As was addressed last night and pretty much right after it came out, Drake’s “Hotline Bling” has a lot of similarities to D.R.A.M.’s “Cha Cha.” Between the rhythm, sound, simple chorus and tempo, they’re both easy, sing-alongs that play well on the mainstream radio. Although, once “Hotline Bling” dropped July 31st, “Cha Cha” slowly faded away as “Hotline Bling” gained steam and eventually hit No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Last month for The FADER’s 100th issue, Drake gave one of his rare interviews with the press, but, in large part, he stayed away from anything surround the Meek Mill beef. (“Hotline Bling” was released amidst the scuffle.) Now, though, as the comparisons come up again due the the video dropping Monday night, The FADER released an unpublished quote from Drake – because convenience! – where he addressed the comparisons, likening it to dancehall music.
“You know, like in Jamaica, you’ll have a riddim and it’s like, everyone has to do a song on that. Imagine that in rap, or imagine that in R&B. Imagine if we got one beat and every single person — me, this guy, this guy, all these guys — had to do a song on that one beat. So sometimes I’ll pick a beat that’s a bit, like, sunnier, I guess is the word you used, than usual, and I just try my hand at it. And that’s kind of what ‘Hotline Bling’ was. And I loved it. It’s cool. I’ve been excited by that sort of creative process.”
Sure, you can use a sound, and that’s no problem. Hell, that’s what Kanye has done (i.e. “Don’t Like” and the trap/drill sound that followed). But to take the sound with no credit? Kanye gave ALL credit to Chief Keef, noting himself an others on the song as features, and later worked with Keef on Yeezus. Meanwhile, Drake really hasn’t made any mention of “Hotline Bling” being inspired by “Cha Cha,” despite they share the same bassline, BPMs and exotic feel. Drake is even doing some kind of cha-cha dance in his own video. But I’m digressing.
In a sense, Drake is equating his soon-to-be first No. 1 single with the rather flexible rules the popular genre of Jamaican music employs similar to the Diwali Riddim that dominated urban radio throughout 2002 on songs like Lumidee’s “Never Leave You (Uh Oh)…”
… Sean Paul’s “Get Busy…”
… and Wayne Wonder’s “No Letting Go.”
Drake Beats1 Radio also referred to the song as the remix to “Cha Cha” when it debuted on OVO Sound Radio in the summer.
— Beats 1 (@Beats1) July 25, 2015
To be honest, whether or not Drake shouts out D.R.A.M ultimately doesn’t matter when the Virginia native has already received co-signs for the song from two relatively high-profile musicians: Erykah Badu and Beyoncé, the latter whom put the song officially into the public’s eye with an Instagram clip back in May 2015.
— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@Bey_Legion) July 9, 2015
At the day’s end, we here at the DopeHouse enjoy both songs, and while it’s unfortunate that D.R.A.M. may forever be connected to Drake in this manner this does serve well to raise the anticipation of his forthcoming project GAHDAMN! when it arrives on October 23rd.
— Shake (@dopeboySHAKE) October 20, 2015