"It's good to be home, New Orleans," hometown hero Lil Wayne told the audience after taking the stage at Hornets Arena in the Crescent City. And the sold-out crowd of his birthplace loved him for it.
All of Weezy's I Am Still Music tourmates hit the stage on Thursday night, including Porcelain Black, Mix Master Mike & Travis Barker, and Ricky Rozay Ross, with an appearance by buddy DJ Khaled, each giving it their all, and the crowd was with them every step of the way.
After launching into the first quarter of his performance with "A Milli" and "Got Money" (featuring fellow NOLA MC Mack Maine), Wayne gave the city another series of nods. Before getting into "Go DJ," Wayne called out to DJ 45, "We in my hometown! You got some bounce for me?" And later, in his homage to fallen hip-hop icons, Wayne called out, "And if you from New Orleans, put your hands up for Soulja Slim," paying his respect to the late rap star.
Nicki Minaj had the audience in a frenzy when, instead of her typical move of choosing an audience member to give a lap dance to, she asked the crowd, "So, y'all are Hornets fans? Usually I invite someone from the audience onstage. But today, there's someone special." The decibel level in the arena rose exponentially as Chris Paul seemed not too displeased at handling the honors for the night. The famed Hornets point guard sat down with a smile as Nicki did ... well, what Nicki does.
Young Money was on full display when Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda and Mack Maine joined Wayne for "Every Girl." Ace Hood came out to perform "Hustle Hard," his single with Wayne. Lil Chuckee, Lil Twist, Gudda, Mack and Millz came out for "Bedrock," and Birdman graced the stage for a fiery rendition of "Fire Flame (Remix)."
Then Wayne pulled out his final surprise of the night: bringing out Drake for "Miss Me" and "Forever." Dreezy relished the chance to speak to his New Orleans fans and once more quell any rumors that he was leaving the Young Money family.
"I wanna say one very important thing to you before I go," Drake said. "I wanna let you know that New Orleans was truly the birthplace of my career. Y'all were the first people to f--- with my music, and I recognize that. And just know that I'm Young Money forever, and this is my mother----ing brother, and I love you, man," he added, turning to Wayne.
And just to make sure fans knew when to expect that Carter IV album, Weezy made the audience repeat the date back to him. May 16 it is!