GQ: Tell me about some specific songs on So Far Gone. “Bria’s Interlude" has always fascinated me. Drake doesn’t even appear on the song.
Noah “40” Shebib: [Missy Elliott’s] “Friendly Skies" was one of my favorite songs from high school. I used to have a car with a system in it in high school, and it was one of my favorite things to play, driving through my neighborhood listening to that record. I had it on wax. We were at Remix, a place for high-priority neighborhood kids and at-risk youth in Toronto. That was our day job back then because we were trying to get on and poppin’. I had my records and players and I found that vinyl and just pitched it all the way down on the 1200 and it sounded so crazy! Right away, I just sampled and slipped it, and we sat on that beat for six months or so and at some point, leading up to So Far Gone, that record was produced and recorded in the hotel room at the Beverly Wilshire, which is where I released, mixed, and mastered So Far Gone. It was the January ‘09 Grammys and at the Beverly Wilshire, that was when Wayne cleaned up and we posted there for seven or eight days and had a room there and posted there with the Wayne tour. I have video footage of us in the room making the records. There’s a cool picture of Drake standing in front of the curtain with a microphone and it’s right out of the hotel room. Omarion was at the hotel at the time and dropped some vocals in the hotel room. I must have released that song like ten days after. Just vibes. Vibin’ out and smoked out in the Beverly Wilshire. Makin’ music, you know?
GQ: What else was made at that time?
Noah “40” Shebib: A lot of stuff was done in the Beverly Wilshire. The Peter Bjorn & John record [“Let’s Call It Off”] was done in there. Vocals, track, and record, all done. Four or five records were recorded there. Every single song on So Far Gone was mixed and mastered in Room 713 or 718 of the Beverly Wilshire hotel on a pair of AKG 240 headphones and a iHome clock radio.
GQ: Was that a totally unique experience?
Noah “40” Shebib: Most of our music is made—sometimes when we’re doing the big hits and pop stuff and we get a rush when we do it, but at the end of the day, we just kick back and do some R&B and that’s when we have the most fun and enjoy ourselves. There’ll be a moment like that on the album, but that’s what we truly enjoy.