Drake Feat. The Weeknd – Crew Love
When did Canada get to be such a hotbed of rap and R&B? Once upon a time hip hop from north of the border began and ended with lyrical assassin Snow, of ‘Informer’ fame and producer of one of the best album titles ever ‘12 inches of Snow’. Nowadays, you’ve got proud Torontonian and Degrassi High alumnus Drake staking a major claim to be one of the biggest names in the game, while compatriot The Weeknd is also ploughing a unique furrow.
On the surface, the two couldn’t be more different. Drake basks in the limelight, popping up everywhere from songs by his friends to nightclub brawls with Chris Brown. By contrast, The Weeknd is a man of mystery, only revealing his real name comparatively recently, who has been responsible for some of the most striking R&B tracks of recent memory. Releasing his first albums for free online, he’s a genuine viral sensation. His tracks have an otherworldly quality, with spacily minimal sounds and smoky reverbed falsetto.
As it goes, the collaboration works rather well. While he’s pretty adept at the blingier side of the business, Drake has shown himself to be willing to approach things in a more low key manner. ‘Crew Love’ shows the strengths of both artists and serves as a welcome antidote to some of the more overblown R&B currently in circulation.
In fact, Drake so enjoyed working with The Weekend that’s he’s currently trying to build the relationship into something more permanent, bringing the two artists together in a shadowy Canadian collective currently called OXOVO.
“Right now, we’re a family,” Drake told MTV. “OVOXO is something that’s branded worldwide. What it represents is two camps that make great music from the same city. Instead of hearing a kid with talent and trying to play him off, I embraced him. That was key to me. That was a conversation I had with my manager Oliver and we discussed it like ‘we need to align ourselves and help.’ As far on paper, it’s all being worked out. That’s not what really counts. What really counts to me is the fact the affiliation is so known. That’s all I really care about. I want to continue to be involved in his career. You take songs like ‘Crew Love and ‘The Zone’ and that’s really all the fans want to hear. It’s definitely a Toronto thing, and that’s not changing.”