5th Ward Weebie, BlaqNmilD Score Points On Drake’s New No. 1 Single
Drake’s new hit single “Nice For What” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and it replaced his previous No. 1 hit single, “God’s Plan,” that also debuted at No. 1 and held the title for 11 weeks.
According to Billboard, Drake is the first lead artist ever in the United States to strike this chord, and the musical feat also measures up to fellow solo male artist Elvis Presley. They are now tied for charting 25 Top 10 singles.
What makes this Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor and entrepreneur’s song resonate from his 2018 album “Scorpion?” Pitching harmony with three New Orleans hip hop and bounce collaborators – 5th Ward Weebie, BlaqNmilD and Big Freedia.
“It's already a classic,” said vocalist 5th Ward Weebie (Jerome Henry Cosey) about “Nice For What.” “It implements so many different important pieces of music and reality. I feel like it’s our moment, so why not own it.”
“It gave me tears of joy because it’s like a dream come true,” said co-producer BlaqNmilD (Adam Pigott). “I’ve been working so hard and for so long, and I finally got that chance and pulled it off. This feeling makes me feel like I can do anything.”
5th Ward Weebie, a prolific New Orleans rapper, actor and record producer who has worked with Kane & Abel, Master P and Mystikal, started his music career creating bounce music, a New Orleans hip hop hybrid and regional form of urban dance music. BlaqNmilD is a native New Orleans music producer and lyricist who has worked with Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Master P, Mystikal and Snoop Dog. He doesn’t skip a beat thanking 5th Ward Weebie for this opus opportunity.
“Drake didn’t personally reach out to me,” said BlaqNmilD. “I was chosen by my homie 5th Ward Weebie because I’ve been the hottest producer in my city for the last 10 years and not just from bounce music but from actually producing different genres.”
“The feeling of being the co-producer on Drake’s ‘Nice For What’ feels special, and I’m honored,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. It feels incredible.”
Released on Friday, April 6, by Young Money Entertainment and Cash Money Records, Drake’s “Nice For What” is a hip hop and bounce medley that samples Lauryn Hill's 1998 song “Ex-Factor” and features clips from Big Freedia (Freddie Ross), another New Orleans bounce phenom whose choral overtures have transcended the mainstream and who will be performing Saturday, April 28, at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
“Nice For What” is the 30th song in Billboard history to enter the charts at No. 1.
“Drake gave bounce a chance,” said BlaqNmilD. “And he’s one of the biggest rappers of this decade, and it worked. Plus, he involved New Orleans musicians 100 percent, local New Orleans musicians who really do bounce music as a career. Big Freedia is the biggest face of bounce music and has gone far with it, and now this will push it further. I believe this is really the breakthrough for bounce music especially with me in the position I’m in now from this situation.”
“Meeting Drake was awesome,” said 5th Ward Weebie. “They really let me and BlaqNmilD be ourselves. And when you reach for something authentic and original, such as bounce, you have to find the real authentic people who’ve been consistent at what they do.”
“As soon as I walked up to Drake he already knew what he wanted, but he just didn’t know how he was going to get there,” said BlaqNmilD. “But he’s a fan of bounce music and he told me that he used to have bounce music in his playlist when he was a DJ. Now I don’t know if he meant when he plays music on his phone for him and his friends when he’s just chilling or when he’s actually DJing. I’m just saying, that’s what he told me. But it’s true he’s definitely into bounce music, and you gotta think he’s been around Lil Wayne and Baby and they’re from New Orleans so he’s hip to it.”
5th Ward Weebie, who’s also performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Saturday, May 5, said, “it was the right thing to do” for Drake to seek out bounce artists from “the bounce capital of the world” for this single, and the Grammy Award winning triple platinum artist is aptly capitalizing on hip hop and bounce’s growing popularity. “It’s addictive,” said 5th Ward Weebie. “Bounce music has been around for years, and mainstream artists and producers have been taking bits and pieces from the culture without really giving back to the culture like helping artists or producers from New Orleans push it forward. It’s our time, our moment. If you take a look into my resume I carry a few hits myself. Just listen to my songs ‘Bend It Ova,’ ‘Let Me Find Out’ or me featured with Partners-N-Crime on ‘So Attracted.’ There’s Juvenile’s ‘Back That Ass Up,’ and Choppa’s ‘Choppa Style,’ Big Freedia’s ‘Gin In My System,’ Partners-N-Crime’s ‘Pump Tha Party’ and DJ Jubilee’s ‘Get Ready, Ready.’ These are just a few of many New Orleans classic hit records that makes you want to move.”
“Yes, I personally met Drake,” said BlaqNmilD. “I hung out with him. I even visited his crib in Calabasas. I also kicked it with OVO Sound producer 40, and got knowledge on the production side. They both were very cool and nice people especially in this industry. We didn’t work in the studio together on the record, but we listened to my input in one of the studio rooms in his crib together. And before I left the crib with a crazy synthesizer 40 just up and gave me, it was confirmed that my input was definitely going to stay in the record.”
“Artists in the industry better hop on this train because this bounce sound is about to take over,” said BlaqNmilD. “And once it does it’s gotta be hard for any other genre to come back because bounce really involves all genres of music, and I truly feel like that’s why it took so long for the breakthrough because the world wasn’t ready for it. But now it’s the right time. And I promise, I ain’t letting up as long as my heart’s beating. Somebody tell Beyonce I’m looking for her to do a bounce record. My city is expecting her to do one ASAP.”
Collaborating on a No. 1 hit single can be a lucrative venture.
Local entertainment attorney Suzette Toledano, who runs her practice above The House of Blues nightclub in The French Quarter, advises there are writer’s shares, publishing and performance royalties, artist royalties, producer points, advances, credits and metadata to consider.
While the music business is generally discordant, both New Orleans artists said Drake was a maestro when it came to the art of the deal.
“I rather keep my business my business,” said 5th Ward Weebie. “All I'll say is Drake and his OVO Sound team are pretty fair guys in my book.”
“The deal was as fair as Drake could have made it,” said BlaqNmilD. “He made sure Freedia was happy, he made sure me and Weebie were happy, and yes, I have a percentage and everything else that a producer is supposed to have for composing a record. Just about everything about the situation is perfect besides the video not showing anything about New Orleans, but because the video was positive for the women nobody could hate on it so it’s cool. But next time we gotta show the city or what goes on when that bounce beat comes on.”
Drake’s music video for “Nice For What” was directed by Karena Evans, and gives many actresses, models, singers, dancers and social influencers big budget cameos including, and in this order, Olivia Wilde, Misty Copeland, Issa Rae, Rashida Jones, Jourdan Dunn, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tiffany Haddish, Yara Shahidi, Zoe Saldana, Elizabeth and Victoria Lejonhjärta, Letitia Wright, Bria Vinaite, Emma Roberts, Syd and Michelle Rodriguez.
5th Ward Weebie thinks the music video helped produce the single’s chorus of fans. “First, everyone loves Lauryn Hill, and that hit record ‘Ex-Factor’ is a classic,” he said. “Second, incorporating New Orleans bounce music and artists. Third, the song is uplifting for women and the ‘Me Too’ movement. I can go on and on. It’s simply a genius piece of work that’ll be around for a long time.”
“The energy Drake put in his part, that’s definitely a win for the single,” said BlaqNmilD. “And producers Murda Beatz’ and OVO’s 40’s input, they know how to make big records. Freedia and Weebie’s input, because they bring that energy on the vocal part, and my input just put the icing on the record with the awesome incredible bounce feel.”
“The same way we do it in New Orleans creating gumbo is exactly what we all did on this record,” he said. “And when you add real New Orleans flavors and spices to your life, this is what you get. And that’s why everyone likes this song, because it’s just that good. It’s undeniable.”