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The Baltimore rapper sampled Drake’s new album

Ryeisha Berrain was accompanying her children to school when she heard her own voice in a Drake song.

His 8-year-old son asked, “Is that you Mom?”

It’s been years since Berrain, 31, better known by her stage name of Rye Rye, abandoned a promising career in the entertainment industry to become a full-time mom. Yet here she is, near her home in Laurel, listening to a fragment of her voice in the song “Currents”, taken from a new album by Canadian artist Drake.

“I’m like, ‘Dang, Drake really put me on the register,'” he said. “Honestly, I was crying and smiling at the same time.”

The sample came from “Shake it to the Ground”, a song he had recorded in 2007 with DJ Blaqstarr. She was only 15 at the time, but she was still well on her way to becoming a queen of the Baltimore club music scene, a genre characterized by fast beats and broken sound.

It wasn’t just in Baltimore. National media dubbed her a “rising star”; she appeared in Spin and Rolling Stone magazines and signed a deal with a major record label.

Acting work followed, including a role on “21 Jump Street” opposite Channing Tatum and Brie Larson. When she was in high school she went on tour, doing her homework on the bus. At home, she has won support for bringing Charm City’s unique musical genre, the Baltimore club, to a national audience.

But for the East Baltimore native, rising star status had its drawbacks. His fame attracted the jealousy of family members. She had small children at home, but she was always on the go, sometimes surrounded by squalid characters. The concert went from a joyful hobby to a full-time job. “The fun was sucked into all of this for me … I didn’t feel free.”

In 2014 she left.

For the most part, it’s a decision she hasn’t regretted. She is committed to being her mother: with four children, 12, 8 and 6-year-old twins. Yet there were moments that made her questioned. When her fans approached her to tell her how much her music had meant to them, how she had made them through hard times, she wondered, had she been selfish? Had she given up on Baltimore club culture?

This latest incident helped remind her why she left the entertainment industry in the first place.

At first, Berrain was proud to hear a sample of her 2007 song, “Shake it to the Ground”, on Drake’s latest album.

Later, she was “disappointed”.

Why hadn’t he gotten credit?

“If you’re shedding light on culture and happen to bring it to the masses, why not give credit to the people of that culture you sampled from,” Berrain said, referring to Charm City’s indigenous sound that blends house and hip music. hop genres. “That’s why I’m like ‘Are you really for the culture?'”

Berrain said he reached out to Drake’s producer, who goes by the name of Gordo and DJ Carnage, a Maryland who tweeted the influence of Baltimore’s club music.

“Growing up in Maryland” the producer tweeted“Baltimore club music was always played in the car or at home by my mom and family … it was nice to bring it to the masses on this album.”

Receiving no response, he contacted his publisher, Sony. The record company asked Blaqstarr to send in the original “Shake it to the Ground” file.

After sending it, she was asked if she would be willing to take a certain percentage for the record.

“This is what makes me think, I think we have a case.”

Drake and Sony could not be reached for comment.

Sampling has been an “integral” part of rap music ever since the genre first developed in the 1970s, according to Nate Patrin, author of “Bring That Beat Back: How Sampling Built Hip-Hop”. But it wasn’t without controversy. Sugarhill Gang’s first commercially released hip-hop record, “Rapper’s Delight,” borrowed a baseline from Chic’s “Good Times”.

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“There are a number of different cases in the 1980s of hip-hop labels and groups trying to negotiate with artists who are sampling,” he said.

In subsequent years, labels have had to “balance the art form with the ability to give due credit to the artists who have been sampled. Some sampled artists appreciated it, others didn’t. “

Respect is Rye’s Rye’s top priority: not getting paid or not being famous.

“I’m not even worried about the financial side. I’ve always made music for fun. I’m not really worried about the accolades, ”she stressed. “I feel respected for being accredited, because I feel like I’ve been working hard for years.”

But his ultimate goal is to put the Baltimore club on the map.

“In a perfect world, Drake has to fly to Baltimore and use Baltimore dancers for his video,” he said.

The Baltimore-born and raised artist is kicking off her return to the stage in the city where it all began, directing an event at Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard Street, on June 25, her first performance in years.

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