Looking out at the adoring crowd before him, Drake smiled widely. "Every year, I feel like this is my motherfucking birthday," he said. From the screams and cheers that filled the air for the entirety of his third annual OVO Fest at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, it was evident that the feeling was mutual.
Last night (August 5), during a two-hour set, the 25 year-old rapper had a lot of words, smiles and special guests for his hometown crowd while making it clear that this was a night about celebrating his city.
Dressed in white from head to toe, Drake kicked off the show with "Take Care" track, "Lord Knows." Joined by Toronto native The Weeknd to perform "Crew Love," the audience enjoyed the opportunity to admire the present and future of their city. Referencing the mixtape trilogy the singer released within one year, Drake proudly spoke on The Weeknd saying he was "living proof of what Toronto can do in a year." Later he reminded them of how much Toronto can do in three years when he took things back to his 2009 "So Far Gone" mixtape and performed "November 18th."
Throughout the show, Drake kept a running dialogue with the crowd. While he shouted out the hospital he was born in and pointed out that all of his band members were "all from Toronto, baby," nothing made the crowd roar as loudly as when he lifted up his shirt to display his newest tattoo. A sprawling "416" Toronto area code is inked along the side of his ribcage.
The sole somber moment of the show came when Drake dedicated the show to Shyanne Charles and Joshua Yasay, two deceased victims of a shooting that took place near Toronto last month.
In between performing solo tracks such as "Over," "Practice," "We'll Be Fine," and "Marvin's Room," there was a constant rotation of special guests to join him on stage. The crowd was treated to solo and collaborative performances by The Weeknd, 2 Chainz, A$AP Rocky, Waka Flocka Flame, Meek Mill, Rick Ross, French Montana, Snoop Dogg and Nicki Minaj.
Before being joined by Minaj to perform "Make Me Proud," Drake addressed the critics who feel his music is too emotional. "For anyone that says I make too much music for women," he began, "you're fucking right I make too much music for women." "Who the fuck else would I make my music for?" Drake continued. Introducing Minaj as "the most beautiful thing that exists in the entire world," he thanked her for re-arranging her schedule to help him give back to his city. In return Minaj asked the crowd to make some noise for "my husband, Drizzy Drake."
After explaining that Lil Wayne wasn't able to be at the show, Drake encouraged the crowd to get loud for him as he performed "HYFR" and "The Motto." They gladly obliged.
From the pride he showed when The Weeknd perform to the joy expressed as he bounced around the stage while his special guests put on a show, it did feel like Drake's birthday, or at the very least, a celebration for everyone involved.
Closing out the show with Headlines, the smile was still on his face as the stage faded into black.