Behind the Beats: Pop and Oak
Fans might not know Pop and Oak by name, but they damn sure know their beats. Trey Songz’s “Unusual,” Big Sean and Kanye West’s “Marvin & Chardonnay” and, of course, Nicki Minaj‘s 2010 single “Your Love” are just a few of the duo’s hits.
Now they’re up for a Grammy thanks to their work on Nicki’s Pink Friday,which is nominated in the Best Rap Album category.
Pop, a Philadelphia native, and his production partner, Oak, who hails from Istanbul, Turkey, have been working as a duo since 2008, back when they first produced “Your Love” for a then-emerging Minaj. ” ‘Your Love’ was a song that didn’t make Beam Me Up Scotty, the mixtape,” Pop told Mixtape Daily.
Nicki was super-critical of her performance on the song, but after it eventually leaked at the top of 2010, there was no stopping it — well, there was one little obstacle to clear. The original leaked version featured a sample of Annie Lennox’s 1995 version of “No More I Love You’s,” but after the U.K. singer wouldn’t clear the sample, Pop and Oak had to come up with an alternative.
“They didn’t let us clear the sample, so the version that leaked wasn’t the version that got on the radio. We ended up re-creating it,” Oak said.
The duo redid the sample a little too well, it seemed. Even after the switch-up, Lennox’s lawyers continued to reach out, thinking Nicki’s new version of “Your Love” still incorporated the sample. “They thought what they were hearing on the radio was still the master,” Oak said.
“Annie Lennox thought she was hearing herself, which was fly as hell,” Pop added.