It is no secret by now that Toronto has become a hotbed for musical talent. The two artists who originally led the charge of the city’s modern day musical renaissance are Drake and The Weeknd, infamously self-labeled as ‘OVOXO’. Drake and his OVO team were quick to recognize the then shadowy, underground alt-R&B figurehead and enlisted The Weeknd as a major contributor on Take Care, an album that many Drake fans still consider as his best work.
And while the OVOXO movement was embraced around the world, things went a bit left once The Weeknd decided to carve his own path to stardom by signing to Republic. Ever since that separation, there has been endless gossip about the state of Drake and The Weeknd’s relationship. With minimal public communication or appearances together in recent years, there was little reason to believe that a OVOXO reunion would ever come to fruition…until now.
Rumblings of a new collaboration gained steam once Drake publicly supported The Weeknd’s chart-topping album Starboy and made a prominent cameo in the music video for “Reminder”. But we can put the rumors aside thanks to Drake’s updated bio on iTunes hinting that The Weeknd will be featured on his highly anticipated playlist More Life. With each artist making guest appearances at their simultaneously occurring European tours and More Life due to drop at any time, we can warrant speculation on what an OVOXO collaboration will sound like in 2017.
Drake and The Weeknd find themselves in similar spots considering the massive streaming success of their latest projects were not matched with an equally positive critical reception. Nevertheless, singles such as “One Dance” and “Starboy” remain as staples on the radio and their shared star power is more than capable of producing a hit single off name recognition alone. Even though the popularity of their forthcoming record is a given, fans are wondering if they can deliver the magic and chemistry found during OVOXO in its prime.
As usual when pleading for artists to recreate gems from the past, expecting Drake and The Weeknd to release a moody, atmospheric offering existing in the realm of “The Zone” or “The Ride” is not realistic. The most likely scenario for OVOXO diehards to experience their much sought-after feelings of nostalgia is if the Toronto representatives can provide a fresh follow-up to “Crew Love”. With both artists excelling in their ability to capture the interest of today’s dominant pop/hip-hop audience, the opportunity to conjure up a new anthem pleasing both the mainstream and their original fan-bases is there for the taking.
Many people are craving for Drake and The Weeknd to return to previous form on More Life. But ultimately, what will be most impressive is if the two deliver something with authenticity that doesn’t attempt to replicate what’s already set in stone. No matter how the track turns out, it is exciting to see Drake and The Weeknd join forces again after making a monumental impact on the industry on their own terms. And now after several years, fans can take a deep breath and say what they’ve been hoping for…OVOXO is back.