Drake has never disappointed Toronto before, landing appearances from Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas and Stevie Wonder at previous installations of his OVO Fest, and he didn’t lower the bar this year.
His new collaboration with Aaliyah hit the Web on Sunday night, creating a storm of its own, just as he was busy back home, summoning surprise guests like Nicki Minaj and Snoop Dogg to the stage.
While performing dates on his recent Club Paradise Tour, Drake told MTV News that he planned to make OVO Fest 2012 a night to remember, and he did.
“Bringing together the third annual OVO Fest is such a milestone for me,” he said. “A lot has happened over the last three years — a journey that I’m so grateful for — but it’s always coming home and performing for my hometown that means the most. This year, we’re going to bring it just like we do every year: with high energy and music at its best.”
The YMCMB rapper was in great spirits Sunday night, dressed in all white, telling the crowd he felt like it was his birthday over raucous cheers after entering to Aaliyah’s “If Your Girl Only Knew.” This year’s confirmed lineup for OVO Fest included 2 Chainz, A$AP Rocky and the Weeknd, but of course, Drake had a few a tricks up his sleeve.
He launched a two hour set with Take Care cuts, including the title track, “Lord Knows” and “Crew Love,” with some help from the Weeknd. But a long list of guest appearances meant plenty of music from other talent.
Nicki Minaj, whom he introduced as “the most beautiful thing that exists in the entire world,” joined him to perform “Make Me Proud,” plus her own tracks like “Beez in the Trap,” while Snoop Dogg — now known as Snoop Lion — ran through classics like “Beautiful.”
Throughout the show, Drake continued to show love for his city. The rapper, who spit “Tatt my name on you so I know it’s real,” really sent the crowd reeling when he lifted up his shirt to reveal his new “416” Toronto area-code tattoo on his ribcage. The ink was still fresh from last week — maybe timed to coincide with the annual show?
Other notable guests included veteran OVO performer Rick Ross, along with Meek Mill, Waka Flocka Flame and French Montana.