D.R.A.M. Says Drake “Jacked” “Hotline Bling” From Him

Drake - "Hotline Bling" Video
Check out Drake's GIF-ready dance moves.

Right now, “Hotline Bling” seems likely to become Drake’s first-ever Billboard #1 single. But when he first shared the song in July, most of us (including the Twitter of Beats 1, the station that debuted the song — and, yes, including us too) assumed that “Hotline Bling” was a remix of “Cha Cha,” the massive out-of-nowhere hit that the Virginia sing-rapper D.R.A.M. released earlier this year. As it turns out, the two songs are just surface-level similar. They both have enthusiastic melodies over chintzy synthetic-sounding salsa beats. But “Hotline Bling” is its own song, with its own melody and its own beat. It doesn’t sample D.R.A.M.’s song; it samples a sped-up version of Timmy Thomas’ 1973 song “Why Can’t We Live Together.” Last night, when Drake released the dance-happy video for “Hotline Bling,” D.R.A.M. happened to be playing his first-ever show in Drake’s Toronto hometown, opening for Chance The Rapper’s Family Matters tour. And after the show, he jumped on Twitter to talk about how he felt his sound had been “jacked.”

Erykah Badu, who recorded her own version of “Hotline Bling,” also Tweeted about it.

UPDATE: The Fader talked to Drake about the resemblance between “Cha Cha” and “Hotline Bling” while interviewing him for their recent cover story, and in light of D.R.A.M.’s tweets, they have published Drake’s comments on the issue. He seems to acknowledge the influence of “Cha Cha,” comparing “Hotline Bling” to when dancehall artists record different songs over the same riddim:

You know, like in Jamaica, you’ll have a riddim and it’s like, everyone has to do a song on that. Imagine that in rap, or imagine that in R&B. Imagine if we got one beat and every single person — me, this guy, this guy, all these guys — had to do a song on that one beat. So sometimes I’ll pick a beat that’s a bit, like, sunnier, I guess is the word you used, than usual, and I just try my hand at it. And that’s kind of what “Hotline Bling” was. And I loved it. It’s cool. I’ve been excited by that sort of creative process.

Tags: D.R.A.M., Drake