May 17, 2011 5 comments
As expected, the Internet is all a blaze over DJ Khaled’s new single “I’m on One” featuring Drake, Rick Ross and Lil’ Wayne—with most people crediting the song’s success to Drake for his work on the hook. While I’ll admit that Drizzy came through with another stellar hook and slam dunked his verse, the alley-oop wouldn’t have been possible without an assist from his point guard—Noah “40” Shebib.
40, who co-produced “I’m on One” with T-Minus, is one of Drake’s best friends as well as his in-house producer. I didn’t even need to look at the song’s credits to know that 40 had something to do with the Khaled single. As soon as I heard those filtered, muffled drums (a signature 40 sound), I knew the Canadian producer’s hand had touched the track.
And even if you don’t know him by name, you definitely know his work.
Alicia Keys’ “Unthinkable”…..that was 40. Lil Wayne’s “Single”…..40. Drake & Trey Songz’ “Successful”….40. 75% of Drake’s “Thank Me Later,” Jamie Foxx’s “Fall For Your Type” and the remix to Sade’s “The Moon & Sky” ft. Jay-Z……40, 40, 40. To put it simply, the dude gets busy.
But it’s not just his original beats that are impressive. The interpolations that he does to other people’s productions are just as remarkable.
You ever notice that whenever Drake is featured on someone else’s track, a lot of the times the beat switches during his part? Well that’s 40’s work. Rick Ross’ “Aston Martin Music” was produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E League & Drake originally didn’t have a rap verse on that song—just a portion of the hook. But when he dropped his version called “Paris Morton Music” with his own rap verse over 40’s interpolation of the beat, it sounded so good that Ricky had to use it for the video version. 40 did the same thing for the remix of Chris Brown’s “Deuces,” which was originally produced by Kevin McCall and also to TLC’s “FanMail” when Drake recorded “I Get Lonely Too” (Drizzy’s 2010 ballad rendition of “FanMail”). Basically Drake is like, “Your beat is aight, but Ima get my nigga 40 to make it 10x better.”
I would go so far to say that Drake and 40 have the best artist/producer chemistry since Timbaland and Aaliyah. Thanks to 40, Drake often has a home-field advantage even when he’s featured on other artists’ songs. Must be nice.