Lil Wayne's Young Money Presents: America's Most Wanted Music Festival hit Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre in New York Saturday night (Aug. 1) without the rapper's protégé Drake, who took a nasty onstage spill the night before and aggravated an already-serious knee injury.
Though news and footage of Drake's fall had permeated the Internet by Saturday afternoon, most fans gasped in dismay when Lil Wayne announced midway through his set that Drake would not take the stage.
"We had a technical difficulty yesterday," Wayne told the crowd. "[Drake] fell...he's going into surgery tomorrow, so y'all keep him in your prayers."
After opening sets by Jeremih, Pleasure P, Soulja Boy Tell 'Em and Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne tore through hits for a crowd of mostly white teenage fans. Some sported homemade "Weezy F Baby" T-shirts and all screamed devoutly after each number, even the ones for which they initially seemed less enthusiastic (the Robin Thicke-assisted "Tie My Hands" and the AutoTuned rock jam "Prom Queen," from his upcoming album "Rebirth.").
All the while, Wayne -- wearing a purple Boston Red Sox cap, fatigue shorts and a cardigan Bill Cosby would love -- remained squarely in control. "The Carter 3" cuts "A Milli" and "The Sky Is the Limit" were delivered with brisk, even stoic precision; later, he solemnly instructed the crowd on his favorite rappers (The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Jay-Z, himself) as their images flashed on a large video screen. The most visceral moments came when Wayne ripped off his shirt during "I'm Me" and again during "Shoot Me Down," eliciting wild shrieks from the audience.
Though Wayne's rollout of the Young Money roster -- Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda, Lil Twist, T-Streets, Nicki Minaj and the sprightly Lil Chuckee -- lacked the punch it would have no doubt delivered with Drake, it was an efficient showcase of his growing franchise. The rappers each delivered a quick snippet of their rhymes and then reunited with their mentor for the hyper-libidinous Young Money hit "Every Girl," during which Wayne graciously stepped in to spit Drake's verse, an enormous leopard-print bra thrown slung around his neck.
Drake's camp has yet to release a statement about his status for the remainder of the Young Money tour but the rapper blogged about the incident on Sunday. "I am about 2 hours away from Toronto, CA where I will be spending the next chunk of time recovering from a surgery that I now must have," he wrote. "I embarked on this tour with a torn ACL, MCL, and LCL and due to the events that happened the other night lord only knows what other damage I have done."
"On the bright side I will begin the reflecting and soul searching that it's going to take to make this album," added Drake, whose debut single "Best I Ever Had" is perched at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100. "I will forever push myself beyond the limits despite advice and recommendations given because even with this new found success I am still the kid who wanted this more than anything in the world."
Drake would be happy to know that fans were just as eager to see him up close. "I like Lil Wayne, but I really wanted to see Drake," grumbled one fan as the crowd filtered out of the Jones Beach theater. "He's the main reason I came to this show."