Is signing to OVO the new Drake curse?

If the 'Drake curse' is real – does it extend to artists signed to the OVO Sound label?

Canadian superstar Drake has raised some eyebrows over the past year, his association with various global sports teams and individuals having repeatedly appeared to lead to their downfalls.
Premier League ballers such as Paul Pogba and Sergio Aguero were dealt cup defeats and missed penalties in the immediate aftermath of highly publiciSed meetings with the ‘God’s Plan’ rapper. UFC fighter Conor McGregor was smashed by opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov while Drake supported him in the wings, proving that even the famed ‘Luck of the Irish’ is outweighed by the curse of the Canadian.

Several artists signed to Drake’s label OVO-signed have also failed to blow, leading us to wonder whether sportspeople should be the only ones concerned. Yet not everyone has come a cropper: here are some winners and losers.

OVO Sound: The casualties

Majid Jordan

Italian football club AFC Roma tweeted in April: “All Roma players banned from taking photos with Drake until the end of the season.” This was a response to the artist’s supposed curse. Majid Jordan may have appreciated similar warning. The R&B duo’s self-titled 2016 debut album failed to enter the Top 50 Albums and peaked at #69 on the US Billboard. 2017 follow-up ‘The Space Between’’s failure to even break the Top 70 prompted a few head scratches – has the decision to sign with OVO just two years after the pair met at Toronto University clipped the wings of this young group?

DVSN

Pronounced ‘Division’, fellow Canadian R&B duo DVSN have experienced similarly underwhelming results since they signed with OVO in 2016. The album peaked at #133, one place behind Lana Del Rey’s ‘Born To Die’, which was released four years prior. Before the release, Drake probably thought his mysterious Instagram teases were building excitement about the group. In fact, he was arguably digging their grave – the duo’s virtual anonymity was probably the album’s downfall.

iLoveMakonnen

Controversy has surrounded Los Angeles rapper Makennon Kamali Sheran’s relationship with OVO Sound perhaps more than any other signee. He blamed the label for the failure to release his track ‘Second Chance’ in 2015, a song he envisioned becoming a ‘summer banger’ that year. The eventual self-release of the work that November was followed by the departure of OVO’s only rapper (other than Drake) three months later, amid claims that the artist was threatened. Evidently, not everyone shared the sentiments of Makonnen’s slightly cocky title.

OVO Sound: The successes

Still, several artists have shown that a co-sign from the Toronto rapper isn’t always something to be feared. Admittedly none of the following have been signed to OVO Sound, but they have received the Drizzy seal of approval.

The Weeknd

the weeknd call out my name video

Able Tesfaye, A.K.A The Weeknd, benefited immensely from Drake’s online shout-outs, as well as his feature on ‘The Zone’ in 2011. And they’re not the only ones. Let’s look at some winners, shall we?

Migos

Georgia rap group Migos transformed their underground following into a global fan base following one of Drake’s most successful co-signs. This came in the form of a remixed version of ‘Versace’, complete with classic Drake boasts such as “the pillows Versace / The sheets are Versace / I just won a grammy”. The track went viral and Migos have followed it with four successful albums and collaborations with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Travis Scott and Metro Boomin.

Jorja Smith

Although Jorja Smith’s hard-earned internet following represents the basis of her recent success, Drake’s decision to feature her twice on 2017 mixtape ‘More Life’ hasn’t exactly hindered her progress towards global stardom. While debut album ‘Lost & Found’ and follow-up singles like ‘Be Honest’ have enjoyed huge popularity, her first chart entry was in fact one of her collaborations with Drake, ‘Get It Together’.
Maybe the Top Boy-financier’s record isn’t quite set in stone…