Drake Compares “Hotline Bling” and “Cha Cha” to Dancehall Riddims
Last night (Oct. 19), Drake dropped the video for "Hotline Bling," the summer single that's climbed the Billboard charts to rest in the #2 spot. Here's the problem: not everyone is comfortable calling it Drake's song. Yesterday on Twitter, Virginia's D.R.A.M., the rapper and singer who has reportedly been in the studio with Rick Rubin and Dr. Luke, said he felt he was "jacked for [his] record." He's referring, of course, to his own "Cha Cha," which was a minor hit earlier this year and for which "Hotline Bling" was originally billed as a remix. (The song was debuted on Drake's Beats 1 radio show as such.)
"Hotline Bling" was issued commercially by Cash Money and Republic Records; the credited writers are Drake, producer Nineteen85 and Timmy Thomas, the R&B singer whose "Why Can't We Live Together" is sampled. (D.R.A.M.'s song attempts to recreate the Thomas original with sounds from the video game Super Mario.)
To shed light on the issue, the Fader has published quotes that were cut from their recent cover story on the Toronto star. In the original piece, Drake spoke about his desire to give his take on new sounds from up-and-coming artists in which he saw promise. Now, he's quoted more specifically with regard to "Cha Cha." “You know, like in Jamaica, you’ll have a riddim and it’s like, everyone has to do a song on that?" Drake says. “Imagine that in rap, or imagine that in R&B. Imagine if we got one beat and every single person—me, this guy, this guy, all these guys—had to do a song on that one beat. So sometimes I’ll pick a beat that’s a bit, like, sunnier, I guess is the word you used, than usual, and I just try my hand at it. And that’s kind of what ‘Hotline Bling’ was. And I loved it. It’s cool. I’ve been excited by that sort of creative process.”
Of course, rappers often use beats that others have previously touched: On So Far Gone, Drake himself rapped on Jay Z's "Ignorant Shit" alongside Lil Wayne, his label boss and mentor who is a noted veteran of the mixtape circuit.