraud