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Drake’s Producer on Breaking the Rules

March 16, 2016

Noah “40” Shebib produces hip-hop hits out of his Toronto studio that, in a new video produced by Native Instruments, he calls “literally the craziest production room ever.”

He has rigged up the space so that making music is easy and makes the artist the top priority. He can hook up visitors’ laptops with two cables to quickly give them access to the studio’s displays and Native Instruments Maschine and Komplete Kontrol hardware and software.

“I’ve built this out of passion, not a business plan,” Shebib said. “This place is here to make history, not to make money.”

There must be some money involved, however, because the Grammy-winning Shebib is most known for making multi-platinum Drake records. He’s also produced tracks for the likes of Usher, Nas, Lil Wayne, Action Bronson and Alicia Keys.

In the video, he talks about some of his production methods, philosophies and secrets that are secrets no more. For example, speaking about his “lo-fi, underwater sound,” that he made famous with Drake, he says, “people usually assume it’s a low-pass filter… but for the most part I’m actually degrading the sample rate.”

That style also flies in the face on conventional production wisdom. He intentionally leaves all the top end frequencies for Drake’s voice, and puts the music in the low end, which any instructor would tell you not to do. He also typically starts his productions with music, rather than drums, which is the norm in hip-hop.

Of course, Shebib also talks about using Maschine, which he appreciates in part for helping to simplify and expedite both beginning and finishing music. “To make something simple but good is extremely difficult,” he said. “I have so many options and so many tools… it can be overwhelming.”

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