Something pretty special
This past Saturday rap’s brightest young star, Drake, brought his UK tour to the capital, for a string of headlining shows at the Hammersmith Apollo.
The Canadian rapper previously postponed his debut UK shows by six months, due to personal family issues, so it was fair to say his fans were eagerly awaiting to see the ‘Young Money’ star perform live.
With J Cole taking care of the warm up duties, concert goers were treated with an opening act, that was quite frankly worthy of headlining the entire gig. But not to be out-done, Aubrey ‘Drake’ Graham put on a show, that I’m sure most of his fans inside the west London venue, would believe was worth the six month wait.
The 24-year-old came out to a frenzied-style response, as he entered the stage to his ‘Light Up’ intro. UK audiences gave the former child star a very warm welcome – boiling hot to be precise. He opened the show with a verse from ‘Forever’, which turned the already hyped Apollo theatre into a rave-like atmosphere.
His 60 minute set included snippet verses and hooks from both his highly successful debut album ‘Thank Me Later’ and his critically acclaimed mixtape ‘So Far Gone’. There were also added verses from his featured songs, including (Rihanna’s) ‘What’s My Name’ and (Young Money’s) ‘Bedrock’. The chopped down version of each song actually worked in Drake’s favour, as it kept the show moving and very fast pace.
For someone with only one official album under his belt, and who is still considered a ‘newbie’ in the hip-hop game, Drake’s list of hit songs were pretty impressive.
‘Successful’, ‘Fancy’ and ‘Over’ were general crowd pleasers. A personal highlight of the night came when Florence Welch (of Florence & The Machine) joined the rapper on stage to take care of Alicia Keys’ vocal duties for ‘Fireworks’. The south London songstress brought some much appreciated glam and strong melodic lungs to the show.
Although Drake has been the only rapper to successfully combine singing and rapping, his live singing vocals weren’t particularly strong on the night (he had told the crowd the previous night he was suffering from the flu). But when he rapped, he was so on point. His live MC’ing voice is just as clear and precise as his recording voice.
The down point of the show was his constant desire to ‘talk dirty’. Although the majority female crowd were lapping it up, all his talk about “The Drizzy 3 Stroke” and him attempting to demonstrate it, was slightly awkward, and more reminiscent of an R&B show as oppose to a hip-hop concert. Not to mention it completely froze out his male fans.
At times it seemed like a watered down hip-hop show and the constant sexual comments were slightly unnecessary in the context of a rap concert, but overall it was a great show, with an electric atmosphere. When Drake rapped and focused purely on lyrics and the music, it was something pretty special.