‘This is where our heart is, so we have to come back here at some point and be creative in this environment,’ producer tells MTV News.
By Matt Harper, with reporting by Steven Roberts
At one point, being a child actor from Canada would have been considered a major handicap to becoming a top-selling MC in America. But Drake proved the exception to the rule and not only overcame his outsider status, but wears his hometown of Toronto as a badge of honor. During MTV News’ recent trip to the frozen city north of the border, Drake’s longtime friend and engineer/producer Noah “40” Shebib admitted that part of Drake’s success might have to do with coming from the “outside” and being able to come back home to Toronto and separate himself from the United States.
“It makes us unique, you know, existing in an American world,” 40 told MTV from Take Care Studios in Toronto. “That’s just a little part of us that’s … different, and that’s something we hold on to very tightly. The cool part is that we made most of this record in the neighborhood I grew up in,” 40 added as we got into his car and cruised through the Toronto neighborhoods of Roncesvalles and Parkdale.
The studio wizard described how much of Take Care captured the feeling of driving through the city — particularly closing track “The Ride.””There’s just something about the cold and harshness of it, of the Canadian winter,” 40 said as we drifted by the neighborhood he grew up in. “And that mixed with the juxtaposition of the joy of summertime and how warm and beautiful the summers can be here, I guess there’s just something about that record, ‘The Ride,’ that signifies that and represents that to me.”
But it’s not just about abstract feelings; driving through the city, it’s clear that Toronto’s multicultural heritage helped Drake and 40 craft the sound they’re now well known for. “You have every walk of life here, from every part of the world … so [Toronto’s] a great place in that regard,” 40 said.
40 concluded our Toronto visit by explaining in simple terms why he and Drake will always spend time crafting their music in Canada: “This is where our heart is, so we have to come back here at some point and be creative in this environment.”
All week, we’ll bring you highlights from our candid interview with Drake producer Noah “40” Shebib. Be sure to keep it locked here as 40 talks Take Care and his thoughts on everything from working with Lil Wayne to Drizzy’s next single with Rihanna