YouTuber to 'Starboy', The Weeknd celebrates 10 years of his label XO that turned him into a renowned name

The Weeknd began promoting the XO name through several references within songs and on-stage performances and began conducting advertising deals to multiple outlets


                            YouTuber to 'Starboy', The Weeknd celebrates 10 years of his label XO that turned him into a renowned name
The Weeknd (Getty Images)
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The Weeknd is celebrating his 10th anniversary of his XO crew. The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, took to his Instagram to announce the anniversary with the caption "A Decade of Xo" Along with the announcement, the contemporary R&B star posted several clips from his new animated music video for 'Snowchild' from his latest studio album 'After Hours'. Each clip is played simultaneously and matched with iconic scenes from some of his previous official music videos, including 'Heartless', 'Call Out My Name', 'Mania', 'Starboy' and more.

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XO is the visionary label that was co-founded by Tesfaye and was created to release three mixtapes in 2011, titled 'House of Balloons', 'Thursday' and 'Echoes of Silence'. After entering the musical arena as an anonymous YouTuber, each mixtape would see a boost in his career. The Weeknd began promoting the XO name through several references within songs and on-stage performances and began conducting advertising deals to multiple outlets, namely collaborating with PAX Labs to release the limited edition PAX 2 vaporizer, an electronic cigarette that could be used in shows during The Madness Fall Tour.

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Artists such as Black Atlass, 88Glam, Nav and Derek Wise have signed to XO. Rapper Belly was signed as the label's first artist in 2015 while Derek Wise was signed later that year. Nav signed the following year in 2016. Upon entering classification as a subsidiary of Republic Records, the label has released seven projects by their artists other than The Weeknd. In 2018, Black Atlass released a new song, 'My Life', distributed by XO Records. He had previously appeared alongside The Weeknd in his 'Secrets' music video and in some ads involving the Puma x XO collections that arrived in 2017. That same year, 88Glam signed to XO but departed from the label earlier this year.

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It is said that the "XO" in the moniker stands for ecstasy and oxycodone but could be a simultaneous play on the kiss and hug expression for creative effect. Tesfaye's earlier usage of drugs is no secret and he has opened up about it before. According to The Guardian, Tesfaye spoke at length in a candid 2016 interview. “When I had nothing to do but make music, it was very heavy. Drugs were a crutch for me. There were songs on my first record that were seven minutes long, rambling – whatever thoughts I was having when I was under the influence at the time. I can’t see myself doing that now.” There are also references to getting high found in one of his latest tracks 'Heartless'.

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During his time with XO, The Weeknd has had a few low moments and there is an evident increase in his success. Perhaps his biggest negative criticism came after his 2019 collaboration with French producer Gesaffelstein called 'Lost in the Fire'.In the song's second verse, The Weeknd describes dating a girl who "might be into girls." He seems to suggest being gay is "a phase," and he can "f--- her straight. "With regards to its streaming activity, it still soared, but not everyone was accepting of its lyrics.

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As far as his highest moments with XO, The Weeknd has a multitude of them, especially following the release of 'After Hours'. The LP received wide praise from critics and broke the record for the most global pre-adds for an album in Apple Music history, with over 1.02 million users pre-adding the album to their libraries. His fourth No. 1 album, 'After Hours' took the crown, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

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