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‘You Don’t Want That Smoke’: The Dream Checks Songwriter Diane Warren for Questioning How an Artist Like Beyoncé Could Have 24 Writers on a Song, Warren Later Apologizes 

Not a slither of shade cast toward Beyoncé makes it past her loyal Beyhive, or her most trusted collaborators. Such was the case when songwriter Terius “The Dream” Nash doled out a music history lesson to fellow songwriter Diane Warren.

Warren is not a novice in the music industry. She has songwriting credits on records for DeBarge, Tina Turner, Cher, Patti Labelle, Toni Braxton, Celine Dion, Jon Batiste; and the list goes on and on.  

The Dream & Diane Warren
The Dream (L) and Diane Warren (R) Photo: Thekingdream/Instagram, Dianewarren/Instagram

Yet, Warren caused quite the frenzy on Aug. 1 when she vaguely questioned how an artist could have 24 writers on a single song. 

While she did not mention Beyoncé’s name in the tweet, her timing was hard to fathom as pure coincidence. Beyoncé’s fans and Nash seemingly interpreted the singular question as an attempt as a subtle jab at the entertainer. The “Break My Soul” singer dropped her seventh solo studio album, “Renaissance,” on July 29. The record features 16 tracks, including “Alien Superstar” that credits more than 20 songwriters.

Warren quickly followed up with a tweet saying, “Ok, it’s prob samples that add up the amount of writers.” But by then it was already too late to stop the onslaught of commentary, including those from Nash. The mega-producer held little to nothing back as he briefed Warren on the history of sampling music, and its significance to Black artists. 

“You mean how’s does our (Black) culture have so many writers, well it started because we couldn’t afford certain things starting out,so we started sampling and it became an Artform, a major part of the Black Culture (hip hop) in America.Had that era not happen who knows. U good?” he wrote in response to Warren’s initial inquiry. 

Warren previously worked with Beyoncé on the ballad “I Was Here” which is featured on the singer’s album “4.” Nash regularly collaborates with the Grammy Award-winning vocalist, including on her latest album. 

He continued, “Btw I know it’s not a one on one writing contest you looking for from no one over here…… you don’t want that smoke And you know I love you, but come on. Stop acting like your records haven’t been sampled.”

The Oscar-nominated songwriter responded to her industry peer with, “I didn’t mean that as an attack or as disrespect. I didn’t know this, thank U for making me aware of it. No need to be mean about it.”

In the end, Warren expressed that her question was not intended to shade Beyoncé, and that she was “sorry for the misunderstanding.” The singer’s fans have yet to accept the apology. Online, they have written comments like “She says her question was not shade but it was followed by the shadiest emoji,” and “She was being shady if you saw her whole thread, she knew if a song was sampled the artists get credit.”

In the midst of closing out his tweets for the night, Nash wrote, “All G. But don’t do that, it’s young writers, producers and artist that need to know whatever way they make it and however they contribute is worth it. We all aren’t as fortunate at first. Every idea is art. It’s more fun together, in my opinion and I could be wrong.”

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