TSU

Album: Certified Lover Boy (2021)
Charted: 9
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Songfacts®:

  • Here, Drake recounts the story of a stripper who's trying to break away from her job. The girl's parents have cut off all ties with their daughter because of her stripping, but Drake is willing to financially support her attempts to go legit.
  • The song is similar in narrative to Drake's 2011 Take Care cut "The Real Her." That song finds the Toronto MC falling for a stripper. His friends try to convince him not to buy her out of her job just so he can date her.
  • The title of this stripper-ode comes from OG Ron C's intro, where he shouts out ladies from various parts of Texas. He includes two of the Houston area's black universities, Prairie View A&M University, and TSU (Texas Southern University).
  • Drake's love affair with Houston started on November 18, 2008, when he flew to the Texas city and had his first meeting with Lil Wayne. He subsequently opened for Weezy on his Tha Carter III tour and signed to his Young Money label. He recounts the story on his 2009 So Far Gone track "November 18th."

    Drake gives further props to Houston by sampling DJ Screw's voice for backing vocals. DJ Screw created Houston's chopped and screwed DJ technique, which gave the city its defining, syrupy sound.

    Drake also raps about his affection for Houston's women and their club scene on the Certified Lover Boy track "N 2 Deep."
  • Harley Arsenault, Noel Cadastre and OG Ron C's production contains samples of three tracks:

    The video version of R. Kelly's 1998 single "Half On A Baby."

    NSYNC's cover of Christopher Cross' "Sailing."

    Justin Timberlake's 2007 single "Until The End Of Time."
  • "'TSU" uses the same symphonic intro found on "Half On A Baby" at the 20-second mark, earning R. Kelly a songwriting credit. Some questioned the sample because when Certified Lover Boy was released, Kelly was on trial in Brooklyn federal court for racketeering, sex trafficking and child pornography.

    A demo version of the song under the title "Not Around" has been on the internet since 2018, predating the 2019 docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which detailed sexual abuse allegations against the singer and led to his court case.

    Drake's long-term collaborator Noah "40" Shebib provided some insight into why the sample was used. "At the beginning is a sample of OG Ron C talking. Behind that faintly which you can't even hear is an R Kelly song playing in the background. It has no significance no lyrics are present. Kelly's voice isn't even present but if we wanted to use Ron C talking we were forced to license it."
  • NSYNC member Chris Kirkpatrick told Variety he wasn't sure why Drake chose their version of "Sailing" instead of Christopher Cross' original. "If I could guess why Drake does what he does, I could be Drake," he commented. "I guess he had an idea, went with it and it worked perfectly."

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