TORONTO, CANADA — Drake was feeling sentimental when he hit the stage at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre on Monday night. For his 5th annual OVO Fest, he wanted to take hometown fans on a journey through his rise to fame. He moved through his breakout mixtape and three albums, peppering the songs with important stories along the way — and, of course, plenty of cameos.
Lauryn Hill opened the show and the floodgates to a list of guest appearances that included Trey Songz, J. Cole, YG, DJ Khaled, Usher, Tinashe, and his OVO boys; OB Obrien, PartyNextDoor and Majid Jordan. It wasn’t just the cameos that made the night special, however, it was the small things.
Here’s how Drake entertained us at OVO Fest 2014:
He cursed in front of his mom — then apologized.
Drake took the time to toast five years of OVO Fest at the top of the show, by bringing his mom to the stage in her wheelchair. We’ve heard a lot about her in his music over the years, so it was only fitting that she got to experience the moment with him. “This year’s about to be a muthaf—a,” he told the crowd loudly, quickly adding to his mom, “Sorry, excuse my language.”
He introduced Trey Songz as his first famous friend from America.
The crowd might’ve really thought that Lil Wayne was hitting the stage when Drake teased that he’d brought the “first famous person in America” who gave him a chance, but it was his boy Trey Songz with a performance of “Successful.” The singer recounted his first visit to Toronto, when Drake was still driving his old Acura and working in a corner studio.
He made fun of himself for lint-rolling at that NBA game.
So, we weren’t the only ones who thought that was ridiculous. Remember that time Drizzy decided to take a lint roller to his pants, while sitting courtside at a Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets game? The Internet had a field day with that one, but Drake isn’t feeling salty about it. During a performance of “All Me,” he replayed the game footage of himself over and over in the background. He also knows every line of Big Sean’s verse on that track, because he spit the full thing for fun.
He lost the ’slide battle’ with Usher, but confirmed a new collaboration.
If you don’t know the term “slide battle,” just picture Usher at his peak — sliding and gliding all over the dancefloor with those MJ moves. Apparently Drake was really into it when he was young (wearing the “Sean John jeans with the studs down the side”) so he wanted to challenge Ursh for a minute. Drake clearly didn’t have a chance, but Usher was one of the major cameos of the night, performing “Confessions,” “U Don’t Have to Call,” and one of his latest releases “Good Kisser.” Drake also revealed that he’ll be featured on Usher’s upcoming album.
He swore that J. Cole is his “twin brother.”
This bromance is the best. While telling the story of his rise to fame, he recalled the period after dropping Thank Me Later, when he was “getting calls from the greats to come write and be on songs.” He was also hearing a lot about another buzzing “lightskin” rapper from North Carolina. And instead of becoming enemies they became the best of friends. (We’d also like to point out that Cole went ultra casual, wearing a pair of sweatshorts with that Roc chain Jay Z gave him back in January).
He squashed the “beef” with Kendrick Lamar.
All of that tension and those passive aggressive comments? It might finally be over now. Drake took a minute to give Kendrick some major love last night, and it was a beautiful moment.
He made another One Direction reference.
In addition to the fact that he already referenced the boy band on “Believe Me,” rapping, “On the road, I do One Direction numbers — I don’t f—ing miss,” he found another thing he has in common with them on Monday night. At one point during the show, he hopped onto an elevated platform, which took him over the center of the crowd. He was proud to announce that “it’s not a lot of rappers that would do this s—, it’s like me and One Direction.”
He brought out G-Unit and the noise was deafening..
My ears are still ringing. 50 Cent and G-Unit were the last big cameo of the night, and their appearance made the crowd go absolutely insane. Suddenly I was engulfed in a mosh pit and the screams were so loud that I worried my ears might bleed. G-Unit ran through hits with Fif like “What Up Gangsta” and “In Da Club,” and commanded the biggest applause of the night.
He performed all of his recent freestyles.
Drizzy ran through all of his recent verses, including “Draft Day” (which he performed with Lauryn Hill), “We Made It,” “Days in the East,” “Trophies,” and of course, “0 to 100.” It was glorious.
PartyNextDoor and Majid Jordan made their big debut.
On “0 to 100″ Drake promised us that his OVO sound label would have spring 2015 on lock, and he’s clearly trying to keep that promise. His Toronto artists, PartyNextDoor and Majid Jordan, both made big cameos so their hometown crowd could get properly acquainted.
He’s not shy about singing anymore.
At all. So he spent a portion of the night crooning his heart out and treating fans to songs that just wasn’t brave enough to perform a few years back, including oldies like So Far Gone’s “Sooner Than Later.” Later, he had fun with a very extended version of “Hold On We’re Going Home,” with Majid Jordan.
He teased about buying Toronto’s Molson Ampitheatre.
Five years in a row — why not just buy the place? Drake joked that if the owner of the venue was present, he might as well get ready to sell it. Only thing is, we’re not sure if he was actually joking. You never know with this guy.