Makonnen's rise to fame in 2014 was largely due to Drake jumping on his hit single "Tuesday," and later signing a record deal with OVO, but as he revealed to The FADER's Amos Barshad in a new interview, his experience "working" with Drake and being signed to OVO wasn't exactly a dream come true.
According to the Los Angeles native, who now makes his home in Portland, Oregon, Drake's interest in working him was for one reason and one reason only.
"They needed a hot song," Makonnen said. "That’s it."
Although he is no longer signed to OVO, Makonnen's tenure at the label, according to the artist, felt like being in prison.
And then when I’m like, ”Can y’all tweet out my mixtape? Can I get a feature? Can I get production?” No, no, no. So I’m just over here in prison?! Am I in prison?!!
Unlike OVO's factory-like songwriting camps in which artists and producers sleep in tents in the studio, the prison Makonnen felt trapped in was more like sitting on the label's back burner.
When asked by Barshad if, in hindsight, he would have been better off without Drake jumping on "Tuesday" and signing him to OVO, Makonnen didn't hold back.
Why you wanna play these games? When you got the goddam mansion out in Calabasas that I came out to and played y’all songs and ended up making you scared because you saw I could make songs on the spot? Why y’all wanna play these games? Why didn’t you just tell me you didn’t wanna fuck with me anymore and just let me go about my way? Why’d you make me chase you all the way the fuck around? And make me look like a fucking fool? Why [voice escalating] would you do this?
Since coming out as gay back in January, Makonnen's name has only been in headlines associated with his announcement and the reaction to his announcement by some of his peers, something he's still dealing with several months later. "Shit slowing down for me. I don't know why shit slowing down," said Makonnen.
Hopefully, for his sake, things pick back up and the conversation eventually shifts back in the only direction that matter—the music.