words by Eddie STATS Houghton, photos by Alliance Entertainment
The weather in NY is hotting up and it feels like we might be entering a new golden era of rap/reggae collabos. Mere seconds after Nikki Minaj and Cam’Ron jumped on dancehall riddims, news leaked of a collaboration–visual in this case–between rap front-runner Drake and Alliance giant Mavado, who plays a starring role in the Young Money brother’s new Jamaica-themed video. Julian Jones-Griffith, Minister of Propaganda for the Bounty Killer proteges called Alliance gave us the backstory and provided the exclusive snaps of Mavado and Drake’s OVO crew raising up at the bottom of the map, parring (at Quad nightclub?) in Kingston:
Drake’s people reached out to me even before he blew up off the mixtape; Drake was a fan of Mavado, Serani and dancehall on a whole from jump. Toronto traditionally has a lot of love for Jamaican music and he grew up in that environment. We were talkin’ about doing something together with him an’ Mavado from then and right after that Best I Ever Had just exploded. Drake, Mavado and Serani were all on an arena show for WZMX in Hartford–Drake was a surprise guest in Trey Songz’ set and we all met up backstage. Drake and Vado exchanged contacts and kept the link from there.
They speak regularly on the phone. Drake came to JA to record tracks for his album at GeeJam (No Doubt’s favorite studio in Jamaica -ed.) and Vado just went out there to vibe and hang out. When Drake was puttin together the second single promotion he wanted to put a visual to the vibe he had recording tracks in Jamaica. The treatment for the video had a role that was perfect for Mavado and Drake insisted he get the lead role.
Drake was here for 3 days this week, shooting in and around Kingston, including Cassava Piece. Drake loved every minute of his stay and vowed to return soon. He and Mavado will be collaborating on many projects in the near future and after Mavado’s starring role in the vid, who knows, we may see the singer cast in the next Hollywood epic!”
We at Largeup are fans of cross-pollination of hiphop and reggae going back to Kool Herc, but as a dude who had something to do with both these artist’s first magazine covers (thank me later) this particular breach of the north-south divide is especially gratifying. Great minds grind alike.