‘We started it’: Drake’s producer Gordo on reclaiming black dance music on Honestly, Nevermind

The standout track from Drake’s surprise album was assembled in the sky between Dallas and Toronto. Back in May, DJ Gordo had flown to Brazil to play the sunrise set at the Tribe festival, and on the way back from São Paulo, he started coming down with something. By the time he landed for a layover he was feeling even worse, but a selection of tracks from Australian artist and songwriter Ry X – sent as inspiration for a secret new Drake album – the quickly brought back to life.

“I started sampling one of his MP3 recordings and cutting it up,” Gordo says. QG. “I ended up doing the ‘Sticky’ beat on the plane. I texted [Drake], and when he answered at 4 p.m. I was already in the kitchen of his house. I played him the rhythm and he was like “Woah”. At this time, J. Cole came in because he was at home playing basketball. They recorded that night.”

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DJ Gordo – formerly known as Carnage and whose passport says Diamanté Anthony Blackmon – has been close friends with Drake for years, his own music career having seen him collaborate with artists such as A$AP Rocky, Lil Uzi Vert and Migos. On Honestly, too bad, the record that landed as a surprise in the wee hours of Friday morning, and which represents a seismic shift towards dance music for the rapper, Gordo was hugely influential producing six of the 14 tracks.

The album is a tribute to the Baltimore club music that Gordo remembers hearing in his aunt’s and mother’s cars, playing on Maryland radio stations: tracks from DJ K-Swift and Quicksilva , which quiver to a slow rhythm and kick pattern. The “vibey” genre of house music on Honestly it doesn’t matter was also influenced by electronic artists like artists Keine Music &Me, Adam Port and Rampa.

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