Drake's producer explains why R. Kelly is credited on 'Certified Lover Boy'

Jenna Ryu

Drake released his highly anticipated sixth studio album "Certified Lover Boy" Friday – just in time to have fans in their feelings for the start of fall's cuffing season.

The album — which had originally been slated for January — touts 21 tracks and includes features from Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Lil Baby, Future, Young Thug, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Kid Cudi and more.

While the catchy songs are already on replay for some fans, others attempted to decode Drake's choices on "Certified Lover Boy" — including an R. Kelly writing credit and Drake's potential diss directed at Kanye West, who released his album "Donda" Sunday.

Drake's "Certified Lover Boy" album arrived on Sept. 3, 2021, to fanfare and controversy.

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Drake gives R. Kelly a writing credit on 'TSU'

Fans were outraged that R. Kelly, the disgraced singer who is currently on trial for federal sex trafficking and racketeering charges, was given a writing credit on Drake's song "TSU," which sampled its intro from Kelly's 1998 single "Half on a Baby."

Along with Kelly, other artists credited as writers on "TSU" include Harley Arsenault, Noel Cadastre, F. Hills, Timothy Mosley (aka Timbaland), Ronald Coleman (aka OG Ron C), Christopher Cross, and Justin Timberlake (the song also samples NSYNC's 1997 track "Sailing").

The writing credit and sample is particularly eyebrow-raising as multiple of Kelly's alleged victims have given shocking testimony during the ongoing trial about the alleged sexual and emotional abuse they endured at the hands of the singer.

Drake's longtime producer Noah "40" Shebib clarified Saturday that the song features a sample of OG Ron speaking at the beginning, with the instrumentals of 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," Shebib wrote in an Instagram comment. "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." 

The producer added he "just had to say something because to think we would stand beside that guy or write with him is just incredibly disgusting." 

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Shebib's comments came after backlash on social media. 

"R Kelly, while currently on trial for sexual abuse of countless Black women and girls, is going to be making money off the most anticipated album of the year thanks to Drake giving him a songwriting credit," tweeted journalist Ernest Owens.

  "Drake chose to sample his work, knowing he’d have to clear it with R. Kelly, and that Kelly would get a check/royalties. He could’ve done away with the sample/track, he clearly doesn’t care," user @byDonnaJo tweeted.

Did Drake call out Kanye West on '7am on Bridle Path'? Fans think so

Drake dropped his album less than a week after Kanye West's latest "Donda," and fans think the "God's Plan" rapper is throwing shade.

Over the last few weeks, the two seemingly reignited their feud on Instagram, with West allegedly sharing Drake's Toronto address in a now-deleted post. However, Drake fans think his new song, "7am On Bridle Path" (possibly referring to his Toronto neighborhood) is a subtle diss to the "Blood on the Leaves" rapper. 

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Though Drake doesn't call Kanye out by name, lyrics include:

"You know the fourth level of jealousy is called media / Isn't that an ironic revelation? / Give that address to your driver, make it your destination / 'Stead of just a post out of desperation," and "This me reaching the deepest state of my meditation / Why you over there trying to impress the nation?"

Fans shared their reactions on Twitter, with user @big_business_ writing: "Drake telling Ye to come thru the crib since he posted the address on 7am On Bridle Path still got me howling.

"Drake went at kanye neck on “7am on bridle path” basically told ye stop all the weird stuff and pull up," user @naz1kay tweeted.

Drake stirs frenzy after name dropping Ayesha Curry

"Certified Lover Boy" has an array of shout-outs— but one name drop in particular is sending social media into a frenzy.

On "Race My Mind," Drake raps, "How I'm supposed to wife you if you ain't Ayesha enough." Fans were quick to suggest he was referring to NBA player Steph Curry's wife Ayesha.

"Steph got himself a keeper we already knew!" user @jennnnnnnl wrote.

"I wonder what it’s like to wake up as ayesha curry knowing drake name dropped you like what a life," user @KlassicKiya added.

Shortly after the song's release, Steph showed his support for Drake.

"Congrats Bro!" he tweeted.

Kawhi Leonard makes a cameo in comical ‘Way 2 Sexy’ music video

Los Angeles Clippers player Kawhi Leonard made a surprise appearance in Drake’s music video for his song “Way 2 Sexy,” which samples the Right Said Fred 1991 hit “I’m Too Sexy.”

In the five-minute video, also featuring Future and Young Thug, Drake dances as a retro workout trainer, sports a beer belly and even pays tribute to Michael Jackson, Rambo and other cultural icons. Leonard later appears in an all-white outfit, dancing alongside the rappers in a desert.

"Never thought i would see Kawhi dancing with Drake, Future, and young thug in this lifetime,” tweeted @DaMightyChief.

"nah i’m crying drake really got kawhi as a background dancer this comedy lol,” @JamCristopher wrote.

Contributing: Rasha Ali