As Drake’s manager, Oliver El-Khatib has played a pivotal role in pushing his side of North America into the forefront of hip-hop. While Canada once occupied a peripheral place in an arena traditionally dominated by cultural movers south of the border, the sounds of The 6 now ring across the airwaves globally. The OVO brand has manifested into a cultural umbrella that entails a music label, a clothing line, and a festival that not only brings the game’s biggest names to Toronto, but also provides an educational summit for the city’s youth. Altogether, OVO’s influence and cultural relevance have exported the collaborative energies of Noah “40” Shebib, Drake and Oliver El-Khatib beyond the realm of possibility.
El-Khatib’s mention of Eminem as the reference to OVO’s meteoric rise is notable. The OVOSound Radio host and his team embody the trajectory of the underdog, embracing difference and exporting it a manner that brought a new energy and vibe to the industry. “We took the flaws and flipped it,” he says, reminiscing about days when he noticed how people would mimic New York accents at Toronto’s Caribana carnival when spitting game at ladies. Moreover, El-Khatib does not hold back about self-confidence and hard work – “No one is going to tell you that you’re making the right move… I just had a sickness—a sick belief that it’s all going to work out.” Check out the full interview with GQ here, to further read into OVO’s ethos of zigging when other zag, a methodology that brought about OVO’s partnership with Apple, as well as Drake’s partnership with the Jordan Brand.