French Montana's Platinum-certified "Unforgettable" is the highest-charting single of his six-year career—it peaked at No. 5 this week on the Billboard Hot 100—and, to date, has racked up 275 million streams on Spotify and 193 million video plays on YouTube, but none of that would have been possible if Drake hadn't decided to pass on the record.
In an interview with Genius for their Deconstructed series, "Unforgettable" co-producer Mac Sutphin, who makes up one-third of production trio 1Mind—along with Sebastian Lopez and Michael Lohmeier—revealed the origin story of the record, which began with a DM on Twitter from OVO founder and Drake's co-manager, Oliver El-Khatib.
"I see this message on Twitter from Oliver, OVO Oliver, he's like, 'Yo, this is our last session for Views, send some more shit if you guys have any last ideas to send through,'" said Sutphin, who has also worked with Lil Yachty, PnB Rock, Ramriddlz and Tory Lanez. "So I was like, aww shit, I guess I do probably have to make something right now. So I kind of ducked off back to my friend's house, did a little session for four hours, and that turned out to be the 'Unforgettable' beat. And I sent it back to Oliver, he's like, 'Yo, this is fire, hold onto it.' Obviously, [Drake] didn't end up using it, but, um, yeah, I think it worked out for the best."
Indeed, Drake passing on the "Unforgettable" beat worked out well for the Indianapolis natives—and certainly for French—but that doesn't mean that they knew French and guest artist Swae Lee (of Rae Sremmurd) would turn the record into an undeniable hit.
In fact, they didn't even give him the beat.
"The first we heard about French on it was when it leaked in November," Sutphin added. "We were like, 'Yo, French is on it.' [laughs]"
The song, which also features co-production credits by Jaegen and C.P DUBB, is just the latest in a long line of hit records that were originally crafted for another artist. For example, Future's "Codeine Crazy" was made for Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott's "Drugs You Should Try It" was a Big Sean record, and J. Cole recorded a song over the beat that would eventually become Isaiah Rashad's "Free Lunch" long before Vegas producer Cam O'bi ever connected with the TDE emcee.