The Drake vs. Lil' Wayne tour implemented new-age technology with nostalgic style to create a distinctly enjoyable concert experience. The two rappers battled both onstage and in the palm of the concert goers hand via an app that was styled after CAPCOM’s classic Street Fighter video game. App users voted for who came out first (Lil’ Wayne) and for who they thought “won” the show (Drake).
White-clad Drake was like Jesus, The Beatles, and a Tupac hologram wrapped into one. Well, at least that’s how he was greeted by the crowd. A truly thunderous roar of appreciation for the rapper bellowed through the Mountain View air, probably knocking a few of the nearby Google employees off their funky-colored company-provided bikes. Just to put the excitement in the crowd into perspective for you, I honestly believe his presence onstage gave the girl behind me an orgasm.
[jump] But throughout the night Drake would prove that it was all well deserved. He’s a deeply charismatic person, able to carry the crowd through his story not only with his songs but also with his mannerisms and magnetic personality. He’s an elite entertainer who can connect deeply with a diverse audience. Whether he’s rapping with fire behind him, softly singing in a lone spotlight, or floating over the crowd on what Lil’ Wayne jokingly referred to as a “striper pole” pretending to recognize individual people in the very back of the audience, Drake excels.
As part of the battle theme, the rappers trade light-hearted barbs in-between songs. The conversation was guided, but over the performance the two loosened up and gave the crowd an opportunity to really feel like they were just hanging out with the stars. Wayne clearly had the upper hand in the jokes department with one liners like “I’ve been doing this (rapping) since he was still in the wheelchair.” And “We’re still looking for the guy who shot him and put him in the wheelchair.” The crowd laughed along with the two before Drake quipped, “Oh enough with the Degrassi jokes!”
Wayne also gave Drake his first pinky ring, which genuinely excited Toronto-based rapper who called Wayne his “boss, mentor and brother.” Lil’ Wayne, rocking 49er colored Jordans, played several of his classic songs as a price tag on his hat bounced along with the verses. The two entertainers made for a deadly one-two punch well worth the price of admission.
Wayne shined on his verses to his new song “Believe Me” coming out on his highly-anticipated record, The Carter V, which drops on October 28. But he also received a light booing from the crowd when he was handed a guitar that was either not plugged in, or not turned up enough to matter.
The mixing, at least in the cheap seats, was an issue throughout the night. The vocals and bass were audible enough, but many of the melodic parts were annoyingly absent. Lil’ Wayne’s “Lollipop” had its Achilles’ heel cut when the mix erased the high pitched synth. Drake’s “Headlines” suffered the same brutal fate at the soundboard. Both songs were well-performed but struggled in the outdoor venue’s sound system.
YG opened up his set energetically with the first two tracks off his latest My Krazy Life album, “BPT” and “I Just Wanna Party,” the latter being a song meant to put Los Angeles gang affiliations (like YG’s red hat) aside in order to have a good time. The crowd was still filing in and it sounded like the sound guy was still mixing the board because the levels were a mess. Unfortunately most of YG’s set was plagued by bad levels and was a sonically muddled mess. But he was able to overcome the mixing and win the crowds affection with his closing hit song, “My Nigga.”
The lawn seats were a diverse crowd, but young women with Nicki Minaj ringing in their ears and sporting whatever outfit best accentuated their booty (high-waisted shorts accompanied by one article of camouflage clothing seemed to be the favorite) were clearly a large portion. The smoky crowd took group selfies and spilled $12 beers in-between sets. To get around the high prices, a young woman standing next to me drank hard liquor out of a concealed alcohol device she bought at Urban Outfitters that was designed to look like a tampon. I sat down to rest my legs and had a blacked out drunk girl practically stage dive on my head. I felt my neck pop in a not-so-chiropractic way.
Security had been on high alert all night, banning any large purses, backpacks, or even blankets from entering the venue. There was a buzz amongst the crowd that it was due to the shooting death that happened here earlier this year after a Wiz Khalifa concert. But that didn’t stop a rather large fight from breaking out after the music had ended and lasting a good while before security got it under control. But I’m sure it was only a fraction of a percent of the time it took for me to get out of the parking lot.
Some set list highlights:
“Who Do You Love?”
“Started From The Bottom”
Truncated versions of: “No Lie,” “Rich as Fuck,” “Fucking Problems”
Set list Lowlights:
Lil’ Wayne “Drop the World”
Drake: “Find Your Love”