Drake takes on Lil Wayne at the Woodlands Pavilion

05 Oct 2014 03:22
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Drake hails from Canada, but Saturday's joint show with Lil Wayne at the Woodlands Pavilion gave him a bit of a homefield advantage.
"I'd say this is my second home, but this (expletive) feels like my first home," he told the ecstatic crowd.
Drake has a long history with the city, which he says "birthed" his career after, coincidentally, an invitation to Houston from Lil Wayne several years ago. A 2009 performance at Warehouse Live is near legendary status, and he frequently shouts out local rappers and venues in songs. He duets with local girl Beyoncé on "Mine" from her self-titled surprise album.
Drake hosted Houston Appreciation Weekend in June, which included concerts and appearances at local clubs and an Astros Game. He has an Astros logo tattooed on his shoulder. (He also reportedly dropped $17,000 at the V-Live Gentleman's Club alongside Rihanna in November.)
Wayne, however, was unfazed by the local love.
"He think he got some connection with Htown. But he forgot, I been doin' this (expletive) since he in the wheelchair," Wayne quipped, a reference to Drake's early years on teen soap opera "Degrassi."
The Drake vs. Lil Wayne show is set up as a larger-than-life rap battle, a lyrical throwdown in front of thousands of ecstatic fans. The two commercially potent stars take jabs at each other via impressive arsenals of hits, framed by a theme based on the classic "Street Fighter" video game. (Fans download an app before the show that allows them to determine who performs first and pick a winner at the end of the night.)
This was the last of 31 shows, and aside from Drake's unofficial homecoming, it was also Wayne's 32nd birthday. It gave the performances an added jolt.
In many ways, they're a study in contrasts. Drake, suave and sensitive, all in white; Wayne, brash and scrappy, shirtless with boxers exposed under baggy shorts and tube socks.
The pair took clever, good-spirited jabs at each other. Drake promised to "roast" Wayne but also called him "my brother, my mentor, the reason I'm even able to stand up here."
Brisk snippets of songs kept the energy up. Wayne was up first with "Blunt Blowin" and "Steady Mobbin." Drake followed up with "We Made It" and "The Language." They tag teamed through the hits and deep cuts, with no down time between sets.
Drake referenced Houston (again) and the late DJ Screw during "November 18th." Not one to be outdone, Wayne told the crowd there was "a huge difference between hits and classics" before launching into his own "Go D.J.," "Pop Bottles" and "Leather So Soft."
Drake soared over the crowd on a pedestal (a "stripper pole," Wayne joked) before leading the crowd through pop smash "Hold On, We're Going Home." Wayne responded with his own crossover hits, including "How To Love" and "Lollipop."
There was a battle within a battle, with each performer trying to one up the other with snippets of featured verses and choruses. It was wholly entertaining and often hilarious. There were crowd singalongs, lots of chest-puffing and hammy dance moves, from "Bandz A Make Her Dance" to "No Lie," from "Make It Rain" to "I'm On One" and "No New Friends." It also highlighted the sheer commercial power of both acts.
The show's final stretch saw the pair run through a series of solo hits before closing with "HYFR." Drake's "Worst Behavior," "Trophies" and "Started From the Bottom" pushed up against Wayne's "No Worries," recent single "Believe Me" and "A Milli" (which earned one of the night's biggest responses). They feed off each other, Wayne focusing his abrasive energy, Drake kicking his up a notch.
The final winner was voted on via the app but never revealed. Instead, Drake and Wayne promised to repeat the tour next year, behind new albums, with the first show in Houston. (Wayne's "Tha Carter V" is out Oct. 28; Drake's "Views from the 6″ is expected next year.) And both men, based on the energy and enthusiastic reception, proved knockouts.

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