(Drake backstage at Cali Christmas concert)
Drake, Big Sean and J. Cole took over the Gibson Ampitheatre in Universal City, California on Friday night (December 16) for Los Angeles’ Power 106 annual Cali Christmas concert. It was an eventful night, with Lil Wayne, Tyga and Justin Bieber–who added his vocals to “Trust Issues”– all making guest appearances during Drake’s set. The Toronto rapper, who had a stellar 2011, told MTV News that 2012 will be more about “growth” and “challenging” himself. He’s gearing up for his upcoming “Club Paradise” tour, his first headlining run, which will take place at smaller venues around the U.S. and bigger arenas in the U.K. “I just like the energy,” he said of performing for intimate crowds. “I like people to feel close to me.”
Drake will play for about 6,000 to 9,000 people every night, mostly college students, a demographic he said he feels most loyal to. “I chose to do that because I just feel like those are the kids that downloaded So Far Gone off of October’s Very Own that night and have been riding with me ever since,” he shared. “I don’t want them to ever feel like I left them or like we’re disconnected, so I’m just gonna go back and I’m gonna bring them a real tour into those college spaces.”
As the second wing of the tour expands overseas to the U.K. toward the end of March, so will his audience size. The 25-year-old admitted he’s not yet confident about playing the bigger arenas. “Watching me from a 500-level of an arena, I don’t know if I’m mentally there yet,” he confessed. “I don’t know if I can mentally accept that.”
Joined by Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky, Drake’s North American tour is scheduled to start February 14.
For Big Sean, 2011 was one of the best years of his life. “It’s definitely a breakthrough year for me,” the Detroit native told MTV News, sporting white mink headgear. “I had my first songs on the radio; I got my first gold and platinum plaques. I’ve been really having a great time.”
Big Sean promised fans that his Finally Famous Over Everything mixtape will be completed near the top of the year. “It’s just about done,” he said. “Give it a couple more weeks just to shoot some videos, really get it prepared for the people and just really take over.”
In addition to the FFOE mixtape, Big Sean will touch down on a couple of songs on Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music compilation, also featuring labelmates Common, Mos Def, John Legend, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, Cyhi the Prynce and Mr. Hudson.