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Noah “40” Shebib is not only one of Drake’s best friends, he’s also the mastermind behind Drake’s sonic musicality.

It’s no secret that Drake and his producer 40 were immersed in a firestorm when it was announced they would be producing Aaliyah’s posthumous album in 2012.

The fans weren’t happy, Aaliyah’s longtime friend/producer Timbaland wasn’t happy, and Aaliyah’s family wasn’t happy. Drake and 40 found themselves in an awkward position after releasing the track “Enough Said,” and decided it was best to lay the posthumous record to rest.

In an exclusive interview with VIBE, 40 revealed the details behind his final decision to walk away from Aaliyah’s posthumous project.

Well, I was that for Aaliyah. Aaliyah’s label Blackground—the Hankersons, her uncle and cousin—came to me and said if she was around she’d want you to do this [posthumous] project. I’ve been obsessed with Aaliyah forever, and I know Drake has his relationship with her. But that opportunity was mine. Drake said, “Can I do it with you?” and I was like, “Of course, we’ll do it together.” The world reacting to Drake’s involvement so negatively, I just wanted nothing to do with it. That was a very sad experience for me. I was naïve to the politics surrounding Aaliyah’s legacy and a bit ignorant to Timbaland’s relationship and everybody else involved and how they’d feel. Tim said to me “Don’t stop, make the album.” I think that was Tim taking the position of, “I’m not going to stop you. If you’re not going to do it, that’s your decision.” But ultimately, I wasn’t comfortable and didn’t like the stigma. We released [“Enough Said”], but I was seven songs deep. [Aaliyah’s] mother saying “I don’t want this out” was enough for me. I walked away very quickly.

Read more of 40’s interview at VIBE.

Photo Credit: Instagram

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