Drake continued his reign as one of hip hop's most enigmatic figures Wednesday night at the Toyota Center, offering an intriguing two-hour performance that focused on new material from the artist's moody Nothing Was the Same album.
As a child of the '90s reared on gangsta icons like Biggie and Tupac, I freely admit that the Canadian actor-turned-rapper has totally confused me since he first appeared with the catchy 2009 hit "Best I Ever Had." While I've loved him as popular Jimmy Brooks on the legendary teen drama Degrassi High, it's still hard not to giggle a bit when he shouts out, "Ghostface Killah."
But maybe I finally need to get over that. Surely that's what the packed house at the Toyota Center would have said.
The rapper's new album is jam-packed with Houston references, a recognition not lost on an audience that sang every lyric in between near-constant screams.
Wednesday's show kicked off with the Nothing Was opener "Tuscan Leather," a bold choice considering the track's murky tempo and complete lack of chorus. Amazingly, the crowd — which erupted in Beatles-style screams at the first sight of Drake — nearly drowned out the entire song as well as the follow-ups, which I think were "Headlines" and "Crew Love" from 2011's Take Care.
The rapper's new album is jam-packed with Houston references (click here for a comprehensive list from Bayou City music writer Brando), a recognition not lost on an audience that sang every lyric in between near-constant screams . . . which got only louder when Drake stripped down to a tank top.
After taking a break during a brief DJ set from the band, Drake re-emerged through a haze of thick smoke for the summer 2013 hit "Hold On, We're Going Home," which proved the night's most memorable song thanks to a surprised fan (and mother of four) lucky enough to join the rapper onstage.