The Making of Drake's "Thank Me Later"

Shut It Down f/ The-Dream

Produced by: Noah "40" Shebib & Omen
Noah "40" Shebib: “I went to Omen’s place in New York last summer, and I started working on a record there. I think he had a beat I really liked, and I asked him for the drums. I started building the rest of the record. Then, I think at some point I was in Toronto when I laid down the keys, the real pianos, and stuff that are in the bridge. We recorded the rap at Metalworks. We recorded additional ad-libs and minor changes in L.A. at NightBird. Then, we ended up cutting some of it at Cherry Beach in Toronto, and then sending it to The-Dream in September. Then, Dream sent his stuff back pretty promptly, within a week. 

“We were really excited when we got that stuff back, and it leaked based on one of those references. There was always more verses than [the version that leaked with one Drake verse and one Dream verse]. That was just me editing. I had a Dream second verse and a Drake second verse right from the beginning. So, one leaked with a Drake second verse, if I’m not mistaken. But the one that’s out now had a Dream second verse but that’s always been there since day one. It was just a matter of when I was editing when I muted.

“That’s probably one of the only records I’ve ever really taken time with and probably because it was such an old record I continued to work on it over time. As far as building production and growing it, probably three or four times I sat down and worked on it in the course of six months. 'Shut It Down' was a very complicated record with a lot of instruments going on so I felt like my mix started to get muddy towards the end and Gadget knows how to make his kicks and bass hit in the same area. Whereas me, I usually put my kicks on top of my bass, if that makes any sense. So, because I was trying to cram together too much on the low end of my mix, I felt like I was losing it and I knew Gadget could make it hot and that is exactly what he did. 

“The outro [the second part, 'Lay It Down'] is like a tagged-on interlude. The actual song is like five and a quarter I think. That’s like a whole other section that’s an interlude. It’s like the 'fucking' part of the song. The song is about going to the club and that’s the interlude that closes it of like, 'Hey, now let’s go have sex.' So it’s like a conclusion. It’s an interlude. It’s not the same song per se. It’s an interpolation of the song. It’s not supposed to be a seven-minute song. We just didn’t list it or give it its own ID. We just attached it. We try to break the mold and be unorthodox, but at the same time, the 'Lay It Down' section is something me and Drake enjoyed listening to and as much as we can’t make a whole song like that, sometimes we like to do little pieces of ’em for fun since we enjoy them so much.”

Omen: "That beat was made like September of '09, maybe before that. This was when we knew the album was being recorded. Basically, 40 comes by Stadium Red and is like, 'Yo we gotta work on beats. Drake is starting the album.' So I was like, 'Aite, let’s do it.'”

"40 always tells me, 'Minimal is best,' and 'Don’t make the drums too busy.' Basically he told me how Drake likes his drums. On 'Shut It Down,' I started the drums on Garage Band. Then I took it into Logic and tweaked it up. Then 40 put it in Pro Tools and he tweaked it up. He’s like a scientist with Pro Tools. He was doing all types of crazy shit and he added these chords and I was like, 'That’s it right there.' We built more on it, he added more to it.

"We went from Stadium Red over to Legacy, where Drake was at. Played the track and Drake vibed with it, he had the concept and everything. And that was it. It was on from there."

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