Tems Shuts Down Rumor She Refused to Clear Sample for ‘Wait for U’

Tems, her manager, and the producer of Future’s “Wait for U” featuring Tems and Drake have exchanged tense posts on X (formerly Twitter) over the producer’s claims that the singer initially refused to clear the track’s prominent sample of her song “Higher.”

In an interview clip from The Baller Alert Show that Tems’ longtime manager Muyiwa Awoniyi shared on X, producer ATL Jacob claimed that originally, Tems refused to clear the song’s use of “Higher” until Future urged Drake to encourage Tems to do so. Jacob also claimed that when they met for the first at the Grammys last year, where “Wait for U” earned a Best Melodic Rap Performance award, he felt Tems was “irritated” with the song. He says he approached Tems about working together, but it didn’t happen. Jacob did not detail her response to his proposal.

“I didn’t know that it was still going to count as a sample ‘cause I never really sampled,” Jacob said on the show, calling his sample of “Higher” a “YouTube song,” and differentiating it from Kodak Black’s popular “Super Gremlin” that he produced, which samples “Errror” by German rock band How to Loot Brazil. Similarly, during a VladTV interview in November 2022, Jacob said that when Future asked him who was singing in sample, he told the rapper “That’s Tems but that’s from a YouTube video man, you good.” In another interview last January, the producer said “I knew it was going to be a headache to clear.”

When Awoniyi reposted the Baller Alert clip on X early on Jan. 17, he wrote, “Every single word uttered here is untrue. You even made up scenarios that never happened. It is shocking how someone can be so bold yet so wrong. Highly disappointing , do better.” 

Jacob sent off a message of his own hours later:  “I gave my side of the story about me creating a HIT song after being INSPIRED by the song i sampled .. someone reacting so Negatively to a subject that meant no harm SHOWS A LOT Out of all the good shit i said about you @temsbaby over the years this the only reaction i get?”

Awoniyi then reiterated his claim the producer was lying. “We cleared the record immediately. Got no call from drake and lastly had no such convo at the Grammys. Tems won’t reply you. But I have your time.”

However, Tems did eventually comment on Jacob’s X post. “I LOVE THIS STORY,” she wrote in a repost. “Look at the phrasing. Magnificent.”

Awoniyi and Jacob continued to disagree on the site, with the producer insinuating he never “spoke negatively” about Tems. “Its not about saying anything negative STOP TELLING LIES,” the singer shot back. Her manager also insisted that none of the interactions he described – from the refusal to clear the record, to the Drake call, to the Grammy conversation – ever happened. “This is literally recorded in HD,” Awoniyi wrote to Jacob. “What exactly is wrong with you???”

Representatives for ATL Jacob, Tems, Drake, and Future did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s requests for comment.

Tems recently addressed rumors that circulate about her, particularly one about Future, in a cover story for The Cut. In the fall, allegations that Tems was pregnant with Future’s child spread online. “I was apparently pregnant by a man that I’ve never spoken to or heard his voice directly,” she told the publication. “I’ve never spoken to Future. Not even on the phone. I’ve never met him. But, suddenly, I’m pregnant?”

At the Grammys last year, where taking home an award for the song earned her first from the Recording Academy, Tems told Rolling Stone that she was pleased with “Wait for U” when she was approached about the sample. “It was a reach out, like ‘we love your song, and we are using this as a sample’ and I was like ‘Amazing.’ I thought the song was interesting. I thought it was beautiful the way it came together.”

After the song debuted at Number One in May 2022 – a first for both Tems and Future – the rapper tweeted her praises. He wrote that out of admiration and hoping to boost Tems’ name, she’s credited as a featured artist on song, rather than as a writer alone, which is more common with samples.

Jacob told DJ Akademiks in an 2022 interview that he was going through a breakup and frequently listening to “Higher” from Tems’ 2020 debut EP For Broken Ears, which inspired him to produce a beat around it, though he began with a pitched up sample by another producer. “I love Tems,” he said then. “She’s talented as hell.”

In a video breaking down the making of the beat, Jacob noted that he only added a few drums to the song, with “Higher” as the foundation.

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“No beef.. all love on my end,” the producer posted on X after trading thoughts with Awoniyi. “I would never beef with a Woman I love all the Queens out here.”

Awoniyi punctuated one of his most recent posts on the matter with a peace-sign emoji. “I’m cool with rumors, they’re funny and can be ignored. But blatant lies? They’re harmful and unacceptable. Your reputation is all you have. Guard it with your life,” he said. “E go be,” he added, Pidgin for “It will be.”

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