Drake's VMA Performance: YMCMB Crew Gives Their Reviews

Khaled and Birdman weigh in, while Drake explains his album-art-turned-performance-backdrop.

The album cover for Drake's Nothing was the Same means a lot to the OVO star — so much so that he incorporated the Kadir Nelson design into his 2013 VMA performance.

When Drizzy opened "Hold On, We're Going Home," he did so sitting against a blue sky, speckled with white clouds. The televised shot was a live-action mimic of the album cover that the rapper dropped on Wednesday. "It's a child version of myself starring at myself now," Drake explained to MTV News on Friday after a scheduled rehearsal in the Barclays. "When I try to think back through this journey, it's so hard to pinpoint all these moments and it gets foggy."

For the rapper, Nothing was the Same is his most focused work and the art represents the way he will musically tell the story of how he went from a boy into the man. "Even on past albums when I been trying to tell this story, I've got there, but maybe not got there all the way," he said. "What that album art is to me is that this is my most clear, concise thoughts from now and my best recollection of then."

"Started from the Bottom" is one of those recollections of then that Drake references, it was also the second song he performed last night. The pounding Mike Zombie-produced beat and firework display onstage got stars like Will Smith, Wiz Khalifa and YMCMB affiliates like DJ Khaled and Birdman out of their seats.

"Man, I was excited man. When he dropped that 'Started from the Bottom' and the explosions started happening, the whole crew was like this," Khaled told MTV News while waving his hands up and down.

"We just felt proud as a team," Birdman said, flashing his diamond grin. "We were here for Drake tonight and it felt amazing to watch him do his thing."