Noah “40” Shebib, longtime producer and engineer for Drake, has given the backstory on why R. Kelly was included in the credits on Drake’s new album, Certified Lover Boy.
Kelly gets a songwriting credit on CLB’s “TSU” as it wraps in the intro from his 1998 single “Half on a Baby.”
According to 40 — who left a lengthy comment on an Instagram post about the topic on Saturday (Sept. 4) — they “were forced to license” the Kelly track because it appeared in their recording of OG Ron C speaking at the beginning of “TSU.”
In reaction to an Independent news headline posted by Ravyn Wngz, who prompted followers to share their thoughts, 40 chimed in with a statement via his verified Instagram account.
“On a song called tsu at the beginning is a sample of OG Ron c talking,” he wrote in the comments. “Behind that faintly which you can’t even hear is an r Kelly song playing in the background. It has no significance no lyrics are present, r Kelly’s voice isn’t even present but if we wanted to use Ron c talking we were forced to license it.”
40 added, “Doesn’t sit well with me let me just say that. And I’m not here to defend drakes lyrics, but I thought I would clear up that there is no actual r Kelly present and it’s a bit misleading to call him a co lyricist. It’s kinda wild cause I was just reading ‘Baby Girl’ by Kathy Iandoli and the recounts of some of that stuff is horrific and disgusting. Then I saw this post and just had to say something because to think we would stand beside that guy or write with him is just incredibly disgusting.”
It is widely known that Kelly is currently on trial, with a number of his alleged victims giving shocking testimony about the alleged sexual and emotional abuse they have suffered at the singer’s hands; Kelly has repeatedly denied all the allegations.
Continuing the conversation about the instrumental bit of Kelly’s song being included on “TSU,” 40 left another comment on Instagram that said, “I dont think we even knew about it until the final hours when through clearance we discovered it. At that point it’s about the integrity of the art for the artist and that’s not my place to mess with it. I’m an engineer ultimately my job is to help an artist deliver their vision. There’s lots I don’t agree with and I voice my opinion but I definitely don’t subscribe to all the lyrics. I’m worried about sound and sonics melodies and progressions that’s my place.”
“most likely his publisher got paid and I assume a lot of those assets are are already diverted, also to be clear, the value of that to him won’t cover his lawyer for a week lol! That song has multiple samples and tbh I don’t think there’s a lot there to go around,” he wrote.
When someone left a comment asking why Drake’s team didn’t just re-record that part of “TSU,” 40 replied, “time and integrity of the original song. Trust me I would of taken that option if we could of.”
Read through his comments in the post on Instagram.