Drake Moved by ‘Hotline Bling’ Sample-Maker’s Sentiments

By Radio.com Staff

Drake met one his musical heroes.

The incredibly catchy sample heard in Drake’s smash hit “Hotline Bling,” was lifted from Timmy Thomas’ 1972 groovy track, “Why Can’t We Live Together.” But interestingly enough, the Canadian hitmaker wasn’t familiar Thomas’ work when the sample was originally presented to him by producers.

The interesting bit of trivia was uncovered when Nardwuar Serviette, a Canadian radio host and incredibly well-prepared celebrity interviewer, presented Drake with an original copy of Thomas’s song on vinyl. [Nardwuar is famous for uncovering little-known facts about artists and presenting them with gifts that spark fascinating stories.]

“Just to be completely honest, because I like to be completely honest—I discovered the sample after-the-fact,” Drake told the interviewer. “So, I really fell in love with the song after I heard the beat. It was almost like a daunting task at that point to, like, even think of sampling this, but it’s an incredible song and such a good gift because it’s in my top twenty songs of all time.”

Related: 5 Drake ‘SNL’ Sketches We Hope to See

The interviewer went one step further by presenting Drake with a recorded video message from the 71 year-old musician. (Cue in to 5:00 into the interview above) Thomas rattled off a list of reasons he’s grateful that Drake sampled his song, but most notably because of his importance in Canada. “I appreciate the fact that people love him so much—you have a whole country, in Canada, that loves him. He can’t do any wrong. You got all those people that are now listening. I was number one in Canada in 1973, now it’s number one in Canada with ‘Hotline Bling.’ So, I just want to say to him from the bottom of my heart, thanks a million.”

When asked to return the message to Thomas, Drake provided a heartfelt response. “I just want to thank him for making incredible music, in the time that he was making music, and just for doing something that is timeless because it’s really difficult—not only for something to be good enough to still resonate a few years later but to be good enough to actually be able to take a piece of it and make something else from it. That takes a really special creation.”

“Timmy, you’re one of my favorite artists man.”

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