Within a catalog of his own hits, Drake has also handed plenty of songs off throughout the past decade, from a number of collaborations with Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Alicia Keys, and one-off tracks for Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, and Jamie Foxx. The rapper has pivoted around pop and R&B and hip-hop with ease.
Here are eight songs you may not have known Drake wrote for other artists.
“The One,” Mary J. Blige, featuring Drake (2009)
Written by Drake, Mary J. Blige, Ester Dean, Rodney Jerkins
The lead single off Blige’s ninth album, Stronger with Each Tear, “The One” was co-written by Blige, Drake, R&B singer Ester Dean and producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. Blige called the track one of “the most successful” of her career. “I loved working with Drake,” said Blige, who said the song also introduced “Crazy Mary,” which is her vocals on auto-tune.
“I’m Single,” Lil Wayne (2009)
Written by Drake and Lil Wayne
Released as a single off Lil Wayne’s ninth mixtape, No Ceilings, and on his eighth album, I Am Not a Human Being, “I’m Single” was originally released under the title “Single” but later changed. Produced by Noah “40” Shebib, along with Omen (Drake, Beyoncé), the song was originally one Drake planned to use himself before giving it to Wayne.
“Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready),” Alicia Keys (2010)
Written by Alicia Keys, Drake, Kerry Brothers Jr., Noah “40” Shebib
The sultry ballad off Keys’ fourth album The Element of Freedom, immediately reached the top of the Billboard R&B charts and was not the first time Keys and Drake worked together. The pair collaborated, along with Noah “40” Shebib, on Drake’s track “Fireworks” off his 2010 debut Thank Me Later. In an interview, Drake admitted that the track was about Nicki Minaj. “It is [about Minaj], I’m not gonna lie,” said Drake. “The concept came from a conversation that we had, or conversations we have. I wrote it based off two things: number one, based off that; and then two, based off Alicia and Swizz and their situation, and it just seemed fitting. It was like the perfect concept.”
“Fall For Your Type,” Jamie Foxx, featuring Drake (2010)
Written by Drake, Noah Shebib, and Noel Campbell
Off Jamie Foxx’s fourth album, Best Night of My Life, the actor and singer released “Fall For Your Type” as one of the three singles and hit No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The track was originally recorded by Drake for his own 2010 debut, Thank Me Later, but never made the cut.
“I Been That Girl,” Melanie Fiona (2012)
Written by Drake and Tyler Williams
Once part of the group The Renaissance when he was coming up in Toronto, and during his Degrassi Junior High days, when the group parted ways, Drake later co-wrote “I’ve Been That Girl” for former Renaissance member, and Grammy-winning singer Melanie Fiona. The track was never released as a single but was featured on Fiona’s second album, The MF Life, which included a number of collaborations like a duet with John Legend and other featured artists J. Cole, T-Pain, and Nas.
“R.I.P.,” Rita Ora (2012)
Written by Drake, Rita Ora, Tor Hermansen, Mikkel Eriksen, Patrick Okogwu, Saul Milton, Farhad Samadzada, Renee Wisdom, Will Kennard
Featuring British rapper Tinie Tempah, Rita Ora released “R.I.P.” as the lead single off her 2012 album, Ora, which hit No. 1 on the U.K. charts. “I love No Doubt and Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen,” said Ora of her more pop- and dance-driven release. “It’s old school mixed with a pop kind of stream with a grit. It’s got attitude to it but it’s not ignorant. It’s just a cool album in my eyes.”
“Mine,” Beyoncé, featuring Drake (2013)
Written by Drake, Beyoncé Knowles, Noah Shebib, Jordan Ullman, Sidney Brown, Dwane Weir
Mixing some elements of afro beats, trap, and hip-hop, “Mine” was released on Beyoncé’s fifth self-titled album and addresses doubts on motherhood and marriage—Took a trip to clear my mind / Now I’m even more lost… Been having conversations about breakups and separations / I’m not feeling like myself since the baby / Are we gonna even make it?
“30 Hours” Kanye West, featuring Andre 3000 (2016)
Written by Drake, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Karriem Riggins, Mike Dean, Charles Arthur Russell, Cornell Haynes, Jason Epperson, Charles L. Brown, Isaac Hayes
Already longtime collaborators, Drake co-wrote two tracks—“30 Hours” and “Facts”—off Ye’s seventh album, Life of Pablo. The song, which reached No. 4 on the Bubbling Under Hip-Hop//R&B Singles chart, samples the 1986 Arthur Russell song “Answers Me” and drums from the 1973 Isaac Hayes single “Joy,” with both credited on the track.
Photo: Chris McKay / Republic Records