By Constant Gardner & Midas
A few days ago, Drake told NME, “For me, the David Guetta stuff just doesn’t work. I don’t really wanna go there.” We were glad to hear it. Even more exciting, though, are his nods to the undercurrent of more interesting electronic music. He’s worked with Jamie xx and SBTRKT, and after explaining why Guetta isn’t his first pick, he said the he’d rather work with exciting producers to “turn the club upside down.”
While he’s name dropped a few of the biggest talents in the loosely defined scene, there’s a whole host of other artists and sounds out there who Drake would sound perfect with. If there’s on thing Drake has done well in his career it is to pick his collaborators well, and we’re excited to see the trend continue on his third album. There are plenty of producers out there that would mesh with the Drake aesthetic. Here are 15 that we’d especially like to see him work with.
RL Grime did all of the thinking for us on this one by releasing a stellar remix of “Over.” There are, at my last estimation, thousands of Drake remixes online right now. What stands out is when a producer can take Drake’s brashest cut to date and make it fit in with the hushed, somber tones of his best work. Pitching up Drake’s vocals to the point that they really do sound really too young and setting them on a buzzing crescendo of synths that seem imbued with restless melancholy and unhurried, confident percussion turned into a masterful piece of reinvention.
With that as an entry point, everything else RL Grime has been producing seems to position him as a perfect collaborator for Drake, or at least someone very in tune with the sound Drake and 40 have been progressing. An ear for hip-hop drums and an affinity for bittersweet melodies characterize the best of RL Grime’s production and although he’s on the smaller side in regards to support and popularity for Drake to be taking notice, it sounds like only good things could come from the pairing.
Drake – “Over (RL Grime’s Rly 2 Yung Remix)”
Shlohmo – “The Way U Do (RL Grime Remix)”
Jacques Greene has spent his relatively short career making extraordinarily thoughtful bass and house music centered on delicate R&B samples. Electronic music in 2011 would simply not be the same without his “Another Girl,” his slow burning now-classic. This one doesn’t even feel like a stretch, Drake and Jacques are an easy pair to envision. What really got us excited is that we decided that this was probably the production we most wanted the requisite Kendrick Lamar feature to be over.
Jacques Greene – “Another Girl”
The most immediately striking moments on Take Care were Drake’s skewed versions of the bombastic: “Underground Kings,” “We’ll Be Fine,” “HYFR.” They wouldn’t be as great, however, if they weren’t put into context by “Marvin’s Room,” “The Real Her,” and “Look What You’ve Done.” Enter Holy Other. His music is painstakingly deliberate, thoughtful and patient. And as boring as that sounds, it’s countered by the undeniable ear for a beautiful melody and sense for when to employ a payoff. It’s music that begs a lyricist to get personal over, which makes it a logical move for someone like Drake.
Holy Other – “Touch”
How To Dress Well – “Suicide Dream 2 (Holy Other Remix)”
Depending on how you feel about Burial, imagining this is either exciting or offensive to think of Drake rapping over the Londoner’s genre-defining work. Regardless, the thought exists. It’s there, and the results could be great. It won’t ever happen, but imagining is always nice.
Burial – “Archangel”
Burial & Four Tet – “Nova”
If you want a deliciously catchy hook, look no further than “I Know This Can’t Be Love” from xxxy’s most recent EP. It strikes the perfect balance between club readiness, and gentle night time listenability , and even better, you don’t have to pay Rihanna any dollar to sing on the hook because your producer will cut up an old sample instead!
In the NME interview, Drake mentioned that he wanted to “turn the club upside down.” If he’s really serious about that, he should talk to Dark Sky. The English trio have played around with the edges of dubstep, reappropriating the heavy-handed bass for more UK funky club purposes. And although that sounds like the description of a peak-time banger, they bring a enough artistry to their constructions that the songs practically ooze emotion. Their remixes of artists like The xx and Kelis prove they’ve got what it takes to craft startlingly beautiful tracks for vocalists, and when they’ve branched into higher energy territories with their latest work, it still feels like stuff that could absolutely be rocked over. Drake’s double time flow over “Be Myself?” Nasty.
Dark Sky – “Be Myself”
The xx – “Crystallized (Dark Sky Remix)”
Another artist who has given us a stellar remix of a Drake song (namely “Crew Love”), Shlohmo has also had the temerity to take on Burial’s stone-cold classic “Shell Of Light” and DJ Khaled’s radio smashing “I’m On One,” and never once has he let us down. There is a common thread running through his remixes – a murky, syrupy, despair tinged vibe that fits The Weeknd’s aesthetic perfectly, but would be ideal for some particularly self-loathing Drake vocals. If any of you happen to see Drake, suggest another Weeknd collab please, with a triumphant verse from A$AP Rocky, who would feel at home amongst the pitched down, chopped and screwed style Shlohmo sometimes employs.
Drake ft. The Weeknd – “Crew Love (Shlohmo Remix)”
DJ Khaled – “I’m On One (Shlohmo Remix)”
The thought of these two highly talented artists working together is enough to have any music fan salivating over the endless possiblities. Imagine a sort of “Crew Love II” with Drake bemoaning the trappings of success over a spacious, but punishing beat (think “Limit To Your Love”) and a raw, vulnerable chorus from James Blake, or maybe something more upbeat over a choppy, sample heavy beat like “CMYK?” While it may seem inconceivable that the snobbish music geek would work with the superstar rapper, no one would have predicted the Jamie xx hookup 3 years ago, so here’s hoping.
James Blake – “CMYK”
There aren’t that many people in the sphere of forward thinking dance music who are more highly thought of than Jamie xx, but Four Tet is certainly one of them. From working with Thom Yorke and Burial, to performing live with a classical pianist and jazz drummer, this man loves to experiment, and could surely lend his prodigious production talent to a dope collaboration. Hearing Drake get all “Marvin’s Room” over shimmering the shimmering sonic webs and fading then slowly reappearing percussion on productions like “Swimmer” would surely rival any work he could do with 40 or anyone else for that matter.
Four Tet – “Swimmer”
Joy O knows whats up. Whether he’s working with Boddika, remixing Lana del Rey or making ahead of its time anthem “Hyph Mngo,” the man always comes hard. Another artist who uses chopped up vocal samples to devastating effect, and cites artists as diverse as J Dilla and The Beach Boys as influences, he could no doubt whip up a garage inflected hip-hop beat if he put his mind to it.
Joy Orbison – “Hyph Mngo”
This young American-Chilean producer made waves last year with the release of his debut album Space Is Only Noise, and the contemplative, emotion-filled nature of his productions would fit the bill nicely. Not only does he pick great vocalists and samples to work with but, somewhat surprisingly for such a young artist, he has a great appreciation of the power of space in his compositions, the result being an uncluttered canvas over which Drake could spin his tales. Maybe he could just recycle Jaar’s “I Got A Woman” beat – who has the best flip of that famous sample now, Kanye?
Nicolas Jaar – “I’ve Got A Woman”
Nicolas Jaar ft. Scout LaRue – “And I Say”
Another producer who’s great remix of a Drake song gives us a pretty good idea of their compatibility is Deadboy. His “Slo-mo house remix” of “Fireworks” is a widescreen, piano led masterpiece that makes judicious use of Alicia Key’s vocals, bringing them in and out of the mix over a bed of simple, repetitive snares. Even though it’s a remix of a track from Thank Me Later, Deadboy’s “Fireworks” edit could fit right in with some of 40’s sparser production on Take Care, and Deadboy’s ability to create a haunting, mournful vibe would be perfect complement to Drake pulling some more skeletons out his closet.
Drake ft. Alicia Keys – “Fireworks (Deadboy Slo Mo House Edit)”
This Bristolian producer could help Drizzy craft a four-to-the-floor club banger, without any of the horrible predictability of a Guetta produced chart slaying monster. Putting his own very particular, bassy, spin on house music, Julio Bashmore is one of the most exciting young producers around and, having recently helped produce Jessie Ware’s album, I’m sure he’s in the right frame of mind to get some more production credits under his belt.
Julio Bashmore – “The Moth”
Julio Bashmore – “Batty Knee Dance”
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. They struck gold by pairing up and inviting Rihanna to the party for “Take Care,” and the collaboration is definitely something we’re excited to see repeated. That being said, this time around it would refreshing to hear Drake working with an original Jamie xx instrumental. “Take Care” was great, but for anyone familiar with Jamie xx’s album with Gil Scott-Heron noticed immediately that it was a recycled beat. It became a hit, but that initial pang of disappointment upon noticing that it wasn’t new was inescapable.