Light Up
by Drake (featuring Jay-Z)

Album: Thank Me Later (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • On this song Drake raps about his fast ascent to the top of his game and promises to never let fame change him, while Jay-Z gives him some words of advice. "It's just me and Jay both rapping on it for an extended period of time," Drake told MTV News. "It's real rap. I do sing on it, but it's just on the hook - but it's rap. It's great. The perspective, the dynamic on the track - it's me and Jay's relationship on the song, basically. When you hear it, people will be like, 'Oh man.' That's how we are - just the two. He definitely has guided me a lot, as far as his words and his advice. We have a real funny rapport. I always enjoy my conversations with Jay. It's good."
  • The song was produced by Drake's fellow Toronto based hip-hop and R&B production team Tone Mason and co-produced by another Toronto cohort Noah "40" Shebib. The Canadian rapper explained to MTV News how it came to fruition: "When I heard that beat, the drums that they had come up with, it was like, 'Man, this is a moment,' " he said. "This sounds like where I'm at in my life.' So, we took it and 40 did what he does to pieces of music that I see potential in - he took it to the next spot. Jay-Z's on it. The song is phenomenal. It's done now."
  • Drake explained the collaboration to MTV News; " 'Light Up' really came from, Jay had a busy year, obviously, with The Blueprint 3 and the success of that and the tour. So we didn't do it in the same room. But me and Jay have a lot of great conversations, man. So it would never just be like, 'I'm gonna send you something, and we're not gonna talk about it, and you send it back. We really talked about it.
    And Jay's joint on the album is so important on the album, because it's another turning point. Whereas "Over" is a turning point for me, 'Light Up,' I think it's one of my favorite Jay verses. Jay not only gave me a great verse, but a life lesson. And I think he's gonna give everybody a life lesson just about this business. It's incredible."
  • This is not the first collaboration between Drake and Jay-Z. The pair previously worked together on Jay-Z's 2009 track "Off That." That song, however, only featured Drake on the hook instead of contributing a verse alongside Hov.
  • The main version features just Drake and Jay-Z, but a re-mix of the song was done featuring a verse by the incarcerated Lil Wayne. The Cash Money Records superstar's freestyle rhyme was recorded over the prison phone.
  • In an interview with MTV2's Sucker Free, Drake revealed that he originally used the verse on a collaboration with Kanye West protégé Big Sean when the words were more aggressive. "My verse was way harder on 'Light Up' before," The Toronto MC explained. "I had done a song, and nothing was supposed to happen with it, and it leaked. The bars from the song were so hard, it was a song with Big Sean ['Made It']. There were some bars on the song that fit better with 'Light Up' and made so much more sense. And the last night before mastering, I had to go in and switch the first 12 bars. On 'Light Up,' I lost my footing a bit, and Jay came in and killed me."

Comments: 2

  • Robert from Goldsboro, Beninit's a good song
  • Jay from Indianapolis, InThis might be my new favorite song by Drake. I find myself humming it at work. Lol. And I love what Jay-Z had to say. His verse really stuck with me.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Barry Dean ("Pontoon," "Diamond Rings And Old Barstools")

Barry Dean ("Pontoon," "Diamond Rings And Old Barstools")Songwriter Interviews

A top country songwriter, Barry talks about writing hits for Little Big Town, Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean.

Psychedelic Lyrics

Psychedelic LyricsMusic Quiz

Whoa man! Do you know which band came up with these cosmic lyrics?

George Clinton

George ClintonSongwriter Interviews

When you free your mind, your ass may follow, but you have to make sure someone else doesn't program it while it's wide open.

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In Songs

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In SongsSong Writing

Songs where something goes horribly wrong (literally or metaphorically), and help is needed right away.

Eric Clapton

Eric ClaptonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really write "Cocaine" while on cocaine? This question and more in the Clapton edition of Fact or Fiction.

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot

Jon Foreman of SwitchfootSongwriter Interviews

Switchfoot's frontman and main songwriter on what inspires the songs and how he got the freedom to say exactly what he means.