Drake’s hip hop Super Bowl, OVO Fest, is making its return to Toronto this summer after a break last year. This morning’s lineup announcement— which features a day of Drake and a day of sets from ’00s rap-R&B crossover pioneers such as B2K, Chingy, Ying Yang Twins, Lloyd, and Mario—we can see that the festival seems to be coming back exactly how it left us: a series of shows and events culminating in a grande, guest-laced Drake finale with a few throwback artists from hip hop’s history sprinkled in, and, unfortunately, a continued lack of female representation.
Sure, Drake’s brought on a handful of woman-identifying artists as a part of the lineup of much-anticipated surprise guests he’s known to parade out during his own OVO set every year—including the likes of Rihanna, Cardi B, Tinashe, TLC, and Lauryn Hill—but the rapper has never once in OVO’s history actually listed a female headliner or opener for that matter on its flyers and posters. Even when Jhené Aiko played full sets at the festival in 2014 and 2016, she wasn’t officially listed on the bill. That’s right, over 9 years, Mr. Graham has opted to book the likes of Francis and the Lights (“Who!?” you rightly ask) and Kevin Hart (not even a rapper!) before turning to one of hip hop’s many, many female powerhouses.
Should Mr. Graham decide to bring back the festival next year, we’ve put together a list of 15 icons from rap and R&B’s past whose names would be right at home on the 2020 OVO poster.