Drake loved Jaden Smith's excited reaction to his 2013 MTV Music Video Awards performance so much that when he took the stage for his his iHeartRadio Music Festival performance Saturday night, he wore a long-sleeved black shirt with a graphic of the young actor's meme-generating "I worship Drake" praying pose.
Introduced by reality TV star Khloe Kardashian and her younger sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Drizzy took the stage at the MGM Grand in all black, Q-Tipped with white sneakers and launched into "Crew Love" from his second studio album, Take Care.
"I came here for the party," Drake said before jumping into Nothing Was The Same's "All Me" and his guest verse from the Migo's remixed summer anthem, "Versace." As the self-proclaimed "light-skinned Keith Sweat" enunciated his lyrics with his trademark demonstrative hand gestures, lasers flashed intermittently against the dimly lit backdrop while pyrotechnics and smoke plumed from both sides of the stage.
Working up a thirst, the Toronto MC took a quick sip of water to get his second wind before offering up the bass-heavy tracks "HYFR" and "The Motto," engaging the increasingly hyped-up crowd throughout.
The OVO frontman then segued seamlessly from bangers to ballad with an impassioned rendition of his chart-topping NWTS single, "Hold On We're Going Home."
To close out his set, Drake kicked it into another gear with a spirited performance of his new LP's bombastic lead single, "Started From the Bottom." Unable to hold back his enthusiasm, Drake treated the stage like the Soul Train line, doing the snow dance and other little shimmies from the song's cinematic video helmed by Director X.
After the audience engaged in a call and response on the song's "no new n---as" refrain, Drake punctuated his performance with an array of fireworks that made the stage look like the Fourth of July.