×

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

  • Spanish tenor Placido Domingo during the

    Opera Singer Plácido Domingo Hospitalized with Coronavirus

    Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo has been hospitalized in Acapulco, Mexico, for coronavirus. “He is doing well and is responding to treatment,” Domingo’s spokesperson told CNN on Sunday. On March 22, the 79-year-old Domingo revealed via his Facebook page that he had tested positive for COVID-19. “I beg everyone to be extremely careful, follow the basic [...]

  • Richie Sambora

    Hipgnosis Songs Acquires Catalog From Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora

    Hipgnosis Songs has acquired a music catalog from Richie Sambora. The guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer is best known for his tenure as a member of Bon Jovi. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. According to an announcement released March 30, Hipgnosis has acquired 100% of Sambora’s [...]

  • Gerard Schurmann, Film and TV Composer,

    Gerard Schurmann, Film and TV Composer, Dies at 96

    Gerard Schurmann, whose 1960s film scores included “The Bedford Incident” and “Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow” but who also composed extensively for the concert hall, died March 24 at his home in the Hollywood Hills. The cause of death was not announced; he was 96. Schurmann’s death was announced by his music publisher, Novello & [...]

  • Micheal Stipe

    Michael Stipe Unveils Collaboration With The National’s Aaron Dessner (Watch)

    R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe took to YouTube today (March 29) to premiere what he described as the “first take” of “No Time for Love Like Now,” a new solo ballad written in collaboration with The National’s Aaron Dessner. In the clip, Stipe sings live over an electronic beat playing from an unseen speaker. Although written last [...]

  • john prine

    John Prine Reported in Critical Condition With Coronavirus Symptoms

    Singer-songwriter John Prine, who received a Grammy lifetime achievement award this year, is in critical condition with symptoms of coronavirus, his family relayed via his Twitter account Sunday. “After a sudden onset of Covid-19 symptoms, John was hospitalized on Thursday (3/26),” the statement from the Prine family said. “He was intubated Saturday evening, and continues [...]

  • Joe Diffie12th Annual ACM Honors, Show,

    Joe Diffie, '90s Country Music Star, Dies of Coronavirus at 61

    Joe Diffie, an icon to many country fans for his string of No. 1 hits in the 1990s, has died from complications related to the coronavirus, a spokesperson revealed Sunday afternoon. He was 61. “Grammy-winning country music legend Joe Diffie passed away today, Sunday, March 29, from complications of coronavirus (COVID-19),” the statement read simply. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content