Better known as Nineteen85 and half of the R&B duo dvsn, Anthony Paul Jefferies sat down with Billboard to discuss More Life’s status as a playlist and the stories behind some of their biggest hits.
Nineteen85’s touch on ‘Views’ is unmistakable and the Toronto native is bringing that unmistakable sound to Drake’s newest project, More Life. However, More Life’s status as a playlist has many fans wondering just how different it’s going to be from his previous albums and what exactly makes it a playlist. Nineteen85 opens up to help solve part of the mystery.
“More Life is interesting because this is [Drake] right on the peak of his biggest project yet [with Views], doing his biggest tour and still having so many good ideas that he just wants to put out without making it a big ordeal,” he explains. “That’s why he’s trying to call it a playlist because he has a bunch of people in a space, hanging out…. He’s so aware of what everybody else is doing musically that he likes to introduce new music and new artists to the rest of the world.”
The producer also goes on to drop insight on the inspiration behind some of his biggest hits.
“Too Much,” Drake (2013)
“There’s an honesty in the way Drake raps on it that we don’t often hear from him — he’s touching on personal topics, like family. The beat [which features a hook from Sampha] works with what he’s saying. It’s one of the songs that’s not as fun, that brings different emotions to the music.”
“Hotline Bling,” Drake (2015)
“I was in my car, listening to a satellite station that plays a lot of smooth-rock deep cuts, and the original song [“Why Can’t We Live Together,” by Timmy Thomas] came on. By the time I got home, I had basically made the beat in my head. There’s a thing he knows how to do on my beats that connects with the audience so well.”
“One Dance,” Drake featuring Wizkid and Kyla (2016)
“We were in London a couple of years ago for Wireless Festival, and we kept playing ‘Do You Mind?’ by Kyla, which I sampled on ‘One Dance.’ I wanted to figure out how to create that I-don’t-care-who’s-looking vibe, the vibe of those parties. ‘One Dance’ makes you feel not embarrassed to dance, no matter who you’re in front of. There’s a void when it comes to that type of feel-good record nowadays the songs that the Michael Jacksons of the world used to make. Drake always knows how to make people feel.”
Nineteen85 was working at H&M in 2009 when he was discovered and introduced to Drake by Noah “40” Shebib. Since then, he’s worked with Drake on Nothing Was The Same, Views, and the upcoming More Life. His catalog also extends to other OVO members as well, producing for Majid Jordan and PARTYNEXTDOOR. He’s also up for two Grammys, with one being for Producer of the Year!