On Monday night (Aug. 5), Drake tightened his grip on the city of Toronto with his star-studded performance at his ninth annual OVO Fest.
The Budweiser Stage was a wonderland for Drake enthusiasts, who were previously greeted by a nostalgic stroll back into the 2000s Sunday night (Aug. 4), courtesy of R&B heartthrobs B2K, Mario and Pretty Ricky.
For day two, Drake made sure his presence was felt as nearly a dozen OVO owl flags welcomed fans upon the entryway. Inside, a slew of paintings proved to be Instagram worthy props for concertgoers with colorful portraits of Billie Eilish, Nas and Mary J Blige adorning the venue. For zealous fans, patience ran thin. Some quickly scurried to GA in hopes of securing a sweet spot to catch the 6 God in action, while others were already stationed at the floor area since earlier in the afternoon. By 7:30 p.m., the section was packed to capacity.
For this year’s festivities, there weren’t any big-time openers, as the most noteworthy star proved to be OVO’s Baka Not Nice, who provided a rousing rendition of “Live Up to My Name.”
By 8:50 p.m., the screen which once featured Drake’s beloved OVO owl went blank, causing a frenzy among fans. Suddenly, the screen displayed a highlight reel paying homage to the Toronto Raptors’ championship run this year. Shortly after, the speaker hummed, as Hit-Boy’s triumphant instrumental for “Trophies” seeped through the venue. As the beat played, Drake slowly sauntered onstage with a Larry O’Brien trophy in-hand. Clad in a throwback Percy Miller Toronto Raptors jersey, Drake’s emphatic opening was met with deafening roars from his OVO aficionados. What made Drizzy’s entrance even more exceptional was his unbridled confidence, which was acquired after the Toronto Raptors stymied the Golden State Warriors in six games during this year’s NBA Finals. The cherry on top? Behind him stood a colossal Larry O’Brien trophy, symbolic of the Raptors victory.
Tonight, the air was different. Drake was home, and more importantly, the city which once clamored for a championship was no longer riddled with fear and desperation. Drizzy wanted to celebrate and do so in style for the “greatest fucking city in the world.”
After “Trophies,” he punched his way through “Mob Ties” with ease, before tagging in his first guest of the night: Lil Baby. Together, the two steamrolled passed their Hot 100 heater “Yes Indeed,” before Drake allowed Baby to feast on the Budweiser stage with a sizzling performance of “Drip Too Hard.”
“I need y’all to make some motherfucking noise for my brother who’s been killing this shit last year, this year, and for all the years to come,” said Drake after Baby shined onstage. From then on, it was easy to see what kind of vibe Drake was on. Tonight wasn’t about him, it was about giving artists their flowers while they were still present and allowing the city to revel in their success over the last year. From Da Baby’s dynamic outing on “Suge” to his Young Money brethren Tyga blessing The Six with a “Taste” of his 2018 top 10 single, Drake was a willing passer, allowing his guest stars to soak in the Toronto air and glow on his turf.
And when Drake wasn’t throwing lobs to his all-star homies, he moonwalked backed into his catalog, and spoonfed fans a series of bangers, including “Over,” “Headlines” and “Gyalchester.” His most significant flex was probably bringing in Gucci Mane, Meek Mill, and Chris Brown down to OVO Fest, especially since the first two stars were previously facing legal woes, which prevented them from traveling inside the country. As for Brown, after warring with Drake over the last few years, he and the 6 God put their feud to rest with their fiery collaboration “No Guidance” and performed the record for everyone in attendance.
Drake, who later called Brown “one of the best entertainers of all-time” admitted that he “did not know that he would see this day” where he and the “Back to Sleep” crooner would join forces onstage. He even extended the stage to the singer, who performed four songs, including “Freaky Friday” and “Loyal.”
While Drake managed to bring in notable heavyweights, he also made it an issue to invite several female powerhouses. “In 2019, I feel like there’s a lot of women that’s running the men out of the gym in the industry this year,” he said before tapping rookie of the year candidate Megan Thee Stallion for a two-song set in “Big Ol Freak” and “Cash Shit” with DaBaby. Later, Drake upped the ante and enlisted Cardi B for a five-song window. The Bronx firecracker dished out an explosive set, as she charged through “Bodak Yellow” and “I Like It.” Though she admitted that her asthma slowed her down a bit, she pushed on and called out her husband Offset for his track “Clout.”
On this Monday night, Drake fancied his loaded guestlist — he also performed “Money in the Grave” with Rick Ross — while making sure he was an active contributor on his own, as well. Whether he empowered women on “Nice For What,” or was looking to recharge fans’ energy level on “Sicko Mode,” there was no stopping him. The boy was on one and was on a mission to deliver his city another championship before closing the summer out. Fortunately, Toronto can once again rejoice, and continue to cherish their banner year, thanks to the 6 God and his excellent team of hip-hop heroes.