40 gives some insight into his work with Drake, including the reason why they decided to scrap the posthumous Aaliyah project.
While not as visible to the public eye as his creative counterpart, 40 is just as instrumental in the making of Drake's music as the rapper himself. In a new interview with Vibe, the producer opened up about his craft, commenting on the assumption that Drake's sound was influenced by Kanye West, nearly cutting "Marvin's Room" from Take Care, and the reasons behind scrapping the posthumous Aaliyah project he was involved with.
Read some choice excerpts from the interview below.
On the assumed influence of 808s & Heartbreak on Drake's sound:
The irony is I donât listen to music. When it comes to 808s, for me, that was an influence of âSay Whatâs Real.â Drake rapped on [Kanyeâs âSay You Willâ] and it sounded so good that I just ran with that, which developed into something that me and Drake embellished upon moving forward. But ultimately the sound ofÂ Nothing Was The Same, to me, is moving backwards, going back to some of my roots and elaborating on what we created throughÂ So Far Gone, which of course had direct implications from Kanye West and a lot of other music as well. Itâs not like I was listening toÂ 808sÂ when I was making that. I was listening to The Smiths, Van MorrisonâsÂ Astral Weeks. Thatâs what I had on repeat. Iâm not focused on what other people are doing because Iâm concerned with elaborating my own musical palette and trying to discover something new.Â
On crafting "Pound Cake":
I did a lot more stuff that nobody will ever hear. When we got the acappella from Hov [for âPound Cakeâ] I had a beat an hour later. It was like a classic Hov record, a flipped sample in the âTuscan Leatherâ vein. Drake was super amped. Then we sat with it and were like, Fuck, is this part of our album? We gave it to Boi-1da and he just murdered it. Our jaw dropped.
On almost cutting "Marvin's Room" from Take Care:
I challenge Drake when it comes to decision making. He didnât want to put âMarvinâs Roomâ onÂ Take CareÂ and I was like, âBro, fuck you, youâve gotta put this on there. Itâs a moment.â But thereâs a flip sideâI made that beat in a few hours. He comes in, like, âIâm using this.â Iâm like, âNo, no, itâs not done yet. I just started.â Heâs like, âNo, itâs done. Donât do anything else.â It stayed that way. My objective is to make him happy. If he says yes, then Iâm good.
On his love of R&B/Hip-Hop crossover (and Dipset):
Yo, [Cam'ron]'s the best. Camâs music is so R&B. Thatâs my influence. Fuck everybody. I love those R&B/rap crosses. Especially if theyâre done gangster enoughâitâs this juxtaposition that Iâve always loved. We donât achieve that with Drake because heâs not gangster. But instead of being on a street rapper with an R&B sound, we push on good music.
On not 'getting' "Wu-Tang Forever":
I didnât like âWu-Tang Forever.â It sounded too different but I guess that resonated. People loved that shit. Maybe I donât get it.
On walking away from the Aaliyah project:
Well, I was that for Aaliyah. Aaliyahâs label Blackgroundâthe Hankersons, her uncle and cousinâcame to me and said if she was around sheâd want you to do this [posthumous] project. Iâve been obsessed with Aaliyah forever, and I know Drake has his relationship with her. But that opportunity was mine. Drake said, âCan I do it with you?â and I was like, âOf course, weâll do it together.â The world reacting to Drakeâs involvement so negatively, I just wanted nothing to do with it. That was a very sad experience for me. I was naÃ¯ve to the politics surrounding Aaliyahâs legacy and a bit ignorant to Timbalandâs relationship and everybody else involved and how theyâd feel. Tim said to me âDonât stop, make the album.â I think that was Tim taking the position of, âIâm not going to stop you. If youâre not going to do it, thatâs your decision.â But ultimately, I wasnât comfortable and didnât like the stigma. We released [âEnough Saidâ], but I was seven songs deep. [Aaliyahâs] mother saying âI donât want this outâ was enough for me. I walked away very quickly.