One of the biggest headlines in dancehall this week came when Drake announced at Unruly Fest that Popcaan is signing to OVO Records in 2019. Drake made the trip to St Thomas to perform alongside Popcaan on Saturday. With legendary performers Bounty Killer, Agent Sasco, Cocoa Tea and I Wayne also featured on the night. Tory Lanez also made the trip from Canada to St Thomas to perform.
Popcaan and Drake’s relationship has been something that we have seen play out publicly over the past 6 years, with the two connecting back in 2012. With the announcement that Popcaan is now signed to OVO Records, we thought it was only right to look back at this relationship and see how this landmark moment in dancehall came about.
Popcaan and Drake’s relationship dates back to 2012, with their relationship really starting once Drake has got his hands on Popcaan’s ‘Yiy Change’ mixtape which was released in January 2012, with Drake hitting Twitter to tweet out the lyrics to Popcaan’s breakout hit from the mixtape ‘Only Man She Want’ with Drake tweeting “her man say she very special … but drizzy Drake a di only man she wannn”.
Popcaan and Drake first met in person during Popcaan’s performances at the Caribbana Weekend in Toronto. With Drake’s team reaching out to Popcaan in the months prior to his appearances in Toronto, trying to arrange a meeting between the two, with the OVO camp originally trying to get Popcaan to make an appearance at Drake’s birthday party.
During Popcaan’s time in Toronto, Drake invited him to attend his annual OVO Fest (with the 2012 edition being the third time the festival had been put on). Popcaan and Drake linked up backstage at OVO Fest and then linked up again at several after parties following the event.
Popcaan told the Jamaica Star following the meetings between the two that Drake expressed admiration for his music, with Popcaan telling the Star that “he likes my music and knows all di slangs”.
2013, saw Popcaan working with OVO for the first time, with Popcaan returning to Toronto to shoot the video for ‘Unruly Rave’, which was directed by OVO Niko. Popcaan is seen representing OVO in an OVO T Shirt for the entire video.
OVO would go on to release two Popcaan themed t shirts, one repping ‘OVO Unruly’ and the other repping Popcaan’s slang ‘Y Pree’.
Drake would also go on to mention his close relationship with Popcaan on ‘5AM In Toronto’ dropping the line “if anything happened to Poppi, might Pop a n*** for real” and also dropping Popcaan’s slang “Y Pree” on the track.
2014 was a relatively quiet year for Drake and Popcaan’s relationship with nothing groundbreaking happening between the two, with Popcaan’s album ‘Where We Come From’ being released and no real headline making interactions made between the two.
That would quickly change in 2015 with the release of ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ in February. With an “OVO Unruly” shout out on ‘No Tellin’ and a minute long interlude from Popcaan on ‘Know Yourself’, Popcaan and Drake’s relationship hit the dancehall headlines yet again.
Drake would also go on to feature in the video for Popcaan’s ‘Unruly Prayer’, which featured shout outs appearances for almost the entire OVO Crew, with elements of the video being shot in Canada featuring the OVO crew.
It wasn’t until 2016 that we would hear some form of collaboration between the two, with a leaked version of ‘Controlla’ going viral in March.
The track would not go on to be featured on Drake’s ‘Views’ album, which dropped in April. With Popcaan’s only appearance on the album coming as a sample at the end of ‘Too Good’ featuring Rihanna, with Popcaan’s ‘Love Yuh Bad’ being sampled.
Drake’s decision to not include the version of ‘Controlla’ featuring Popcaan caused much controversy in the dancehall scene, with legendary artiste Mr Vegas calling out Drake for not giving appropriate credit to dancehall artistes on his album.
Drake and Popcaan’s relationship hit the headlines again following the Red Bull Culture Clash in June 2016, with Popcaan dropping a very exclusive Drake dubplate of ‘One Dance’ which basically won the soundclash for Mixpak. Popcaan would also go on to perform at OVO Fest in 2016, alongside both Drake and Rihanna.
Popcaan would go on to feature as an opening act on Drake’s ‘Boy Meets World’ Tour in Europe, with Popcaan performing in 12 shows in 6 different countries as part of the tour. Popcaan would also receive shout outs from Drake on his playlist/album ‘More Life’ which dropped in March.
April 2017 saw another collaboration of sorts come from Drake and Popcaan with ‘My Chargie’ dropping, which uses the same instrumental as WizKid and Drake’s single ‘Come Closer’ which was released as an official single also in April. ‘My Chargie’ would not go on to be released as an official single for either Popcaan or Drake.
The end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 was again a rather uneventful period publicly for Drake and Popcaan, with their relationship not hitting the headlines during this period. Drake actively promoted Popcaan’s album ‘Forever’ when it was released in July, once again representing his love for everything Unruly.
Then came the 22nd of December 2018, when Popcaan was announced as the latest member of OVO starting from 2019, in possibly the biggest event in Jamaica this year, with Drake making an apperance on stage to perform a medley of songs alongside Popcaan, with Drake performing some of his latest hits, but also performing some of his ‘collaborations’ with Popcaan.
Popcaan signing with OVO Records is a historic moment in dancehall, with a dancehall artiste singing with the label owned by the biggest artist in the world right now. This is a great look for dancehall and something that Popcaan has been building up to all of his career. Popcaan is one of the most internationally recognisable dancehall artistes right now, with hits across the globe and 2019 will almost certainly bring something special to his career and to dancehall as he teams up with one of the most successful artists in the history of music. 2019 was already looking like a huge year for dancehall, and now it is looking even bigger.