This track from Drake's sophomore release Take Care finds the Canadian MC coming over all introspective and, "having a hard time adjusting to fame." We hear the Toronto native drunk dialing an ex-girlfriend he still cares for who has found another man. He croons over a muted production: "I'm just saying you can do better/ Tell me have you heard that lately/ I'm just saying you can do better/ And I'll stop hating only if you make me."
Singer/songwriter JoJo recorded a female version, titled "Marvin's Room (Can't Do Better)." "I was drawn by the boldness and honesty of Drake's lyrics," JoJo told Billboard magazine. "If something speaks to me, I get the itch to take a stab at it."
The Paris-based Canadian pianist and producer Chilly Gonzales played the piano outro. They first met in 2010, through Gonzales' father, who lives in the same building as the Toronto MC, though Drake had previously sampled the pianist's song "The Tourist" on his 2009 mixtape, So Far Gone.
Gonzales broke a world record for the longest solo-artist performance on May 18, 2009, at the Ciné 13 Théâtre in Paris with a total time of 27 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds.
Speaking to MTV's RapFix, Boi-1da recalled his contribution "To be honest, the creative process for 'Headlines' actually came from me goofing off. I wasn't really in the mood to make a beat, but I forced myself to," he said. "It was very simple melody wise and I just put some nasty drums on it and sent it over to Drake, as I do with all the beats that I make. I had no idea he would like it, even for a first single. The beat knocks yes--but it was definitely made in a very carefree atmosphere."
A woman named Ericka Lee filed a suit in a Los Angeles court on February 2, 2012, claiming she and Drake shared both a romantic and professional relationship from early 2010 until mid-2011. She alleged that during that time, the pair collaborated on several song lyrics and recorded the hook and opening monologue for this track and it was agreed she would be paid 50% of "Marvin's Room" proceeds for her contribution. Drake, however, reportedly only offered Lee 4 to 5 percent of the publishing, plus $50,000. According to Drake's rep, Lee asked only to be credited as 'Syren Lyric Muse,' and did not ask for any compensation. It was only after she retained a lawyer that there was a demand for payment. A "Syren Lyric Muse" is credited for "additional vocals" on Take Care's liner notes.
Drake and Lee eventually settled their differences and the case was dismissed on February 2, 2013, but the terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
Drake revealed in an interview with CBC that though he often deals with heartbreak in his music, it doesn't mean that he is lonely in his personal life. "I'm so sick of people saying that I'm like lonely and emotional, and associating me with this like longing for a woman," the Toronto MC exclaimed.
"I hate that, it bothers me so much," Drake added, 'cause I do make music that makes you feel something, but I'm actually not that guy in real life, I'm happy... I'm very excited, my life is constantly exciting it's not some sad depressing story."
"As far as the soundscapes go," he continued, "that's just the music that I chose to make, I make music strictly for the purpose of driving at night time."