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The-Dream Delivers A Retrospective On His Career In Genius’ New Interview Series ‘Genius Level’

He broke down his role in some of the biggest hits of the 2000s.

On May 16, Terius “The-Dream” Nash linked up with Genius for the first installment of Genius Level, a new in-depth conversation and interview series with some of the biggest names in music. The inaugural event was hosted by Genius' own Rob Markman and sponsored by Levi’s, 1800 Tequila, and Tidal. In the wide-ranging interview that stretched over an hour, The-Dream reflected on his role in the creation of a huge number of hits throughout his 15+ years in the music industry.

One of the first topics The-Dream addressed was his mother, who died when he was 15 years old. He explained that her life and passing had a profound effect on him. “I’m never going to get her back, the same way we’re never going to get Michael [Jackson] back,” he said. “These are people. We have gifts and we have talents, but we can’t hold each other above anybody else.” He also cited artists like Lionel Richie, Diane Warren, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Michael Jackson, 2Pac, and The Notorious B.I.G. as those who influenced his musical style.

He touched on several hits he created with Beyoncé, most notably her 2008 smash “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” which he credited to his late mother. “My mother gave birth to me when she was 19,” he said. “All her friends were there at the house talking about women problems with men, usually… But I was just previewed to a lot of conversations and a lot of sensitive points from a woman’s standpoint so I was able without knowing to keep that in me to be able to deliver it through songs.”

Later on, The-Dream also explained Bey’s 2011 song “1+1,” which was originally supposed to appear on his 2007 album Love vs. Money before L.A. Reid told him to cut it. “It was just there on the hard drive floating there amongst the rest of the seas of songs,” he recalled. “Because at that point it was: if I wasn’t going to sing it, I wasn’t going to give it to someone else because I didn’t think anyone else could sing it.” Eventually, Roc Nation’s Chaka Pilgrim convinced him to play it for Bey, who loved it instantly. The-Dream even revealed that Bey is sitting on more than 50 unreleased songs that he won’t give to anyone else.

The-Dream broke down his role in a wide array of hit songs, including Jay Z and Justin Timberlake’s “Holy Grail,” Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” “That record was done in an act of, what I would like to imagine Muhammad Ali on the ropes,” he said about “Umbrella,” explaining that he was out of his publishing deal and struggling with money when he wrote the song. “I maybe had to go back and change four words, but I sung it from the top to the end exactly as is, how you hear the song today.”

Towards the end of the evening, The-Dream addressed questions from Genius contributors BigBabyGOAT-116, Theonlydjorkaeff, and Shy-Ink, who wondered why he and Drake hadn’t worked together since “Shut It Down” in 2010. “I think when the next album came along—since people want to know why we never worked together again—I asked him to get on a record, and he never got on the record,” he said. “So I’m only gonna ask you once, especially when I’ve already done something for you. So that went through his people directly to him and whatever that thing was, that was it. That’s the end the Drake and Dream era.”

You can check out the full video above and catch up on all the lyrics to The-Dream’s biggest hits on Genius now.

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