Rapper Drake may be in hot water for not clearing a sample of an underground Baltimore club vocalist and rapper on his new album.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Ryeisha Berrain, who performed under the name Rye Rye in the mid-2000s, says the Canadian rapper sampled her saying “What?” on his song “Currents.”
Berrain, a mom living in Laurel, Maryland now, notes the Grammy award-winner used the piece of a song titled “Shake it to the Ground,” which she recorded in 2007 with the DJ Blaqstarr when she was 15 years old.
As a teen, Berrain was a vital member of the Baltimore club scene and helped make the indigenous sound of the city famous for fusing house music and Hip-Hop.
So successful and impactful was Rye Rye as an artist, that British rapper M.I.A. collaborated with her on the song “Bang.” She left the biz over a decade ago and is now raising her four children, ages 12, 8, and 6-year-old twins.
One of her young ones first recognized her voice on Champagne Papi’s new project. While driving to school, the family listened to the artist’s new album Honestly, Nevermind album. On the trip, the 8-year-old son asked, “Mom is that you?”
Berrain instantly recognized her voice.
“Dang, Drake’s really got me on the record. Honestly, I was crying and smiling at the same time,” Berrain said.
The B-more club icon turned mom said that at first, she was proud that Drizzy used her voice, but after thinking about the whole picture, she became “disappointed.”
“If you’re shedding light on the culture and you happen to bring it to the masses, why not credit people from that culture that you sampled from,” said Berrain. “That’s why I’m like ‘Are you really for the culture?'”
She contacted the song producer, Gordo, and DJ Carnage, a former Maryland resident. When they didn’t get back to her, she went to the publishing company, Sony.
The publisher requested the producer Blaqstarr to end the original file, or stem, from “Shake it to the Ground.”
Upon receipt, Berrain was asked if she would be open to receiving a percentage for the record. Blaqstarr and Berrain are reportedly in a tentative agreement to receive portions from the sale of the song.
For Berrain, it is not about the money, but respect.
“I’m not even worried about the financial part. I’ve always done music for fun. I’m not really worried about accolades,” she explained. “I feel respected being credited because I feel like I’ve worked hard for years.”
“In a perfect world, Drake has to fly out to Baltimore and actually use Baltimore dancers for his video,” she said.