Images by Courtney DeWitt
"I'm not trying to change your lives, I'm just trying to be a part of it”, declared Aubrey Drake Graham as he took the stage at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena to a bonkers applause from a audience already ‘drunk on drizzy’.
An audience who had waited six years to see Champagne Papi live in all his stadium glory. In that time 6 God has rapidly ascended to the top of the rap game entirely by his own design.
The Melbourne crowd were privy to a Drake performance hot off the news that his surprise mix-tape If You're Reading This It's Too Late, was not only atop the Billboard charts but all 14 of it’s tracks had simultaneously charted on the Billboard Hot 100. The only other act to have done so was a band called the Beatles 51 years before.
Things were going to get hype.
Opening with the victorious “Trophies” and a series of bangers including the monstrous, “We Made It” that combines an Eastbound and Down sample and a Soulja Boy cameo, Drake proved that he knew how to work a show.
As the massive red block letters behind him stated ‘DRAKE KNOWS’.
He knows that his guest parts on other artist’s hits are some of his strongest moments so his verse from Nicki Minaj’s summer house anthem “Truffle Butter” extended into a Drake solo dance moment, currently taking Vine by storm and is something I’ve dubbed ‘The Truffle Butter Shuffle”.
Drake knows that he doesn’t need a hype man. He brings out some OVO family including OB O’Brien for their gender flip of Tinashe’s ‘2 On’ and props are given to his dexterous drummer, keyboardist and DJ, but like Kanye, Drake is a one man show.
Drizzy gives more props to ATL legend and frequent OVO collaborator 2 Chainz who played a super satisfying support that opened with his verse on West’s beast of a track “Mercy”. When Drake brought 2 Chainz back out for their collabo “No Lie” he too bowed down in admiration for the veteran, ‘hair weave killa’.
“Worst Behaviour”, “Come Thru” and “Started from the Bottom”, all massive tracks from the exceptional Nothing Was The Same album were all executed with crowd singalongs and a command of the smoke and flame filled stage.
During a quick outfit switch DJ, Future the Prince, dropped a medley of songs ranging from cuts from the So Far Gone days right up to the aforementioned NWTS.
But shit got next level when Drake floated over the crowd on a precarious looking trapeze. Singling out fans in their limited edition OVO sweaters, Vince Carter Raptors jerseys and even asking for and receiving one audience members custom 'If You’re Reading This Drake Made it to Melbourne' tee.
Descending in a cloud of white smoke Drake launched into his game changing ambient track “Marvin’s Room” and an extended version of “Hold On, We're Going Home” that he changed to “Just Hold on Melbourne, I’m Never Going Home.”
Drizzy’s fans are truly in the same state of mind, testament to this is the most ‘turnt up’ moments come courtesy of the two week old If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
“Know Yourself” is the song Drake currently has the most pleasure in performing live, the anthemic hook that takes place after machine gun fire (which he cheekily mimed for us) “Running through the 6 with my woes” was repeated three times growing in ferociousness with each re-up.
In his recent interview with Zane Lowe, Kanye West, perhaps the only other artist, along with Nicki Minaj, in the same echelon as Drake right now, had these words to offer to the young Canadian, “Run, fly, go as fast as you can, don't stop.”
Don’t worry Yeezy, Drake is already flying, quite literally.
Follow Courtney @thisiscourtneyd