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Revisiting the road to Drake and The Weeknd's long-awaited joint album

Ralph Bristout

 // Aug 10, 2017

Artist // Instagram

For those who believe in that OVO and that XO, the long-talked about joint album between Drake and The Weeknd has been the stuff of interview fodder and gestating pipe dream.

Just to put it into perspective, the wait has been frothing for a little over five years now. In fact, it was in 2011 when Drake delivered the seed for such a buzz on his SoundCloud page. "I feel like I was waiting to see the next individual that would make history that could potentially span far beyond mine," he announced. "And he goes by the name of The Weeknd."

Since then, the two sides have evolved into pop behemoths, selling out arenas, and evidently setting the expectations for a joint album to unreachable heights. Along the way, the general question surrounding the album soon became a simple: will they or won't they?

Earlier this week, Drizzy and Weeknd quelled the speculation (and skepticism) at the eighth annual OVO Fest, where they announced that their long-awaited joint album should be in the works. "I don't want to do this to you on stage," Drake told his fellow Toronto native. "But I feel like that OVOXO project has to happen at some point. I just want to say that."

While it'll be a minute until we find out what "at some point" actually means, let's go back and see how this idea of a Drake-Weeknd super album came to be.

2010-2012

Rumors of The Weeknd signing to OVO begin after Drake's OVO blog highlighted the songs "The Morning," "What You Need," and "Loft Music." The feature of the three tracks helped land the singer on the radars of Pitchfork and New York Times. From there, Drizzy then went on a lengthy OVOXO promotional campaign and appeared on "The Zone" from the Thursday mixtape. But it didn't stop there.

The Weeknd - The Zone feat. Drake (Official Video)
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That OVOXO connection soon poured over Take Care, Drake's sophomore album. While Weeknd appeared on the songs "Crew Love" and "The Ride," he was also credited on a couple other records, including "Cameras/Good Ones Go Interlude," "Shot For Me," and others. The album raised Drake's starpower and The Weeknd's profile. "I gave up almost half of my album. It's hard. I will always be thankful—if it wasn't for the light he shined on me, who knows where I'd be," the singer told Complex in 2013. "And everything happens for a reason... You never know what I would say if this success wasn't in front of me now."

As the attention grew for both acts, so did the pursuit of a partnership.

In an interview with MTV News, Drake spoke on their relationship and the rumors about signing him to OVO. "As far as on paper, it's all being worked out, but that's not really what counts anyway. What counts to me is the fact that the affiliation is so known, and that's all I really care about. I want to continue being involved in his career and vice versa and keep making music together... We're definitely a family. It's definitely a Toronto thing. That's not changing at all." Four months after Drake's MTV interview, Weeknd inked a deal with Republic Records. The news began a flurry of rumors about the two sides being at odds, considering the fact that Weeknd didn't sign with OVO.

2013- 2015

Despite the public's speculation, Drake and Weeknd were spotted together in the studio again — ultimately quieting the talks of a rift. At the 2013 OVO Fest, Weeknd joined the rapper on stage to perform "Crew Love." Later that summer, the OVOXO union spread onto Kiss Land for the song "Live For." If that wasn't enough to make it clear that there was no beef, the pair would also hit the road for the European leg of Drake's Would You Like A Tour? trek.

@abelxo SCARY TINGS

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In 2015, Drake hopped on a remix version of Weeknd's "Tell Your Friends," a single off the singer's pop giant of an album Beauty Behind the Madness.

2016-Present

Fresh off the release of his third album Starboy, the Weeknd sat with Beats 1's Zane Lowe and revealed that he was open to pulling off a joint album with "big bro" Drake. "It's cool to have both monsters work together as opposed to one monster and one little guy coming in... It's dope, like Kanye and Jay Z. [OVOXO collaborative album] can happen. Maybe. He's the homie," he hinted about the possibility.

"He came in as my big bro and showed the world what I could do," he praised. "From then on, he's always been supporting me and I've always been supporting him. Behind the scenes, we're still very close but it's cool that the world can see us doing our own thing. OVOXO will always be there."

Earlier this year, the two brought the OVOXO brotherhood to Europe, where they performed together in Germany, and even appeared together in the music video for the song "Reminder," off Weeknd's Starboy album. They also popped up together for Nav's "Good For It" visual.

The Weeknd - Reminder
TheWeekndVEVO

Fast forward to August and the two have since furthered the speculation about a joint album, revealing to the world that they've heard our thoughts and may actually pull it off.

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