×

Inside the Divine Inspiration Behind Drake’s ‘God’s Plan’

As much as competitors might want to credit something otherworldly for Drake’s all-out dominance in 2018, it wasn’t so much a higher spirit at work as the well-oiled machine that is Aubrey Graham Inc. “God’s Plan,” the top song of the year with a consumption total of 5.5 million, started with a leaked snippet that instantly garnered a strong reaction.

“It was clear [right away] what we had,” says Drake’s longtime producer Noah “40” Shebib, who is credited on the track alongside Cardo, Yung Exclusive and Boi-1da. “We knew it had to be released.”

The next lightbulb moment came with the concept for the video, during which Drake doled out nearly $1 million, the clip’s allotted budget, to needy recipients in the Miami area and beyond, including a local high school, homeless shelter, grocery store and a student struggling with tuition fees. “Don’t tell the label,” the title screen teased. The video premiered in February, a month after the song’s debut, and so far has racked up more than 875 million views on YouTube alone.

“The video was a really special moment for all of us,” Shebib says. “And possibly more real than anyone will ever understand.”

“God’s Plan,” with its endlessly quotable lyrics — “I only love my bed and my mama, I’m sorry” — also showed a vulnerable side to the Toronto rapper. To wit, the lines: “I been movin’ calm, don’t start no trouble with me / Tryna keep it peaceful is a struggle for me,” and the refrain, “A lot of bad things … they wishin’ on me.” The song’s accessibility carried it over to Top 40 and Rhythm, where it’s nearing 3 billion radio impressions to date.

Leading the Drake charge at Republic were exec VP and general manager Jim Roppo, exec VP of commerce, streaming and digital strategy Kevin Lipson; and executive VP of international marketing Mike Alexander. The strategy, to create multiple marketing events through advertising, digital initiatives and a video roll-out campaign, included a global takeover of Spotify. The album art to “Scorpion” covered more than 100 playlists, including every Hits playlist around the world and, between “God’s Plan,” “In My Feelings” and “Nice for What,” Drake claimed the top spot on the streamer’s chart for more than 150 days.

“Songs need a reason to exist,” says Shebib. “’God’s Plan’ was exactly that.”

More Music

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    It'll Take a 'Village' to Salute the Kinks at Tribute Show Saturday

    The Kinks’ classic 1968 album “The Village Green Preservation Society” has always needed some fervent champions to keep its reputation alive, or even to keep it in print, in the 50 years since it first came out and proved to be a massive flop. You could give a name to the fervent cult that’s made [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Turns Himself in to Chicago Police

    R. Kelly, who was indicted Friday afternoon on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims, turned himself in to a Chicago police station on Friday night. He is set to appear for a bond hearing on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/7k9VvbTPjg — Megan Crepeau (@crepeau) February 23, 2019 The incidents — in which three of [...]

  • Gary Clark Jr This Land

    Album Review: Gary Clark Jr.'s 'This Land'

    Not that many years ago, people were talking about Gary Clark Jr. in terms of his ability to revive a fairly commercially moribund genre: the blues. But his third full-length studio album, “This Land,” makes good on his potential to make a record that fits quite nicely within the larger realm of mainstream rock ‘n’ [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Is ‘Going Down Hard,’ Criminal-Defense Attorney Predicts

    When R. Kelly was arrested on child-pornography charges in 2002, after a videotape emerged that purported to show him having sex with an underage girl, he managed to have the case dismissed through a combination of skillful lawyering, repeated delays (the verdict did not come down for six years), and the fact that the girl [...]

  • Carrie Underwood House

    Carrie Underwood Lists Former Mansion Outside Nashville (EXCLUSIVE)

    Pop country music queen Carrie Underwood has listed her lavishly appointed mansion in a guard-gated golf course development in the affluent suburban community of Brentwood, Tenn., about 20 miles south of downtown Nashville, for $1.45 million. The seven-time Grammy winning fourth season “American Idol” winner isn’t seeking much profit on the property she bought for [...]

  • Here’s How Much Money 10 Artists

    Here’s How Much Money 10 Artists Are Owed by PledgeMusic

    For eight years, PledgeMusic was a success story: A direct-to-fan platform where artists worked directly with their audiences to fund their albums, tours and all stripes of merchandise, with fans able to purchase everything from custom guitar picks to private concerts. Yet last June, Variety broke the news that the company is struggling to pay [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content