How Drake and 21 Savage Found the ‘Perfect Beat’ for ‘Rich Flex’

by info.vocallyrics@gmail.com
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Michael “Finatik” Mule and Isaac “Zac” De Boni, better known as the production duo FnZ, were scouring YouTube for fresh sounds when a clip from the obscure ’70s horror movie “Invasion of the Bee Girls” caught their attention. They turned a portion of the soundtrack into a spooky sample, which would eventually accompany the viral hook — “21, can you do something for me?” — on Drake and 21 Savage’s “Rich Flex,” which is No. 22 on Variety‘s 2023 Hitmakers Top 25.

Not that it seemed exceptional at the time: The Australian sample specialists chopped it up and added some keys — and then forgot about it. “It was one out of 10 ideas we made that day,” Mule says.

Months later, the duo reached out to hip-hop heavyweight Vinylz about working together. He asked for ideas, and they sent a folder including 15 samples — two of which would go on to be used for “Rich Flex”: their flip of “Invasion of the Bee Girls” and a snippet of Sugar’s 1973 soul single “I Want You, Girl,” which they transformed with co-producer BoogzDaBeast. “They were completely separate ideas intended for different beats and different artists,” Mule says.

But Vinylz (Anderson Hernandez), who the duo dubs a “madman and creative genius” saw things differently. “Drake hit me saying he wanted an anthem for the album,” Vinylz says of 2022’s “Her Loss,” a collaborative project with 21 Savage. “He already knew what he wanted to say, he just needed the perfect beat for it.”

So Vinylz got to work. “I flipped these two sample chops I had from FnZ and BoogzDaBeast (Jahmal Gwin), and then decided to blend both of them,” he explains. The Canadian superstar requested that the drums be tweaked — he wanted something “more impactful” — and tinkered with the outro. “Drake added a switch-up beat at the end produced by my brother Tay Keith (Brytavious Lakeith Chambers), and the rest is history,” Vinylz summarizes.

“Rich Flex” was never intended to be a single; that honor went to “Circo Loco,” while streaming platforms pushed “Pussy & Millions.” However, there was a rumbling from TikTok as “21, can you do something for me?” started to go viral on the back of memes that gently sent up Drake. Not that he seemed to mind very much. “I think Drake embraces that side of it,” De Boni muses. “He can’t even eat breakfast without someone making a meme out of it.”

The memes helped. “Rich Flex” started to outperform the album’s singles, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it would spend three weeks behind Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero.” FnZ puts the song’s success down to its unusual structure. “It starts off with this beautiful, sweet soul sample from the ’70s,” Mule says, “and then it just drops into this really dark, almost evil-sounding beat.”

Vinylz concurs. “The energy just kept building with each switch from beginning to end along with Drake and 21’s super catchy quotable lines.” And then, there’s the sample that soundtracked hundreds of thousands of “creates.” FnZ knows that finding and flipping them is one of their greatest strengths, and they have no intention of slowing down.

“It’s something we’ve honed in on and gotten, we believe, really good at,” Mule says. “We love being the ones to find or create these samples that no one has done before.”

SONGWRITERS: A. Graham, S. Bin Abraham-Joseph, A. Hernandez, T. B. Chambers, M. Mule, I. De Boni, J. Gwin, C. Bernstein, Megan Pete, B.D. Session Jr., A.G. White, G. Hayes, C. Harris, A. Davis

PRODUCERS: Vinylz, Tay Keith, FNZ, BoogzDaBeast

HITMAKERS:
Vinylz, producer
FnZ, producers
Tim Hrycyshyn, senior VP, digital strategy, Republic
Mike Horton, exec VP, promotion, Republic
Davey Dee, senior VP, rhythm cross promotion, Republic

LABEL: Republic

PUBLISHERS: Sandra Gale (GMR) adm. by Universal Music Works / Slaughter Gang Publishing, LLC / Administered by BMG Rights Management (ASCAP) / VIRGOAT / Admin by WC Music Corp. (ASCAP) / Lakeith Legacy Publishing/Warner Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI) / MJM 87 Publishing / These Are Pulse Songs (BMI). Administered worldwide by Concord Music Publishing / MJM 87 Publishing / These Are Pulse Songs (BMI). Administered worldwide by Concord Music Publishing / Jahmal Gwin / BoardMemberz Music, LLC / Sony-ATV (BMI) Turnstyle Music (ASCAP) / Songs of Universal (BMI) / Sony/ATV Songs, LLC (BMI) / Songs of Kobalt Music Publishing (BMI) / Underground Music (BMI) / Domani and Ya Majesty’s Music (ASCAP) / Sony/ATV Allegro (ASCAP) / Aldrin Davis Publishing Designee (BMI) / Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp (BMI)

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