Crew Love: OVO Sound
Given Name: Aubrey Drake Graham
Aliases: Drizzy, Drizzy Drake, Champagne Papi
Occupations: Rapper, Singer, Songwriter, Actor
Early Life: Drake was born in Toronto, Ontario in Canada to a Jewish mother and an African-American father. At the age of 5, his parents divorced which led him live with his mother. This was something that would help him grow up pretty fast. His mother worked hard to give Drake a decent upbringing. He would then start acting when he began attending Forest Hill Collegiate Institute. When he started acting in Degrassi in his late teens, the small money would be used to help him and his mother who was ill.
Releases: Mixtapes: Room For Improvement (2006), Comeback Season (2007), So Far Gone (2009)
Albums: Thank Me Later (2010), Take Care (2011), Nothing Was The Same (2013) EPs: So Far Gone (2009)
Career Highlights: Drake’s early role in "Degrassi: The Next Generation" as Jimmy Brooks is what would help us to all be familiar with him when the time came to launch his rap career. Drizzy caught the eye of Lil Wayne which would lead him to being signed on Young Money. Today his first album initially released as an EP, So Far Gone is certified gold. Thank Me Later, his second album continued his success shooting in at number 1 on the Billboard Charts. In 2012, Drizzy picked up a MTV VMA for Best Hip Hop Video with "HYFR (Hell Yeah Fucking Right)". In the same, year with the help of Noah ‘40’ Shebib, he went onto create his own label OVO Sound. A year later he picked up a prestigious Grammy Award for Best Rap Album with Take Care. He is also a Global Ambassador for his favourite NBA team the Toronto Raptors.
Sound: Drake is best known for having a sound that allows emotion into hip hop. It is atmospheric, moody, and often very introspective with the rapper taking the time to delve into his own experiences with fame, wealth, love, and family. Drake in the past has also claimed that he is one of the few rappers who can be himself in his career and this is something that no doubt helps the appeal of his music.
Strengths: One of Drake’s biggest strengths without a doubt is his ability to both sing and rap. As a double threat, he has allowed himself to have unique selling point in hip hop. Drizzy’s delivery in rap is catchy, and he is able to combine his singing into hooks and other parts of his tracks. Drake also has a sound that is always futuristic and unique, casting himself aside from other rappers. His ability to act has also allowed him to be very much in demand in the presenting world.
What's Next: In July of this year, Drake announced the title of his fourth studio album, View From The 6. This is expected to be released in early 2015.
Latest Track: In late October, close to his birthday, Drake dropped a few new cuts, “6 God” and “Heat Of The Moment” and a week prior to this, “How About Now” also leaked.
Noah '40' Shebib
Given Name: Noah Shebib
Occupations: Producer, Engineer, DJ
Early Life: Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Shebib was an actor as a child taking up various television roles. As he grew older he moved onto DJ-ing under the name DJ Decibel and then transitioned to a producer working with artists in Toronto. His habit of working throughout the night with no sleep led to him being given the nickname, “40 Days & 40 Nights”. It was in 2005, 40 began working with Drake beginning as his engineer and later helping Drizzy to create the dopest beats.
Releases: Shebib has helped produce a number of tracks many on Drake’s So Far Gone, Thank Me Later, Take Care, Nothing Was The Same. He has also produced songs for other artists as well including, Lil Wayne’s “I’m Single”, Nas’ “Bye Baby” and Sade’s, “The Moon and The Sky (Remix)”.
Career Highlights: Noah Shebib no doubt should take some credit for Drake’s success as he has played a crucial role in the rapper’s top-selling albums. 40 is also one of the co-founders of the label OVO Sound which was created in 2012.
Sound: Shebib’s production style is incredibly distinct creating a melancholic sound with synths, background drums, and an atmospheric feel.
Strengths: 40 is able to create a rather unconventional sound in music, through breaking the rules a little.
What's Next: We can expect that Noah Shebib will play a role in Drake’s upcoming album Views From The 6. But aside from his work with Drake, he is also likely to be busy helping produce the work of other OVO artists such as Majid Jordan and PARTYNEXTDOOR.
Given Names: Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman
Aliases: Good People
Occupations: Producers, Singers
Early Life: Not too much is known about this OVO duo. Al Maskati and Ullman met each other whilst studying at the University of Toronto and actually released their first EP, Afterhours, under the name Good People.
Releases: Afterhours EP, A Place Like This EP (2014)
Career Highlights: People wanted to know more about Majid Jordan when they featured on Drake's mega track, "Hold On We're Going Home", and started to make a buzz subsequently after releasing an EP this year.
Sound: Although on the OVO Sound label, this duo cannot be classified as traditional hip hop. Majid Jordan delve into floaty electronic sounds with a more alternative and underground take on rap.
Strengths: As a duo, Majid Jordan surfaces various skills, Ullman played a role in the production "Hold On We're Going Home" whilst Al Maskati provided the vocals on the bridge. Their sound is also a mesh of genres producing a unique sound.
What's Next: Majid Jordan have been performing in various places and are also expected to feature on Drake's upcoming album.
Latest Track: "Her"
Given Name: Matthew O'Brien
Occupations: Rapper, Fashion Leader
Early Life: OB Brien is another member of the crew who is not all that well-known to the world. He grew up in Westdale, Ontario. Whilst attending college, he wrote and performed a lot of comedy skits and was eventually introduced to Drake who he would become good friends with.
Releases: "Steve Nash" (2013), "Jewish" (2013), "Hazelton Trump" (2014), "2 On Thotful" (2014)
Career Highlights: We are yet to see a debut record from OB yet. It seems that in between making music, Brien is a representative of the clothing line TOPSZN.
Sound: From the music we have heard from OB, he has given us a laid-back sound full of skits, with a capacity to include humorous puns in his bars.
What's Next: Though there is no sign of when we can expect a debut from OB, but he has continued to drop music this year, so a full length project could very well be on the way soon.
Latest Track: "Hazelton Trump" (2014), "2 On Thotful" (2014)
Given Name: Jahron Anthony Brathwaite
Occupations: Singer, Producer
Early Life: PND was born in Mississauga, Ontario in Canada. He went onto to be signed by OVO Sound, making his first release with them in June 2013.
Releases: PartyNextDoor EP (2013), PartyNextDoor Two (2014)
Career Highlights: PND jumped onto the scene in a very sudden way with his EP being released for the world to hear. One of his most known tracks has to be "Recognize," which features Drake. He has also hopped onto some of Drake's tracks, "Own It" and "Come Thru". His first EP, charted well in the Billboards allowing him to grab our attention pretty quickly.
Sound: PartyNextDoor is part of a new sound in RnB and hiphop. It is described as electronic dance music but it is clearly evident that there are hip hop influences in his sound. He is style and sound is often likened to The Weeknd.
Strengths: Like some other OVO Sound signees, PND has a strong ability to cross genres, and gain the appeal of those who are fans of more traditional hip hop and R&B. His sound is futuristic as well as candid.
What's Next: PND is still currently on tour in the US.
Latest Track: "Sex On The Beach" (2014)
Given Name: Matthew Jehu Samuels
Occupations: Producer, Songwriter
Early Life: Boi-1da was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but moved over to Silver Springs, Canada, at the age of three. His love for music began when his mother bought him a Casio keyboard at the age of eight. Without any training he was also introduced to the FL studio beatsmaking programme. At the tender age of fifteen, he worked onto two tracks for Drake's Room Improvement mixtape.
Releases: Boi-1da has produced a number of tracks throughout the years. He helped produce Drake's "Best I Ever Had", and assisted producing with songs from most of the rapper's albums. Most recently, he was responsible for helping produce "0 to 100/The Catch Up". Let's not forget all of the other artists he has produced for including Tinashe, Kelly Rowland, Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill, Nas, The Game, the list goes on and on.
Career Highlights: Being attributed to the production of some huge hits of our time, Boi-1da has been recognized by winning Grammys for Best Rap Album in 2011 and 2013, with Eminem's Recovery and Drake's Take Care albums respectively and also Best Rap Solo Performance with Eminem's "Not Afraid" in 2011.
Sound: Within his production, Boi-1da is known for using both samples and live instrumentation. His work is often recognizable by an air horn-effect which he often uses.
Strengths: Boi-1da is pretty creative with his production. When working with Meek Mill for example, he used the sound of real windscreen wiper. He's also pretty flexible in the way he works choosing to working alone sometimes, but at other times using a huge group of people for inspiration and ideas.
Latest Track: "How About Now"- Drake
Given Name: William Michael Coleman
Aliases: Zombie On The Track
Occupations: Rapper, Producer, Songwriter
Early Life: Mike Zombie is from Willingboro, New Jersey.
Releases: Zombie was responsible for the production of Drake's "Started From The Bottom" and DJ Khaled's "They Don't Love You No More". Here also released his mixtape The End of the Beginning in 2013 and an album a few months back, Rebel Without A Cause.
Career Highlights: Mike Zombie's recent success has been down to his work in producing Drake's "Started From The Bottom". It won the 2013 BET Hip Hop Award for Track of The Year and also featured in several commericials such as NBA 2K14. Mike Zombie was also labelled as one of the Top 10 young producers to watch out for by BET.
Sound: Zombie's sound is hard-hitting, with a heavy beat, often earmarked by "Zombie on the track" at the beginning. In terms of hiss a rapping, it's pretty clear he loves bottle-popping.
Strengths: Just like some members of the crew, Zombie has several talents which means he's a busy guy. His production skills are increasingly in demand whilst he is also creating his own releases.
What's Next: Zombie is currently looking to capitalize off his recent release Rebel Without A Cause
Latest Track: Mike Zombie x Kur - "They Know"
Given Name: Oliver El-Khatib
Occupations: Founder of OVO Sound, Manager
Early Life: From Toronto, El-Khatib was an avid skater whilst in high school and had a love for music, but his bigger love was fashion. He volunteered for Toronto clothing store, Lounge. During this time, he was also in a DJ-collective with Noah '40' Shebib called The Lebanon Dons. He became a manager and full-time buyer for Lounge making it into a spot for networking about music and fashion. It was through this that he met Drake and would eventually become his manager.
Career Highlights: El-Khatib is one of the co-founders of OVO Sound and the brains behind ideas like OVO Fest and OVO Summit.
What's Next? The manager no doubt has plans to get OVO reaching new heights especially with new signees such as ILoveMakonnen.
Future The Prince
Given Name: Adel Nur
Early Life: From Toronto, Future The Prince began DJ-ing from a young age and had always showed an interest in music, working in a record store at the age of 15.
Career Highlights: As Drizzy's official DJ, if you go to see Drake in concert, expect to see this man on the decks at the back running things. He is one of Drake's closest friends and plays an important role in his career.
Strengths: The Prince knows what is required from different crowds but he's always trying to mix it up and bring his own favorites into his sets. A self-confessed fan of Adele, he produced his first remix with her track "Someone Like You".
Given Name: Ryan Silverstein
Aliases: The Cute One
Occupations: Drake's assistant
Early Life: Not too much is known about Silverstein, but we do know that he is the cousin of Drake and his father's name is Hal!
Career Highlights: You may be familiar with Drake's right-hand man from his appearance in the video from "Started From The Bottom" as well as other visuals. He is also involved in Topszn.
Given Name: Paul Jefferies
Occupation: Sound Producer
Career Highlights: Nineteen85 is another producer that has been pulled aboard the OVO train. He was involved in the production of Drake's track "Hold On We're Going Home" and also helped out other artists with production too including R. Kelly.
Given Name: Unknown
Occupations: Drake's Personal Bodyguard
Career Highlights: Also a good friend of Drake's, Chubbs dedicates his job to keeping the rapper secure and making sure he is safe at all times. He is so close to Drizzy's heart that he even got a mention in his track "Club Paradise." Chubbs is often seen right next to Drake smoking, and drinking in the club. You may also remember recently that Chubbs threw shade at Tyga on Instagram after he and Drake were feuding.
Given Name: Unknown
Occupations: One of Drake's closest friends, merchandise
Career Highlights: Niko and Drake go way back to his days of "Degrassi" when he recommended a good barber for the rapper. This crew member keeps it real for Drizzy. The two are like brothers, labelling him as his "closest confidant."
Given name: Makonnen Sheran
Occupations: Rapper, Singer
Early Life: Makonnen was born in LA, California and made a move to Atlanta as a teenager at the age 13. He grew up with a mix of music. In 2008, he got into some trouble and was placed on house arrest. Much of his early music was made on his gateway computer.
Career Highlights: In 2012, Makonnen met producer Mike WiLL Made It, but this relationship was a little brief. He then started working this past year with producer Metro Boomin, and ended up releasing his EP in July. His track “Club Goin’ Up On A Tuesday” blew up and grabbed the attention of Drake, leading him to reach out to a producer involved in Makonnen’s works, Sonny Digital. Drake chose to remix the track and quickly after Makonnen signed to OVO Sound in September.
Sound: Like other artists on OVO Sound, Makonnen covers a mesh of genres and has a soft sound, with melodic tendencies, at the same time, he can still make music you want to turn up too.
Strengths: ILoveMakonnen is part of a new generation emerging from the Atlanta scene. His music has gone viral and has woken up artists to his talent pretty effortlessly.
What's Next: Makonnen is planning to tour with his music.