Imagine being a teenager again, with larger-than-life dreams and aspirations you can’t put into words. Knowing the possibilities that lie ahead, could you pack up all your things and leave your old life behind? That’s exactly what Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd did. Alongside friends Hyghly Alleyne and Lamar Taylor, they relocated to a spot in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood which would soon become known to fans as the House of Balloons.

It wasn’t until December of 2010 when a mysterious YouTube account, “xoxxxoooxo” quietly uploaded three songs: "What You Need," "Loft Music," and "The Morning;" all credited to someone named “The Weeknd”. The mysterious tracks were met with much fanfare online, celebrated for their textured soundscapes and remarkable vocals. Perhaps most notably, the tracks were shared by Drake via his blog and would be the start of a long professional relationship and friendship. By the end of 2011, The Weeknd’s body of work was already quite illustrious and expansive. We were gifted House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence; a trilogy soaked in the different shades of the dark, hazy R&B he popularized.

Scarborough’s Abel Tesfaye now stands as one of the biggest musical acts on the planet, with the ability to pack arenas around the world. He’s since pivoted his drug-induced approach to lyricism, mixing it with dance/funk instrumentation befitting his superstardom. His latest effort, Starboy is an indication of his influence. The project prominently showcases his new sound and only lends features to the most distinguished guests: Daft Punk, Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar, and Future. Additionally, Abel is a co-founder of XO Records, a record label created with longtime-friend Cash, which is home to artists like Nav, Belly, and 88GLAM. Now seven years into the game, with a circle of friends as talented as himself, Abel is sitting atop the world. We compiled his best 25 songs that we believe are the foundations to his throne.