LOS ANGELES — Celebrated party-starter [artist id="1161216"]Swizz Beatz[/artist] will have a very different vantage point at the MTV Video Music Awards this year. Swizz will be a performer at the show rather than his usual position as spectator.
"I'm used to seeing people perform my music on the VMA stage while I sit back and watch like a proud dad and a fan," he said Friday in his dressing room at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Swizz and Mary J. Blige will take to the stage as Drake's special guests to perform "Fancy" on Sunday night. "But to actually be on that stage during rehearsal, it was like, 'I can get used to this.' This is probably where I need to be next year ... by myself. So it was super-inspiring to rock with Drake and to have Mary out there. It's gonna be fun."
Also on Friday, Drake revealed that his performance was inspired by Frank Sinatra and his legendary homies. "I watched the Rat Pack live at the Copa Room," Drake recalled. "It was just so relaxed. They were smoking cigarettes and drinking Jack. It was women everywhere. It wasn't, 'Let's just rap and be epic and be huge.' They were like, 'I really run this. Me and Sammy and Dean.' I wanted to get up there and look fly."
The song "Fancy" has its own interesting story. The record was originally supposed to be on Mary J. Blige's 2009 Stronger With Each Tear, but did not make the cut due to scheduling. Swizz Beatz was going to hold it for his own LP, but after talking to Drake about collaborating for Thank Me Later, he handed the tune over to the 23-year-old.
" 'Fancy' has been well-traveled," Swizz Beatz said over the summer in New Orleans. "It started off as a Swizz record. Then I got Mary [J. Blige] on it. It was supposed to be on her [Stronger With Each Tear], but we missed the deadline. Then I pulled it back for my [upcoming] record. Then five o'clock one morning, on the phone speaking with Drake, he's in a different time zone, we're trying to figure out what he needs [for his album]. He's like, 'Yo, I just need a record for the ladies.' I'm on my computer playing him joints over the phone. Then I played him 'Fancy.' I was like, 'You want something like this?' But I was playing it as a reference."
"He was like, 'That's the record I need,' " Swizz continued. "I said, 'OK, I'll make you that.''
And as history shows, Drake didn't want something like "Fancy," he wanted "Fancy."
The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday. The party starts with MTV News' VMA Pre-Show at 8 p.m., followed by the main event at 9 p.m. ET.