These Are The OVO Commandments, According to That “The FADER” Profile

In a recent interview with The FADER, OVO apostles Noah “40” Shebib and and Oliver El-Khatib outlined the mechanics behind their reigning regime; what makes them tick, their work-play dynamic, and their grounding principles, with the 6 God as their shepherd. The trinity has risen as rap’s regency, making us wonder how they got there. According to 40 and Oliver, these are some of OVO’s grounding principles.

Thou Shalt Never Forget 9th Grade Homeroom

It’s where Oliver and 40 first crossed paths and discovered their likeminded visions in music. There, they formed the DJ group Lebanon Dons, and were living together in Toronto when Drake hit up 40 to help him engineer a project. Remembering their humble beginnings are crucial for keeping the unit cohesive.

Thou Shalt Have No Other 6 Gods

Both the messiah and the disciples know the importance of preserving things in-house. “Truth be told, Drake’s career has always been the three of us knocking our heads off a table, trying to figure everything out,” 40 admitted. “That’s the power of OVO.”

Thou Shalt Not Drift Off-Brand

With Oliver as the driving force, OVO breathed their ethos into a clothing brand venture, carrying collections of track suits, hats, accessories, and a collaboration with Jordan brand. This visual addition to the entity pulls OVO’s ethos into one, cool aesthetic.

Thou Shalt Not Get It Twisted: OVO is a Lifestyle

On the note of their clothing brand, Oliver said, “There’s a few of us putting our blood, sweat, and tears into this 24/7. It’s a lifestyle. It’s not a job that we all go home from. It’s something that we’ve put our own time and money and equity into, and we’re building it with hammers and nails.”

Thou Shalt Never Decelerate

It’s this kind of work ethic that’s kept them on top and able to stay relevant time and time again. “That’s where the challenges start to lie—‘Well, can you do it again? Can you do it again on demand? Can you do it again on demand after that?’” says Oliver. “That’s what separates the greats, is when you’re able to step up time and time again, and deliver.”

Honor Thy City

From the jump, OVO has been all in on putting Toronto on the map. They’ve set an example for come-up artists out of their city, and arguably can be credited for injecting life and relevance into Toronto hip-hop. “We’re from a city where I’m not sure if we’ve fully embraced our identity as creative people yet,” Oliver said. “If there’s anything that we want to put forth, it’s just to have some patriotism for what we’re doing here and to look within for talent and for inspiration.”

Thou Shalt Not Set Deadlines

For these guys, It’s an inherent understanding that great art can’t be rushed. That’s why deadlines don’t exist at the OVO headquarters. “Just letting it happen naturally. That’s how we’ve always done it. When it’s done, it’s done. If we love it, we love it,” Oliver said. But seriously, guys—where is Views?

Thou Shalt Not Eat the Forbidden Fruit… Unless It’s Apple

OVO has made some respectably huge business moves in the past, but they’re not hopping on with just anyone. Until their deal with Apple, they generally resisted temptations from corporate outlets, keeping their partnerships tasteful and controlled, but the low-risk, high-reward model of a slot of Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio was too appetizing to refuse.

Put On Thy Neighbor

Especially through OVO Radio, Oliver and 40 have routinely co-signed Toronto up-and-comers. They’ve played releases from Prime Boys’ Donnie, young rapper Safe, newly appointed OVO rookie Roy Wood$, and a slew of others. These co-signs further emphasize OVO’s love affair with its city, but they’re not giving special privileges because of shared roots; for them, it’s talent-first. Oliver said, “There is no nepotism or favoritism in that radio show or anything we do.”

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