When Drake dropped "0 to 100" in June, he gave us a heads up about his big plans for next year. In addition to revealing that his fourth solo album is coming, he made it clear that his OVO Sound label's pretty much "got spring 2015 poppin." Drizzy's usually a man of his word and, as such, you might've noticed that he's been steadily building his OVO imprint, which he co-founded with his longtime producer Noah '40' Shebib and his best friend/manager Oliver El Khatib.
In late 2012 he signed the imprint to a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records, and from there, things started to take off. There have been new signees, multiple releases, feature verses and guests spots at OVO Fest...all a part of the master plan. So, you might as well get familiar with the team now. Don't wanna try jumping on when the bandwagon is full.
Drake's decision to couple vocals with stellar verses put him in a lane of his own, so you'd better believe that he knows a talented singer/songwriter when he hears one. Enter PartyNextDoor, a singer from Mississauga, Ontario who we've gotten familiar with over the past year.
PND dropped his self-titled EP via OVO Sound in July 2013, and contributed vocals to Nothing Was the Same tracks "Come Thru" and "Own It." He got some live experience on Drizzy's Would You Like A Tour? jaunt that same year, and in 2014 he came back strong. His sophomore project, PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO, was released in July, lead by singles "Her Way" and "Recognize," with a feature from Drake. He made a cameo at OVO Fest 2014 (where I watched the crowd enthusiastically rap along to "Recognize") and he was added as an opening act on the Drake vs. Lil Wayne Tour. Oh, and he already has socialites making cameos in his music videos.
This Atlanta newcomer released his I Love Makonnen EP in June, lead by one of his most popular singles "Club Going Up On A Tuesday." The melodic track certainly sounds like something Drake would champion, so it only made sense that the Toronto rapper remixed it earlier this month.
Shortly afterwards, it was confirmed that ILOVEMAKONNEN has officially been signed to team OVO. “There were tears of joy and tears of hard f–king work,” MAKONNEN told MTV News of his reaction to the song's remix. “‘Cause goddamn, that Monday was a bitch!” "Tuesday" -- the title has been shortened -- is now available for purchase on iTunes via OVO Sound and Warner Bros. OVO MAKONNEN is going places.
We first got hip to Majid Jordan -- vocal and production duo, Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman-- the day before Drake dropped "Hold On We're Going Home" (which he also called a "wedding song" at the time).
He explained that the Toronto-based duo would be lending vocals and production to his hit single, and they've since gone on to release their own moody electro-R&B EP, A Place Like This, in July. The EP was led by the self-titled single, which they also released a video for. During OVO Fest this year, Majid Jordan joined Drake on stage to perform an extended version of "Hold On We're Going Home," and we're expecting to hear them again on his 4th solo album Views From the 6ix.
Yeah, it took us awhile to realize that OB was serious about making music too. We first got to know him as one of Drake's BFFs and as part of the entourage that pops up in his music videos -- including "Started From the Bottom," where the music pauses just for him to act silly.
He's still out here promoting the TOPSZN regime and defending Drizzy when the Internet starts snapping about his Skylar Diggins obsession, but he found himself on a hit this year thanks to a Drake-assisted remix of Tinashe's "2 On." "2 On/Thotful" took the original song to new level, and we expect that there will be more from OB soon. Previous releases from him include "Jewish" produced by Boi1da, "Hazelton Trump," and "Steve Nash."
The Producers and Affiliates
Other members of the crew include producers Boi1da and T-Minus, who both hail from Toronto, plus Houston's OG Ron C, Nineteen85 and Mike Zombie who's responsible for that ridiculous beat on "Started From the Bottom."
You've also heard Drake namedrop The Reps-Up crew on his records, and that's fronted by TO rapper P-Reign who just released his Dear America EP. Drake is featured on his single "DnF" and it doesn't seem too far fetched to think that he might end up on OVO as well.
Also, we're waiting to see who becomes the first lady of OVO Sound -- because, as most other rappers will tell you, "Drake is the king of the ladies" -- so there's clearly someone missing.
Who's got next from OVO Sound? You tell us.