TORONTO — Sporting an October’s Very Own varsity jacket, black t-shirt, fatigue pants and a pair of black Air Jordan sneakers, Drake looked every bit the part of collegiate jock during his OVO Festival performance Sunday night (August 1).
The homecoming star basked in the adoration of the local audience, which cheered every line Drake either spit or sang, from his springy breakout “Best I Ever Had” to the hardened Thank Me Later number “Up All Night.”
It was quite a showing for the upstart MC; the show doubled as the inaugural OVO Festival and the last leg of his Away From Home Tour, which he launched this past spring.
But like a respectful freshman type, Drake made sure to welcome the upperclassmen — who threatened to steal the show — to his Caribana-tinged party.
Drizzy brought the capacity crowd to its feet when he invited both Jay-Z and Eminem to the proceedings as the two legendary artists joined the So Far Gone artist for back-to-back performances to close out his show.
“I want this s— forever,” Drake said after introducing Bun B to the crowd and acknowledging the UGK veteran who helped open the concert.
The blaring horns of “Forever” then boomed through the Molson Amphitheatre speakers and Drake kick-started the all-star posse cut.
“Last name, ever, first name, greatest,” he rapped. “Like a sprained ankle, boy, I ain’t nothing to play with.”
Drake was without Kanye West, who didn’t appear, and Lil Wayne, who is currently incarcerated.
But Eminem, the song’s other key cog, was present and he caused the crowd to shriek when he appeared onstage. Decked out in black from head to toe, Slim Shady’s time was brief, but the Detroit superstar made every second count. “There they go/ Packing stadiums as Shady spits his flow,” Em rapped. “Nuts they go/ Macadamian they go, so ballistic, whoa/ We can make them look like bozos/ He’s wondering if he should spit this flow/ F— no, go for broke/ His cup just runneth over/ Oh no.”
The Drizzy/Shady summit proved to be piercing as the pair drew the loudest cheers of the night.
Rick Ross (“B.M.F. [Blowing Money Fast]”), Fabolous (“Throw It in the Bag”), Young Jeezy (“Unforgettable”) and Kardinal Offishall (“‘Ol Time Killin’ “) all joined the Toronto rapper onstage throughout the festivities.
Moments after Eminem left the stage, though, Drake was joined by yet another heavyweight: Jay-Z.
Drake teased the crowd prior to Hov’s appearance as his DJ blasted Kanye West’s “Power,” leading many in the venue to assume ‘Ye would appear from backstage.
But after a brief delay, the iconic Brooklyn superstar arrived onstage; in front of him, thousands of “Roc diamonds” shaped by audience members’ hands made Jay-Z feel right at home.
“I wanna pay respect to the people that inspired me that couldn’t be here,” Drake yelled as “Power” silenced.
“Play something else,” he said calmly, then Andre 3000’s “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” verse rang through the sound system.
After working the crowd up into a frenzy, Drake stopped the music once again to address the audience.
“Gimme something from a man who’s inspired me more than anybody else in my f—ing life, I’d say,” he said before “Public Service Announcement (Interlude)” powered throughout the Toronto sky.
And then, just like that, Jay-Z surprised the sold-out audience with a rumbling rendition of “Run This Town.”
“I want you to give them the anthem they deserve tonight,” Drake said.
The decibel levels easily pushed past safety settings as the speakers thundered with rattling bass.
Drake closed things out on his own with a stirring rendition of his first single, “Over.”
A year later and his meteoric ascent is nearly complete, with him having brought a bevy of stars to his hometown.
“I swear it feels like the last few nights we been everywhere and back/ But I just can’t remember it all,” Drake rapped over the triumphant strings. “What am I doing, what am I doing/ Oh, yeah, that’s right, I’m doing me.”
Then, speaking to the crowd, Drake said his final goodbye: “I love this city with my entire life,” he told the audience as it roared its approval.
Were you at Drake’s OVO Festival Sunday night? Let us know what you thought about the show in the comments!