Drake's Major Label Bidding War Heats Up, Universal Signing Likely
Drake's Major Label Bidding War Heats Up, Universal Signing Likely

Rapper/singer Drake, who became an affiliate of Lil Wayne's Young Money label a year ago, has the biggest buzz in hip-hop right now. The presence of Bun B, Kanye West, Talib Kweli, Ryan Leslie, DJ Green Lantern, The Alchemist, MC Lyte, BET's Stephen Hill, Warner Music Group CEO Lyor Cohen and Warner Music Group COO Julie Greenwald at his crammed New York show Tuesday night (May 26) is a testament to that.

The Toronto-born artist performed at SOB's for New York radio station Hot 97's "Who's Next" concert series, where he swiftly ran through songs from his popular mixtape, "So Far Gone," for a thirty-minute set. During "Unstoppable" and "Uptown" he was joined by Bun B on stage.

"I'm a new artist, by the way," Drake, born Aubrey Graham, sporting a black and white striped long-sleeve shirt, dark blue jeans and red sneakers, said to the hyped crowd, "I don't know if you can tell by this show."

The sold-out performance was Drake's last stop before he enters the studio for his debut, "Thank Me Later," which he will start working on June 1, Drake told Billboard.com last week. And although he wouldn't confirm which major label will release the album, he did say he will be signing to one soon. "So Far Gone" was released on February via his blog site Octobersveryown.com.

As if the amount of celebrity status at his show weren't enough star power for the newcomer, last month Drake announced that a late summer tour with three of hip-hop's greats is currently in the works. "God willing, if everything goes according to plan and everybody's schedule is in place, then I will be on tour with some amazing people," Drake told Much Music. "One of them being Jay-Z, one of them being Lil Wayne, one of them being Young Jeezy and one of them being me."

Drake closed the show by performing "Successful," which he dedicated to New York, stating the city "has been supportive since day one."

He ended the show with Young Money's collective "Every Girl," and his own break-out hit "Best I Ever Had." The former peaks at No. 7 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart this week, and the latter climbs to No. 12 on the same tally.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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