One of the major keys to Drake’s ongoing success is beat selection. Even when he was assembling early mixtapes from borrowed beats and instrumentals from then-unknown bedroom producers, the always guy had a clear-cut knack for putting a project together. Nearly a decade later, it’s still something we can count on from Drizzy—when he drops a project, you can rest assured it’s going to be a cohesive, meticulously sequenced work of art.
Drake’s sound has evolved since he dropped Room For Improvement in 2006, from backpack worshipper, to Weezy impressionist, to the emotional luxury rapper we know and love. On this maturative journey, Drakes’ right-hand producers, Noah “40” Shebib and Matthew “Boi-1da” Samuels, did the bulk of the sonic heavy lifting, giving Aubrey full access to their catalogues of original synth melodies and crate-scouring sample flips. Drake is by no means known as a sample-based rapper—there are plenty of royalty-free beats in Future The Prince's Serato. But, when Drake blesses a sample-driven instrumental with his vocals, it's bound to be an inventive flip.
Drake’s go-to producers are masters at seeking out obscure sample loops, or warping hugely popular songs into an unrecognizable state, and then seamlessly incorporating them into an instrumental. From the funk and soul samples that defined his early sound, to the ‘80s vibes and orchestral drones that pop up in more recent material, it’s not always easy to identify a sample in one of Drake’s songs.
With the help of every obsessive beatmaker’s best friend WhoSampled, we took a closer look at some of our favourite sample flips in Drake’s catalogue, focusing on the work of 40, Boi-1da, Frank Dukes, 9th Wonder, and many more. Check them out, in no particular order, below. You have license son us in the comments if we overlooked anything.