PartyNextDoor: Photos From the Billboard SXSW Cover Shoot

It had been seven years since PartyNextDoor had performed in The 6. But one Thursday night last May, approximately 2,500 fans at History — the Toronto venue Drake, Party’s OVO label boss, opened in partnership with Live Nation in 2021 — welcomed him home to the city, feverishly chanting the lyrics to his beloved hits like “Wus Good/Curious.”

SiriusXM Canada had tapped the singer, songwriter and producer to headline the free, sold-out PartyNextDoor & Friends concert to celebrate its new 24/7 hip-hop and R&B channel, Mixtape: North, which highlights homegrown Canadian talent. And what better way to fete the country’s brightest stars than by transforming History into a full-fledged OVO Fest? Nearly all of the influential label’s roster took the stage, and even Drake himself made a surprise appearance to perform his and Party’s mid-2010s collaborations “Recognize” and “Come and See Me.”


“I don’t mean to put you on the spot or anything. I know you hate this the most,” Drake said, chuckling, his arm wrapped around his introverted labelmate. “I’m so grateful for you. I would not be the artist I am if it wasn’t for you.” Then, turning to the audience: “This is really my favorite artist in the world.”

Over the last decade, Party, 30, established himself as an alternative R&B auteur who seduced listeners — and shaped his genre — with hazy, hypnotic Auto-Tuned vocal melodies, nocturnal trap production and carnal yet cognitive lyricism about what pleasures (and problems) the wee hours sometimes bring. And while that often added up to a late-night, hedonistic vibe, his authentic, limber patois and dancehall-infused rhythms also gave his music an irresistible Caribbean flavor.

Read the full cover story here.

Heran Mamo