Drake’s “Mob Ties” & 6 Other Alleged Reference Tracks That Have Leaked

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TORONTO, ONTARIO - MAY 21: Rapper Drake attends game four of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on May 21, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Drake faces backlash after reference tracks for "Ratchet Happy Birthday" and "Mob Ties" surfaced online this week.

Another day, another alleged leak. In the world of Drake, that became an occurrence every so often since Meek Mill exposed him for using a ghostwriter on “R.I.C.O.” However, in the years that followed, Drake became less apologetic for violating the cardinal rule of hip-hop and maintained a position that’s more akin to a pop star than a rap icon. That’s not to diminish his creative output but recent albums, such as Her Loss and For All The Dogs, have made it clear that his approach to creating bodies of work is far more of a collaborative effort than he or his fans, for that matter, would like to admit.

The number of reference tracks that have surfaced over the years has indicated as much. That’s not to take away from Drake’s pen or his ability to strike gold on his own terms, nor do these reference songs indicate whether Drake solely relies on outsourcing songwriting to other artists. We know what Drake is capable of, though, unfortunately, it isn’t seen as often as we’d like.

Nonetheless, on Tuesday, May 28th, Vory’s alleged reference track for “Mob Ties” surfaced. A couple of hours later, PartyNextDoor’s alleged reference track for “Ratchet Happy Birthday” began circulating on social media. Ultimately, it led many to question the authenticity of Drake’s artistry and his pen. That's especially the case it turns out someone else penned a few fan favorites held in high regard. It’s a tragic outcome for an artist who has allowed us a window into his life through the same soundtrack he made for our consumption. We can’t share the demos themselves, here are 7 reference tracks for Drake that have surfaced online over the years. 

7. "Mob Ties" - Scorpion (2018)

To start things off, we’ll kick it off with Vory’s alleged reference track for “Mob Ties.” A non-single highlight off of Scorpion, the Boi-1da produced track initially sounded like a direct response to the aftermath of Drake’s feud with Pusha T and Kanye West. Along with bars that many dissected as a sort of allusion to X’s death (“Louis bags for body bags”), much of Drake’s ominous lyrical assertions felt like a man ready to go to war, again. He even admitted to Lebron James on The Shop that he wrote and recorded the song following Pusha T’s “The Story Of Adidon.” While we can’t say that Vory wrote the entire song, he does boast writing credits on “Mob Ties.” So technically, Drake didn’t use a ghostwriter but he did cast more doubt on his pen.

6. "Ratchet Happy Birthday" - Scorpion (2018)

Another cut off of Scorpion, “Ratchet Happy Birthday” has remained somewhat of a divisive record in Drake’s catalog. Some people love it and come around to playing it once every year on their special day while others feel either impartial or hate the song. Ultimately, it’s not universally regarded as an S-Tier song in Drake’s discography. On that note, some may have been a bit relieved to discover a reference track from OVO Sound’s PartyNextDoor. Again, Party does have writing credit on the song so Drake has somehow managed to dodge the ghostwriting allegations this time, too.

5. "Jumbotron Sh*t Poppin" - Her Loss (2022)

In the wake of “Not Like Us” and its exceptional third verse, it’s hard not to regard his partnerships with 21 Savage and Lil Yachty as somewhat transactional. We can’t speak to his personal relationships with the two artists but both certainly aided Drake in ushering in a new era of his career on Her Loss. “Jumbotron Sh*t Poppin” was an immediate standout from the project, specifically among Drizzy’s solo offerings. 

However, to the dismay of fans, it turned out that Lil Yachty was actually behind the song. Though he had songwriting credits on the project, the reference track for “Jumbotron Sh*t Poppin” made fans realize that his contributions to the project went above and beyond simply producing a handful of tracks and offering a few adlibs. Still, it benefited Lil Yachty's career trajectory and helped many realize his brilliance.

4. "Calling For You" - For All The Dogs (2023)

For All The Dogs can’t hold a candle next to albums like Take Care or Nothing Was The Same, sure, but it doesn’t really deserve the hate it received. There were plenty of memorable moments across the project, from the J. Cole-assisted “First Person Shooter” to the Frank Ocean-sampling “Virginia Beach.” Both records felt like a version of Drake that many hoped would mark his return.

However, songs like “Calling For You,” while incredibly infectious, underscored Drake’s problem of attempting to ride current trends (in this case, Cash Cobain’s brand of Sexy Drill) to latch onto the clubs and radio. Cash already had credits as a producer on the song, though no one necessarily noticed his songwriting credits, too. The moment the reference track to “Calling For You” surfaced earlier this year, it became clear that Drake similarly sought after Cash's hit-making prowess to flesh out the FATD tracklist. Though Cash later suggested it was AI, it doesn't seem like many believe him. After all, that's the go-to excuse these days. Ultimately, it's a great look for Cash, a horrible revelation for Drake fans.

3. "R.I.C.O" - Dreams Worth More Than Money (2015)

We can’t go through this list without acknowledging the song that started the ghostwriting allegations in the first place. Quentin Miller, whose career has primarily been associated with the scandalous legacy of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, appeared to deliver Drake’s verse from Meek Mill’s “R.I.C.O.” on a reference track. Ultimately, it led to Meek Mill’s online meltdown where he exposed Drake and triggered a summer of taunts with the releases of “Charged Up” and “Back To Back,” both of which Drake did write, by the way. 

2. "10 Bands" - If You're Reading This It's Too Late (2015)

Another one of Quentin Miller’s most notable contributions to If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is “10 Bands.” Though among the immediate highlights off of Drake’s 2015 opus, its legacy was somewhat tarnished after Funk Flex obtained the reference track for the song. Around this time, Funk Flex also aired Quentin Miller's reference tracks for "Used To," "Know Yourself," and the aforementioned "R.I.C.O.." Miller’s lyrics and flow take center stage but despite the allegations of Drake using a ghostwriter, Miller has boasted credits on the album. Unfortunately, it’s hip-hop, and as Flex said at the time: “If you're wearing that crown, you better write. If you don't write, you don't have that crown."

1. "Legend" - If You're Reading This It's Too Late (2015)

The intro to If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late will always hold a special place in the hearts of his fans. The lush flip of Ginuwine’s “So Anxious” turned into a subtle yet powerful statement to kick off the 2015 mixtape. Drake’s talents and delivery made the song what it was but if it wasn’t for PartyNextDoor, we might not have ever had the song in the first place. An alleged reference track for “Legend” with PartyNextDoor’s vocals surfaced line in 2016, in the wake of both Drake’s victory against Meek and the release of Views. Regardless of who penned the song, it remains a fixture in his live shows, as evidenced by the It’s All A Blur tour.

About The Author
Aron A. is a features editor for HotNewHipHop. Beginning his tenure at HotNewHipHop in July 2017, he has comprehensively documented the biggest stories in the culture over the past few years. Throughout his time, Aron’s helped introduce a number of buzzing up-and-coming artists to our audience, identifying regional trends and highlighting hip-hop from across the globe. As a Canadian-based music journalist, he has also made a concerted effort to put spotlights on artists hailing from North of the border as part of Rise & Grind, the weekly interview series that he created and launched in 2021. Aron also broke a number of stories through his extensive interviews with beloved figures in the culture. These include industry vets (Quality Control co-founder Kevin "Coach K" Lee, Wayno Clark), definitive producers (DJ Paul, Hit-Boy, Zaytoven), cultural disruptors (Soulja Boy), lyrical heavyweights (Pusha T, Styles P, Danny Brown), cultural pioneers (Dapper Dan, Big Daddy Kane), and the next generation of stars (Lil Durk, Latto, Fivio Foreign, Denzel Curry). Aron also penned cover stories with the likes of Rick Ross, Central Cee, Moneybagg Yo, Vince Staples, and Bobby Shmurda.