Noah "40" Shebib, the man behind Drake's sound, also sat down with GQ for a Q&A on how he developped his unique sound and working with Drake.
On How He Connected With Drake:
"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 Houstatlantavegas 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."
On "Lust For Life" (Off "So Far Gone"):
"It came a little bit later when we were figuring out the direction of the album. When it started to take shape, this song just slipped into the mold. Kanye had put out that record at the time, anyway, he sampled "Tears for Fears" in it and there was this melody and Drake became crazily obsessed with this melody. "Coldest Winter!" I think Kanye wrote it, and found out it was Tears for Fears. That pushed me to pay attention to Tears for Fears and this idea of an opiate song and the drum loop and so I grabbed the drum loop. And went to work on it in the vein of all the other things I created. I was just going fucking haywire with it, you know? I got this! It was like finding a pot of gold."
On Working Exclusively with Drake:
"That's my own personal prerogative. The Jamie Foxx record ["Fall For Your Type"] or Alicia Keys record ["Un-thinkable (I'm Ready) (Remix)"] I did, Drake wrote. The record I did for Trey Songz was a Drake song. The record I did for Wayne was for Drake at first but Wayne hijacked it. They're all related to Drake. I've never, thus far, gone outside of working with him. I'm a pretty loyal person and I feel like we have a lot of work to do and when we get an opportunity to rest and when I can go other places, I will, but thus far, I've focused on Drake and we just haven't stopped working, to be honest. When it comes to this project, one ended and the other started. So if Jay-Z or Alicia Keys is knocking on the door, I would work with anyone who wants to work with me and humbled by the opportunities I've received, but I've been stubborn to finish Drake's new album first. This is my responsibility and I take a lot of pride in that."
On People Imitating His Sound:
"I'm humbled, embarrassed by it, I hide my face when I hear it. That's the last thing on my mind. I've never been the one to accuse someone of stealing. I'm very naïve and Canadian that way. I don't care to explore those waters, it's not worth the time or energy. All creativity is lent and borrowed from somewhere. We grew up in society and hear things and are predetermined to like or dislike chord structures or scales. I'm into all that stuff, so for me to be naïve enough to say, "I invented that"... it's all circumstantial. I don't go there. I'm thankful and humbled that people have embraced it. The one time I do get pissed off is when I'm in the studio is when people send me beats that sound just like mine and try to get Drake interested. I'm like, Really?"
Read more of the interview here