Thu 10 Nov 2011
GQ’s Sean Fennessey did a real eye opening interview with Drake’s longtime friend, engineer and producer, Noah “40″ Shebib. This fellow Canadian has been with Drizzy for pretty much his whole rise from the bottom to the top of hip-hop.
In the interview 40 discusses how they first met and linked up musically. He also talks in detail about the backstories behind some of their most personal records and the influences that made So Far Gone, Thank Me Later and Take Care.
GQ: It just seemed like a modern innovation on the sound. It makes sense that’s what you love. You can hear it. What about “The Calm”?
Noah “40″ Shebib: He rapped that story out a couple times. Lyrics can be interpreted as you want, but his life is transparent through his lyrics, and it’s pretty brutally honest and it’s scary how much is there. He explained the story a couple times, briefly about this album. It was a crazy, crazy night. That was when we were living in an apartment building in Toronto, downtown, Apartment 1503 15 Fort York Boulevard. He says 1503, two couches and paintings, and he goes on to talk about that apartment where we did all that music, on the new album. He was distraught one night and showed up with $1,000 worth of champagne and I’m cussing at him because we’re all broke and trying to make this shit work! Meanwhile, he’s renting Phantoms and shit. It’s all documented. He shows up with all the liquor and he’s drinking and we’re trying to start working and he gets into a real argument with his uncle, and he went out on the balcony and started yelling at his uncle and I’d never seen him that distraught or emotionally beat up about something. He just came back in the room and said, I need to rap. Make me something. In 45 minutes, I made “The Calm” and he wrote those bars as I made the beat. Over the next five or six hours, that record unfolded in its entirety.
read more, plus more from Drake’s statements about Kanye in The Source’s power 30 issue after the jump…
GQ: Tell me about some specific songs on So Far Gone. “Bria’s Interlude” has always fascinated me. Drake doesn’t even appear on the song.
Noah “40″ Shebib: [Missy Elliott's] “Friendly Skies” was one of my favorite songs from high school. I used to have a car with a system in it in high school, and it was one of my favorite things to play, driving through my neighborhood listening to that record. I had it on wax. We were at Remix, a place for high-priority neighborhood kids and at-risk youth in Toronto. That was our day job back then because we were trying to get on and poppin’. I had my records and players and I found that vinyl and just pitched it all the way down on the 1200 and it sounded so crazy! Right away, I just sampled and slipped it, and we sat on that beat for six months or so and at some point, leading up to So Far Gone, that record was produced and recorded in the hotel room at the Beverly Wilshire, which is where I released, mixed, and mastered So Far Gone. It was the January ’09 Grammys and at the Beverly Wilshire, that was when Wayne cleaned up and we posted there for seven or eight days and had a room there and posted there with the Wayne tour. I have video footage of us in the room making the records. There’s a cool picture of Drake standing in front of the curtain with a microphone and it’s right out of the hotel room. Omarion was at the hotel at the time and dropped some vocals in the hotel room. I must have released that song like ten days after. Just vibes. Vibin’ out and smoked out in the Beverly Wilshire. Makin’ music, you know?
GQ: What else was made at that time?
Noah “40″ Shebib: A lot of stuff was done in the Beverly Wilshire. The Peter Bjorn & John record ["Let's Call It Off"] was done in there. Vocals, track, and record, all done. Four or five records were recorded there. Every single song on So Far Gone was mixed and mastered in Room 713 or 718 of the Beverly Wilshire hotel on a pair of AKG 240 headphones and a iHome clock radio.