Amid all the dramas and controversies spawned by the long-awaited release of Drake's Certified Lover Boy album, the biggest has stood out to be a songwriting credit for fallen R&B superstar R. Kelly, on one of the song's. Kelly, who is currently on trial for sex trafficking and racketeering charges amid allegations of sexual abuse against multiple women has been credited on the song 'TSU' for the newly released album from the 'In My Feelings' hitmaker, according to Variety. Drake Announces the Release Date of His New Album ‘Certified Lover Boy’.
Though this mention of Kelly filled the internet with outraged and incredulous comments, Drake, his label and music publisher, and even Kelly, none of them has given any clarification regarding the songwriting credit. However, on Sunday at some point, Drake's long-time co-producer Noah '40' Shebib posted a comment on Instagram explaining the credit and distancing himself from it. He noted that Kelly was not involved in 'TSU', but rather that a Kelly song was playing in the background of a sample of OG Ron C, the veteran Houston DJ and co-founder of Swishahouse Records. Hence in order to use that sample, they had to credit the Kelly song. Drake Reveals He Had Suffered Hair Loss as an After Effect of COVID-19.
Media outlets and commentators faced challenges even identifying the Kelly sample, which some speculated was a lyric credit. Explaining, Shebib wrote, "On a song called tsu at the beginning is a sample of OG Ron c talking. Behind that faintly which you can't even hear is an r Kelly song playing in the background. It has no significance no lyrics are present, r Kelly's voice isn't even present but if we wanted to use Ron c talking we were forced to license it." He added, "Doesn't sit well with me let me just say that. And I'm not here to defend drakes lyrics, but I thought I would clear up that there is no actual r Kelly present and it's a bit misleading to call him a co-lyricist."
"It's kinda wild cause I was just reading 'Baby Girl' by Kathy Iandoli and the recounts of some of that stuff is horrific and disgusting. Then I saw this post and just had to say something because to think we would stand beside that guy or write with him is just incredibly disgusting," Shebib continued. However, Shebib's comments do not explain and actually call further into question why Drake felt the sample was essential to the song, and why he feels comfortable crediting and, by association, effectively endorsing a man whose name has become synonymous with sexual abuse and a corrupt or inept legal system that allegedly allowed him to get away with it for more than two decades.
It is difficult to imagine that Drake would not have been aware of the sample or the optics that the songwriting credit would bring, or why he didn't simply ask OG Ron C to say the same words without an R. Kelly song playing in the background. Shebib's post suggests he may have similar questions. The timing of the release, coming just a week after Kanye West brought alleged sexual offender Marilyn Manson and self-proclaimed homophobe DaBaby onstage at his 'Donda' listening event, saw the two biggest rappers in hip-hop endorsing sexual offenders within a week of each other. As per Variety, it was unclear at press time how much money in royalties the sample may garner Kelly, but any song from 'Certified Lover Boy' is racking up millions of streams, and thus royalties.
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