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The Making of Drake’s “Thank Me Later”

One only has to look at Aubrey Drake Graham’s weight class to see how far he has come. In a short period of time he has already reached a stratosphere where he is grouped with heavyweights like Jay-Z, Kanye West, T.I., and Lil Wayne. That’s what happens when you nab two Grammy nominations, drop an endless array of hits (”Best I Ever Had,” “Successful,” “Money To Blow,” “Forever,” and “Bedrock”), and sell 500,000 copies of a mixtape (So Far Gone) that had been available for free for six months before you’ve even dropped an album. And for anyone expecting Drake to let up, he already has three top 20 singles with “Over,” “Find Your Love,” and “Miss Me,” from his debut, Thank Me Later, and has many thinking he might match the first-week sales of his mentor, Lil Wayne, who sold a million copies of Tha Carter III two years ago. Complex already brought you Drake’s album preview, and now we sit down with the producers and featured artists who helped make the most anticipated hip-hop debut in years…

Fireworks f/ Alicia Keys

Produced by: Noah “40” Shebib
Co-produced by: Boi-1da and Crada
Noah “40” Shebib: “’Fireworks’ was [made in] October. [Drake’s A&R, Oliver] had made a link with Crada, and was getting records for the album. Crada had a bunch of stuff we really liked. He had this one titled ’Fireworks’ that really caught all our attention. Drake loved it, but he wanted me to rework it. So I took it and reworked it completely from scratch, and at the end I sent it to Boi-1da, who programmed some drums in the verses, and then I mixed it all together. I think the best part about it for us was the instruments that Crada had picked, like the piano. His had a piano off the top and, the sort of core progression is very similar. Also, the title and putting the fireworks in the song. Those are what drove us to Crada’s composition. All the sounds are brand new. Nothing from his original composition is in the record. Every instrument is me. [Crada’s] contribution to the song was from a writing standpoint as far as melodies and from a conceptual point of view. I’m not in the business of stealing people’s songs. That was originally his beat. But, they’re two totally different beats. Completely. In entirety. But, regardless I kept him involved.

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