Do OVO artists need the support from Drake?
Drake has always been a controversial artist since his early beginnings. A lot of the criticisms surrounding the OVO leader have had to do with his image, sound, and, more recently, the ghostwriting scandals. A less focused-on but equally as interesting criticism he’s received has been the backlash surrounding his lack of support for his OVO Sound signees.
There are many artists who have started labels under the strength of their own name and brand, and Drake is no different. The OVO imprint itself is very wellknown; founded by Drake, Noah “40” Shebib, and Oliver El-Khatib back in 2012, it has cemented itself in Hip-Hop culture. However, not for its lineup of artists, rather, more because it’s simply Drake’s brand. Under this wing there are artists such as Majid Jordan, PARTYNEXTDOOR, OB O’Brien, Roy Woods, dvsn, and more.
It’s pretty regular for signees under an artist to play second-fiddle to the bigger artist; for example, when it comes to G.O.O.D. Music, Kanye always hogged the spotlight for the most part. However, G.O.O.D. in its prime, had great breakout acts that were heavily pushed such as Kid Cudi, Big Sean, and Pusha T—all far more recognizable names than those signed under Drake and OVO.
The reality of the situation is, even though Drake is a megastar, he has given little-to-no shine in many instances to his other acts. Instead, he (presumably) uses them as creators for his own music. Essentially, there’s been a rumour for very long that Drake signs artists just so they could work as employees under the OVO brand, producing music for the only primary act that the label values—that being Drake himself. For this reason, the only thing Drake appears to do for his artists is supply a single instagram post worth of promotion for Majid Jordan’s recent project, The Space Between, as well as dvsn’s new work, “Morning After.” In the case of PARTYNEXTDOOR, arguably OVO’s second biggest act, he recently released an EP titled Seven Days, which Drake didn’t even feel the need to post about. Regardless of whether he posts on his only used social media platform or not, Drake posts Instagrams so often that I had never even realized Majid Jordan had a new project to begin with. I just barely caught wind of dvsn’s work, and I happen to follow PARTY so I did know about his EP.
To Keep it Blunt…
Drake and OVO simply do not support their artists enough for whatever reason. The ones we do know of barely get any attention and there are some, like Plaza for instance, who I have no idea even existed until recently… and I’m a big music fan from Toronto, so I’d imagine I should have heard about Plaza. These artists have very few music videos to their names, and when they do have them they appear pretty low-budget compared to Drake’s extravagant visuals. Signing under OVO appears to be a curse; one that people seem to think The Weeknd was lucky enough to escape from before he was reduced to a low-key, R&B artist and writer solely for Drake to take advantage of.
OVO Sound Radio and OVO Fest are steps in the right direction in terms of showcasing the talents at OVO, but they’re not enough of a push to get these artists off the ground and into super-stardom. Drake doesn’t need much promotion anymore, as he proved back in 2015 with the surprise release of “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.” So next time Drake drops an album, maybe OVO should dial down the promotional budget (AKA not taking the “Views” approach) and split it between some of the other artists at the label.