Drake's manager Oliver El-Khatib linked up with GQ for an exclusive interview about his approach to success with OVO, and he dropped a number of interesting revelations along the way. El-Khatib discussed the idea of embracing what made them unique instead of trying to fit in with a particular scene. “I remember guys walking around [Toronto Caribbean carnival] Caribana talking like they’re from New York, to impress girls,” he said, noting that instead of downplaying their Canadian quirks, they embraced them. “We took the flaws and flipped it,” he said. “We Eminem’d it.”
Interestingly, the main prescription that he offers—namely opting towards the underdog and making it cool—is not too far off from what Jay Z has done for most of his career. Whether it was Reebok over Nike, Bing over Google, or Tidal over Spotify, Jay always looked for a way to leave his mark on his partners. El-Khatib offers similar advice. "The OVO clothing line zigged to branded sweats when everyone was zagging to high-fashion collaborations," notes the article. "They zigged to Apple Music when TIDAL was assembling the Avengers of pop... When entertainers flocked to Adidas to launch sneaker collabs, Drake went to Jordan Brand."
Ultimately, the biggest advice El-Khatib gives is trusting your gut. “No one is going to tell you that you’re making the right move,” he said. “But you have to have blind faith. I just had a sickness—a sick belief that it’s all going to work out.” Clearly, this strategy has been working out pretty well for the label so far. You can check out the whole interview here.