Drake’s annual summer OVO Fest in his native Toronto has become synonymous with surprise. Over the past six years, the rapper — whose Views album lived at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for 12 weeks — has pulled out all the stops, bringing out the likes of Eminem, Jay Z, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, Mase, Lauryn Hill, P. Diddy, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell, Nas and more.
While Saturday night’s show wasn’t as star-studded, Toronto shone bright for its beloved 6 God. The concert — the first of two sold out, back-to-back nights which Drizzy described as “both Summer Sixteen/OVO Fest shows featuring myself and @future and friends” on Instagram — took place at the Air Canada Centre, home to the Toronto Raptors (Drake serves as a global ambassador for the NBA franchise). He did have one surprise, though — Rihanna, whose Anti world tour has seen several cameos from Drake.
“You know how much I love my city. It’s The 6 — you deserve to be spoiled,” Drake said before the Bajan beauty emerged in thigh-high boots, jean shorts and a billowy jacket fit for a stylish Victorian Queen. The OVO Fest first-timer — who reportedly got on a flight from France to perform at the show — sang her own hits like “Needed Me” and “Bitch Better Have My Money” just before Drake joined her for “Work” and the live debut of their Top 40-friendly Views duet, “Too Good.”
Other guests included OVO Sound’s up-and-coming R&B duo dvsn (pronounced Division) from Toronto and fellow signing Roy Wood$ from Brampton, Ontario, whose debut studio album, Waking at Dawn, dropped on Canada Day (July 1). Drake’s Toronto pal and OVO crew cohort Baka kicked off the night with his own set.
When Drake finally hit the stage to pyro explosions with the word “Revenge” lighting up on the massive screen behind him, the Toronto rep opened with “Summer Sixteen.” He also pulled out “Still Here” and “Started From the Bottom,” during which fans recited every word. Expectedly, he hailed Toronto “the best city in the motherf—ing world.” He also promised, “I’m here tonight to give you the best night, the best show and the best party in your motherf—ing life.” He then performed “9” (an upside down 6, Drake’s nickname for Toronto because of its 416 area code) accompanied by images of the CN Tower, the city’s iconic landmark, featured on the cover of Views.
After performing 2011’s “Headlines,” he asked the crowd, “Do you want the short show or the long show?” Following the ear-deafening response, he wondered, “But can you keep up with the long show?” The T-Dot rep then performed a mega-medley that included such catalog highlights as “6 God,” “Worst Behavior,” “0 To 100,” “Child’s Play” and his monster smash “Hotline Bling” as well as collaborations like Big Sean’s “Blessings” and “All Me,” 2 Chainz’ “No Lie,” Migos “Versace,” French Montana’s “Pop That,” and DJ Khaled’s “I’m On One.” He then floated above the crowd in a basket-type apparatus for an intimate performance of “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”
After previously joining Drake for “Grammys,” Future strutted out for his solo set, ripping through smashes like “Same Damn Time,” “F–k Up Some Commas,” “March Madness” and “Wicked,” among others. Drake rejoined him for their joint What a Time to Be Alive tracks “Big Rings” and “Jumpman” before closing out the night on his own with runs through his upbeat numbers “Controlla” and “One Dance.” After revealing that he was being asked to exit the stage, Drizzy said, “But they don’t understand, I own the building.” He added, “Tell them to charge it to [Raptors] Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan credit card or something. We’re here all night. We’re not stopping.”