Rolling Stone: Noah “40” Shebib & his fight against Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Yesterday, Noah “40” Shebib fans were blessed by an incredible in-depth interview with the OVO producer by Rolling Stone staff writer Charles Holmes.
The close to 6,000 word article brings out a much more personal side of 40 than what we generally don’t get to see, and puts a large focus on his battle with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease he was diagnosed when he was 22. He’s 37 now.
The article discusses 40’s come up in the early 2000’s and provides an insane level of detail on a variety of subjects including (but not limited to): mentoring under Noel “Gadget” Campbell, getting the name “40” from Rexdale legends Illy (RIP) and Payback (RIP), meeting Drake and Oliver El-Khatib, the birth of So Far Gone and OVO’s game changing sound, realizing acting wasn’t for him, not being born in October, ranking Drake’s discography, Dark Lane Demo Tape, new releases from PARTYNEXTDOOR, dvsn, and so much more. Pretty much any diehard 40/OVO/Drake fan is going to want to take this in as it reveals all kinds of behind the scenes OVO info that previously wasn’t public knowledge.
You can head over to Rolling Stone to check it out, but we’ve pulled some of our favourites quotes from the story to give you a sense of what it’s all about:
The Public Health Agency of Canada defines MS as “a disease of the central nervous system. The immune system attacks myelin (protective covering of the nerves) in the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves, which disrupts communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body.” The agency’s website states that there are currently more than 77K Canadians aged 20 years and older currently living with MS, with almost three quarters being women. As of 2018, Canada had the highest rate of MS in the world according to Statistics Canada.
Holmes’ article on Rolling Stone starts out by describing in detail 40’s experience with MS while touring and recording, and the toll it ultimately took on his body:
“I crashed and burned on the last [Drake] tour at one point after a show. You could’ve cut me open with a razor blade, I would have no idea. They wheeled me out of there in a wheelchair and I was at the hospital. Went back this summer for the first time in 10 years. I went to go see the doctors. I went and got an MRI.”
Lately, 40 has been medicating with a strain of weed called BLLRDR (pronounced Bullrider). He partnered with a company called Robes Cannabis to begin the process of putting it in dispensaries across Canada:
“I have no ambition to sell marijuana. That’s not who I am. That’s not where I want to be with my life. BLLRDR is different. That’s not getting into the game to have a cannabis company and make money. This is a life-changing product that I need to help deliver to the world. When you smoke weed, you get really stoned and tired and burnt out and want to go to bed all that shit. When you smoke this, that doesn’t happen. It still has all the pain reduction, medicinal effects. Most important to me is that you can function. You can smoke a joint and go to work and be really productive.”
The Name “40” (aka “40 Days and 40 Nights”)
40 was given his name by two artists from Rexdale, Payback and Illy, who have sadly both been killed in recent years. 40 met them at the home of engineer and producer Noel “Gadget” Campbell, who 40 called Canada’s “godfather of hip-hop.”
“These guys are going out and hustling and doing whatever they’re doing. I think they’re probably in studio with me, and then they leave and then they come back at like five o’clock in the morning, and I’m still there working. Then they fall asleep on the couch and they wake up at like 11 o’clock, and I’m still working. And that’s when they were like, ‘You’re 40 days and 40 nights! You never stop.'”
“In my family, child acting was not a glorious thing. It was work. I know Corey Haim and Corey Feldman were shooting a movie on the same set as me. They were in the next trailer with a bunch of coke and whores… People in these situations of fame and success can still struggle with their own personal issues. You’re not naïve. You’re not protected.”
In the clip below from The Virgin Suicides, 40 is the character wearing the green and white collared shirt.
Investing in the Movement
“I was enabling things from a financial standpoint a lot of the time in the early, early days. I was paying for lots of stuff and racking up big debts on the street, but I had resources on the street, so it was okay. I could pull 50 grand, 100 grand. That’s why I never did a publishing deal.”
The So Far Gone Sound
“What they’re talking about is a plug-in that I use called lo-fi, low-fidelity. It’s reducing the sample rate, therefore the quality of the recording. Equivalent to rolling off the top end or making it muddier or sound like you’re listening to the speakers of a club from behind the wall. [I wanted] a sound around Drake so that his vocal could cut, so you could understand every fucking word perfectly, because I thought his words were so important and this was a space now that he could exist completely in the front, and everything else would be in the back supporting it.”
Protecting Drake’s Legacy
“I don’t like talking about Drake’s music. It’s not my music. I don’t want to offend my friend [or] speak out of turn, right? It’s not my project. It’s his. I’m respectful of my best friend, who I made all this music with, and I protect his legacy and his right to define that legacy.”
The Weeknd’s Contributions to Take Care
“There’s, like, 22 songs on Take Care. He contributed on four of them. There are 18 other songs on there where that guy was nowhere to be found, right? So it’s like, ‘Yeah, cool and you contributed to a few records on Take Care. Significant records, sure, but it was a few. It wasn’t a lot.’ It’s a common misconception. I made that whole album. I saw Abel maybe two days. I was in there for like a year.”
Read the full story on Rolling Stone.
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