The past week has been huge for hip-hop, with Kanye West finally releasing Donda, and now Drake just dropping his new album Certified Lover Boy. Drake and CLB immediately broke Apple Music’s records for the most-streamed album in a day and 2021’s most-streamed artist in a day. Initially teased back in October 2020, the highly anticipated project features 21 tracks with features from Jay-Z, Lil Baby, Giveon, 21 Savage, Travis Scott, and many more. But we’re not here to tell you all about the different rappers and artists featured on the album. Instead, we’re here to shine some light on some of the most influential producers on CLB.
Production credits on tracks: #1, #3, #4, #9, #11, #15, #16, #17, #20, #21
It may come as no surprise to some that Drake’s main producer, 40, made it on this list. 40 is responsible for crafting the downtempo, ambient sound that has become associated with Drake’s name over the years. He’s credited on almost half of the album, thus helping curate its overall sound. Other than being one of the most influential producers in his generation, 40 is also an activist and co-founder of the 40 Foundation, which focuses on supporting youth when in conflict with the law in under-resourced communities.
Production credits on “Girls Want Girls,” “Love All,” “Fair Trade,” and “No Friends In The Industry”
OZ, real name Ozan Yildirim, has established himself as one of the biggest producers in the industry over the past years. According to Forbes’ 30 under 30 Europe, OZ is one of only six people to ever rank No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 producer’s list simultaneously. He has worked with Drake in the past on songs such as “Toosie Slide,” “Greece,” “U With Me,” and more. He also worked on Travis Scott’s “SICKO MODE” and “HIGHEST IN THE ROOM.” OZ has got so many more hits that we could list, but it would go on for too long, and there’s no doubt that he’s got many more to come.
Production credit on “Girls Want Girls“
Ambezza is a multi-platinum producer who, despite his multitude of hits, emphasizes the importance of staying level-headed and looking at the bigger picture of life. Despite his humble attitude, we had a feeling we’d be seeing more hits from Ambezza. Already, track #3, “Girls Want Girls,” is topping Spotify playlists and shaping up to be one of the most successful tracks on CLB. Ambezza also recently released his drum kit “FACETS” on Splice, which we recommend everyone check to out.
Production credits on “TSU,” “N 2 Deep,” “Get Along Better,” and “Fucking Fans”
Noel Cadastre, otherwise known as OVONoel, is Drake’s main sound engineer. Working closely with 40, Cadastre is responsible for helping curate the OVO sound. Cadastre graduated from the Audio Production and Engineering Program of Metalworks Institute in 2006 and began working with Drake around 2010 for his project Thank Me Later. Since then, Cadastre has worked on every single one of Drake’s projects. While he primarily works with Drake, he’s worked with other major artists such as 2 Chainz, Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, A$AP Rocky, Future, and more.
Production credits on “TSU,” “N 2 Deep,” and “IMY2“
A consistent Drake collaborator, Harley Arsenault has worked heavily on every Drake album since Views came out in 2016. Responsible for three tracks on CLB, Arsenault has found large success with dreamy and ambient melodies mixed with hard 808s. In addition to producing for Drake, Arsenault has worked with PARTYNEXTDOOR, Rihanna, dvsn, Majid Jordan, and many more.
Leon Thomas III
Production credits on “In The Bible,” “Love All,” and “Pipe Down”
Featured on three of CLB’s tracks is Leon Thomas III. Many might know him from his role in Victorious as Andre Harris, but he’s grown to be more than a prominent actor. While he’s retained his impressive vocal abilities, Thomas has also experienced a fruitful production career working on songs with artists like Young Thug, Post Malone, Ariana Grande, Giveon, Rick Ross, and more. Thomas produced on tracks #4 and #10, as well as working on track #5 as part of The Rascals, a production duo of Thomas and Khristopher Riddick-Tynes.
Production credit on “Fair Trade”
WondaGurl has made massive inroads into hip-hop over the past few years, establishing herself as one of the greats of our generation. She’s worked primarily with Travis Scott over the years, on tracks such as “Antidote,” “Can’t Say” and “90210” amongst others, and has previously worked with Drake on “Company” and “Used To.” While these are only two of the artists she’s collaborated with, there are many more, including Don Toliver, Rihanna, and Big Sean. Coming up, she was a protegé to none other than fellow Ontario-based producer Boi-1da, and in 2018 WondaGurl was featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in the Music Category. With the combination of her come up, the placements she’s getting now, and the quality of her beats, we have no doubt that WondaGurl will continue blazing down her long road of success.
Production credit on “Knife Talk”
“Knife Talk” with 21 Savage is arguably one of the hardest songs on CLB, and it was produced by none other than Metro Boomin. This is a continuation of 21 and Metro’s streak of working together, as they recently put out their collaborative album SAVAGE MODE II. “Knife Talk” brings together Metro’s classic hard 808s mixed with dark melodies, in addition to a legendary Project Pat sample. Also on the track’s outro is Kiefer playing those beautiful keys that strike a chill and calming tone, redirecting the song away from its original sinister sound. In Metro’s come up, he forged relationships with many Atlanta based artists, like Gucci Mane, Young Thug, Future, and of course, 21 Savage. Even outside of Atlanta, Metro has worked with pretty much every prominent rapper, as well as some of the biggest R&B artists today. Needless to say, we’re really happy Metro decided to come out of retirement and also glad to see Kiefer landing such a huge and well-deserved placement.