Producers are constantly overlooked and under-appreciated. If a song reaches #1, the artist gets all the credit, but, unless they also produced the record, there is another part of the equation.
When Drake does an interview the internet stops to look and listen, but when Drake’s go-to producer, engineer, and partner in crime, Noah “40” Shebib, conducts an interview with Avid there isn't an in-depth article or think piece to be found. I haven't read a single word about this interview and it's one of the most interesting, in-depth listens I've heard in a while; the life of a producer, I guess.
Lucky for you I’m not here to write a giant think piece, I’m just here to point you towards the interview--where 40 talks about everything from mixing and mastering to "Started From the Bottom"--and highlight the most interesting parts.
For instance, there's the part where 40 talks about how Lil Wayne essentially stole “I’m Single” from Drake and the part where he talks about how “Best I Ever Had,” Drake’s breakout single, was the last song they made for So Far Gone and was only made because they needed a radio hit. The biggest takeaway, though, was when 40 was talking about Drake’s radio-friendly sound.
"He just so happens to create a brand of music that we can call our own that he basically owns right now that works at radio for him. He gets away with murder at radio. Some of the records that go to radio other people would have a hard time achieving."
It’s not a surprise that everything Drake touches turns to gold (or platinum), but it was sort of surprising to hear Drake’s right hand man, his consigliere, believes that Drizzy “gets away with murder” when it comes to his radio success. That kind of honesty in an egocentric, image conscious industry is rare.
The cynical hip-hop head will take that as a negative. They’ll say it’s bullshit. That, essentially, Drake could burp over the sound of two monkeys copulating and it would reach number one. I get that argument--it’s scary to think someone has that much influence--but in another light, it’s kind of amazing. Drake has built himself into a brand and done it so well, he's nearly "flop proof."
Drake has this amazing ability to grab a "Cha Cha" or Ramriddlz and take it to the next level. He’s not just an artist, he’s a brand, a meme. He’s marketed so well and his ability to master everything outside of the music itself is what makes his music so successful.
Okay, enough think-piece stuff.
Seriously, listen to this interview. It’s amazing to get insight into the inner workings of the biggest artist on the planet from a guy who has been there since day one and has a hell of a lot to do with Drake’s success. Go listen. Now.