This Friday (Sept 12), Atlanta neophyte I Love Makonnen, will headline his first New York concert at the Gramercy Theater. The venue is a deceptive space that holds more than its advertised 499 cap. A month ago, a gig like this would’ve been unlikely. But after Drake tacked his vocals to Makonnen’s breakout track, “Club Going Up (Tuesday)”, things have a way of repositioning themselves.
Co-signs are nothing new in hip-hop. 50 had Em. Em had Dre. Just by association, an artist can transfuse their credibility and star power. For a while now, Drake has been doing this seamlessly. And in an era where attention spans are lower than actual record sales, his endorsement may be the next best thing.
It wasn’t always this way though. Before releasing his landmark mixtape So Far Gone in 2009, Drake couldn’t catch a break. He collaborated with Trey Songz and even sought Angela Yee‘s help. It wasn’t until Lil Wayne, stepped in that he received national recognition.
One of the first instances of Drake’s Midas Touch occurred in 2011 when he remixed Future’s debut single, “Tony Montana”. In an interview with MTV, the Auto-crooner credited him for the turbo boost. “I wasn’t even ready for Drake to get on it, but when he called I was like, man, I was acceptin’ it with open arms,” he said. “He was just so far from where I’m at now, he’s so far [from] me, so for him to reach back down like, ‘Hey I want to get on your song,’ it was big on him. It just showed that he’s not out of the loop and I was in the loop.”
A$AP Rocky also capitalized off his affiliation that year after Drake touted him during NYC’s Fashion Week. In February 2012, 11 months before his freshman offering, he joined Drizzy on his nationwide Club Paradise tour. Other artists like The Weeknd and PARTYNEXTDOOR have followed a similar trajectory.
Before good kid, m.A.A.d city shook the game, Kendrick Lamar appeared dolo on the Take Care interlude, “Buried Alive”. Last year, Migos earned their first Billboard entry following the “Versace (Remix)”. Tinashe’s single “2 On“, has a new lease on life. Two weeks ago, Bobby Shurmda was seen dancing in the dark in Jersey.
While artists from his OVO Sound label (P.Reign, OB Obrien, and Majid Jordan) wait for their moment, it should be noted that Drake’s co-sign isn’t a sure shot at success, but rather an assist to an uncontested layup . With three consecutive platinum albums and the most number ones in Billboard Rap history, The Boy has become the most coveted brand in the game.