After countless hours, sleepless nights and early mornings – I’ve finally made the decision to leave my 9-5 life behind and pursue my career as a full time Freelance Writer.
For 10 years I had been working on everyone else’s terms but my own. Not all of it was bad, I’ve worked with so many great people, but at the end of each day I was tired of leaving my passion to the side. Turning 35 this year lit the fire inside me to stop making excuses, boss up and finally make a change.
With that said, in January I will be residing in TORONTO as take on this next chapter. Surprise!
I can’t lie, I’m terrified! All I’ve ever known is about to change drastically. The last 14 years in Edmonton has been filled with endless memories that I will cherish forever but if I’ve learned anything in the last decade, it’s to trust your instincts and ALWAYS bet on yourself. Moving to Toronto has been a dream of mine for over a year and it’s finally coming to life!
Thank you to my valued clients who continue to ride with me through this endeavor – new city but it’s business as usual! Thank you to everyone who helped make this move possible (you know who you are). With a transition like this, you need a support system and I couldn’t have done it without you.
And to anyone who feels stuck, frustrated, fed up etc. in any aspect of your life…know that it’s NEVER too late for the next episode. Take the risk! You’ll thank yourself later.
Happy Holidays to you and yours and all the best in 2018.
Here’s to new beginnings!
Follow me on Instagram to stay up to date with my latest adventures in Toronto!
I was blessed to see JAY Z live at Rogers Place on December 9, for the Edmonton stop of his 4:44 Tour. This was my fourth time seeing the G.O.A.T. perform live and it still felt like the first! Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge JAY Z fan, so covering this show was BIG deal. So without further ado, here’s my review on behalf of HipHopCanada. Enjoy!
Edmonton, AB – Where to even begin. There’s no way for me to write this review without my unwavering bias opinion, so I’m going to keep it a buck and just say it: JAY-Z is the greatest and I will meet you in the parking lot about it. How ’bout dah?
With that said, I could go on to tell you the countless reasons why; lyrical assassin, visionary, multi-platinum selling artist, author, business mogul, philanthropist, socially conscious, Beyoncé’s baby daddy, etc. but that’s light work for him on a good day. Since there aren’t enough words or time that’s worthy of proper review, I will do my best to recap HOV’s Edmonton stop of his 4:44 Tour.
Photo by Tyler Johnstone
It’s been nearly a decade since Brooklyn’s finest graced YEG with his presence. Edmonton was one of only four Canadian stops of the North American tour and hip-hop heads from far and wide flocked to Rogers Place for this little piece of history.
Vic Mensa opened the night a tad behind schedule (because hip-hop). The Roc Nation artist performed a short set as fans trickled to their seats. Vic deserved better if you ask me, but a true artist will perform like it’s their last time whether there’s 100 people in the room or 20,000. And that’s exactly what the young MC did. While I personally am not familiar with Vic’s music, you can’t deny raw talent when you see it. There’s so much ahead for his career.
With the arena near capacity, JAY-Z in all his glory floated from underneath the octagon-shaped stage and effortlessly entered the first bars of 4:44‘s “Kill JAY-Z.” I made it a point to avoid reading the official 4:44 Tour set list, which has been circulating online since the tour began, so his choice for the first song threw me off for a moment. I could feel I wasn’t the only one but that lasted for all of 30 seconds. Cut to his second song, “No Church In The Wild,” the night was on and poppin for the next 75 minutes.
Hov can command a crowd like no other. At 48 years old and 13 albums in, this man can still bring tens of thousands together no matter their gender, race, or religion. You look into that crowd – not a single person was sitting in their seat. Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) was either dancing, drinking, smoking, crying, losing their shit or all of the above. For the entire night. Only a handful of MCs can make you feel their music that way and JAY-Z is at the top of the list. Keep in mind, this is blue collar Alberta we’re talking about. I haven’t seen unity like this since McDavid was drafted.
Jay continued to read us our rights with “Lucifer,” “D’Evils,” “Heart of The City,” “F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt,” and “Run This Town” leading up to his most vulnerable moment of night with “4:44.” “This is the hardest song I’ve ever written,” he addressed the crowd before baring his soul about his infidelities.
While I can appreciate a man baring his entire truth in front of 20,000 people, we came here for a party, and that’s exactly what Hov delivered for the rest of the night. “Bam,” “PSA,” “99 Problems,” “U Don’t Know,” “Big Pimpin” and so much more rang off so hard it was unbelievable.
He paused and expressed his support for Colin Kaepernick and the Take A Knee movement, “It’s no disrespect to the flag, it’s about injustice.” His words were received with loud cheers and raised fists. It’s comforting to see that Edmonton is on the right side of history, but I’ll save my political tangent for another day.
“Empire State of Mind” was another sure highlight of the night. The Top 40 friendly hit can never go wrong, even for the hardest of hip-hop purists. Jay, then adorably bopped to Blue Ivy’s Freestyle. Sadly his daughter did not make an appearance, but I personally had no problems rapping vicariously through her, “I ain’t never seen a ceiling in my whole life!”
“Give it up for the God, Blue!” Jay echoed. I could have melted right then and there.
I would love to dissect his immaculate set list, but again, there’s not enough time to do it justice. If you thought “4:44” was an emotional moment, then get your tissues out for this one: Jay closed the night with a tribute to the late Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), with the iconic “Numb/Encore” collaboration.
“There’s no such thing as darkness, only absence of light. So if you find yourself in a dark place, surround yourself around positive people who uplift you.”
It was a phenomenal way to end a seamlessly perfect night. JAY-Z is the truth and that light to so many of us and you could feel it with every fiber in that arena. What more can I say? So this is where I’ll leave it.
Wow! Just like that, another summer has come to an end. I feel like I say this at the end of every summer, but summer ’17 particularly was one for the books! I was so busy that I didn’t even stop to update my blog, hence the recap I’m posting today!
This summer was filled with so many awesome events! It kicked off with Future’s Nobody Safe Tour and from there is was full speed ahead: Summer Jam 2017 (New York/New Jersey), Ponoka Stampede, Kelowna, BC, Calgary Stampede (with Usher, The Roots, Big Sean and Fetty Wap), Big Valley Jamboree, MY 35TH BIRTHDAY and another spontaneous trip to New York to wrap it all up. Geeze! Looking back, I honestly don’t know how I pulled it all off, but somehow I managed to!
As amazing as this summer was, I’m definitely looking forward to taking a break and getting back into work mode. A LOT of goals are about to be crushed for 2017-18 and no time is to be wasted! So for now, here’s a recap of Summer 2017 in the best way I know how to present it…Instagram!
We did it again! I was so fortunate to attend HOT 97 Summer Jam for the second year in a row! With that, of course, came four sleepness fabulous nights in New York. This was my third trip to NYC and I swear I fall in love more and more each time.
If you aren’t familiar with Summer Jam, it’s the largest running hip-hop festival in North America, powered by #1 hip-hop radio station HOT 97. When I attended for the first time last year, I instantly knew that this going to be a new tradition. So without further ado, here is my review and photo gallery on behalf of HipHopCanada. Hope you enjoy!
East Rutherford, NJ – Another moment in hip-hop history was made at HOT 97 Summer Jam 2017. With a plethora of lively performances on the Festival Stage to unforgettable surprise guests on Stadium Stage, MetLife Stadium was the place to be on Sunday, June 11.
The Festival Stage kicked off with fresh and upcoming artists; Young M.A, A Boogie, Don Q, Dave East, Lil Yachty, DRAM, PnB Rock, Casanova and PHresher. I’m not going to lie – with a scorching 90 degrees at MetLife Stadium, it was almost unbearable to stand in the heat at the Festival Stage. But it certainly didn’t stop 1000’s of eager fans from catching the show. Even with the heat, each performance still hyped the crowd and definitely set a tone for the rest of the night.
Photo by Ravie B
Jidenna opened the night with short but sweet set which included “Long Live The Chief.” The “Classic Man” dropped his usual dapper attire and went for a more dressed-down, low key look and (of course) looked fly as ever. Up next was Desiigner, who did only what Desiigner does. Jumping from the stage to inside the crowd, the Brooklyn MC did a lively rendition of “Panda” and “Timmy Turner.”
Joey Bada$$ took the stage next and didn’t disappoint. Also hailing from Brooklyn – he effortlessly carried out his set with a very special surprise appearance from Mobb Deep. Summer Jam is famous for their surprise guests, so for the first to be Mobb Deep set yet another exciting tone for the night.
Next up was sure highlight of the night with Konshens, Charley Black, alongside HOT 97 DJs Bobby Konders and Jabba. It was so refreshing to see a full out dancehall set at Summer Jam and the entire crowd knew it. By the time their set began MetLife was at capacity. Everyone was dancing on their chairs and waving their flags, towels, basically anything they could find in the air. Oh and how can we forget – Shaggy joined in to perform a dope rendition of “Gyal You a Party Animal.”
Our very own Tory Lanez repped Canada well as he ran through his fan favourites “Luv”, “Diego” [Meek Mill’s] “Lord Knows” and a acoustic rendition of “Controlla.” The Summer Jam stage is considered the “I made it” moment for hip-hop artists. It was amazing to see a fellow Canadian like Tory take the reigns the way he did.
Now let me tell you about Fat Joe and Remy Ma!! The Terror Squad alumni began their hard-hitting set with nostalgic hits from “Lean Back”, “What’s Love”, “Make it Rain “Whuteva” and special tribute to Big Pun with “Twinz.”
After performing “All The Way Up”, Fat Joe then stepped aside to let Queen Remy do her thing, which was sure to be the Summer Jam moment that left everyone shook and talking for days to come. Remy Ma brought out an all female showcase which included Young M.A. (“Ooouuu”), Cardi B (“Foreva”), Lil Kim (“Quiet Storm”), Lady of Rage, MC Lyte, Monie Love and Rah Diggah. Then if that couldn’t get any better (the entire stadium was already losing their shit) QUEEN LATIFAH CAME ON THE STAGE AND PERFORMED “U.N.I.T.Y.!!!” This wasn’t just a moment for the culture, it was solidarity for females in the game. We’re already so outnumbered so to see them come together and empower each other was a beautiful thing.
“This wasn’t just a moment for the culture, it was solidarity for females in the game. We’re already so outnumbered so to see them come together and empower each other was a beautiful thing.”
However it wasn’t all kumbyah and Remy wouldn’t be Remy with out a little bit of blood. The Bronx MC then went into full savage mode with her seven-minute dis track “Shether.” which was a direct shot to Nicki Minaj (who clearly was not invited).
From underdogs like Cardi B, newcomers like Young M.A. and legends like Lil Kim, it goes without saying that Remy’s set received the largest reaction of the night.
Fellow Bronx native, French Montana took the stage next. Although it was a tough act to follow after Remy & Joe, French still held his own and kept the party rocking. His performance included his new smash hit “Unforgettable” and a touching tribute to his late best friend [and Cokeboy] Chinx with “Off The Rip.” French then brought out A$AP Rocky and Juelz Santana for a lively rendition of “Ain’t Worried About Nothing.”
Are you noticing how New York Summer Jam 2017 was?!
Trey Songz wooed the ladies and for his set. Not only is this man even more dreamy in person his stage presence and pipes were on point. It can’t be easy to switch up the crowd to an R&B vibe, but Trey had no problem. Trey brought out newcomer Tee Grizzley who performed his Billboard topping hit “First Day Out.” Of all the guests for Trey to bring out, Tee Grizzley was not one I was expecting but I WAS HERE FOR IT! “First Day Out” live on the Summer Jam stage?? Fire! Dave East joined Trey for a rendition of “Don Pablo” who then brought out his beautiful Mama for a Kodak moment. Honestly, can that man be anymore perfect??
Funkmaster Flex’s much anticipated set was everything we could have hoped for. HOT 97’s legendary DJ brought out the big guns with Fat Man Scoop (“Love Like This”), Casanova (“Don’t Run”), A Boogie (“Drowning”), Juelz Santana (“Dipset Anthem”), Fetty Wap (“My Way”), Meek Mill and Tory Lanez (“Litty”).
Along with Remy Ma, Flex’s set was yet another fan favourite, receiving one of the biggest crowd reactions of night. Flex and Friends killed it!
DJ Khaled and Migos joined forces for their set, with the Atlanta trio taking the first. 2017 has most definitely been Migos’ biggest year yet and the accolades continued on that Summer Jam stage as they performed hits “T-Shirt”, “Bad and Boujee.” and “Get Right Witcha.” It was only right that fellow ATL native 2 Chainz joined in for his feature in “Deadz” which then led into a rendition of (Quavo-assited) “Good Drank.” While Migos definitely did their thing I was a tad crushed they didn’t do “Fight Night.” I mean – how you not gonna do “Fight Night”…at Summer Jam?
Khaled made his way back on stage to perform a medley of his club anthems. While everyone adores Khaled, the main highlight of his performance was when he brought out his son and Executive Producer, Asahd Khaled. ASAHD KHALED WAS ON THE SUMMER JAM STAGE! It’s fair to say that Asahd is not only the hottest figure in the industry, but also the hardest working. And when Khaled raised that adorable little baby in the air – the entire stadium ate it up. And with a soother and Beats By Dre headphones? I just can’t!
Next was Chris Breezy with the dance moves. The R&B favourite is no stranger to the Summer Jam stage hasn’t missed a single beat. Performing hits from “Party”, “Post To Be”, and “Show Me.” Chris Brown had a couple more tricks up his sleeves, bringing out Playboy Carti on stage for his hit single “Magnolia.” Then to everyone’s surprise, none other than DMX came through and sent the crowd into a frenzy with “Ruff Ryders” anthem.
The last, but certainly not least, was Faith Evans and Mister Cee with a very special tribute to 20 years of Notorious B.I.G. Led by a touching speech from Dougie Fresh, the performance followed with a plethora of classics from Lil Cease, Total, 112 and Mase, along with Jadakiss, The Lox, Lil Kim and Bone Thugs N Harmony. What can I honestly say after that? You just had to be there to experience how truly special that moment was to see the love for B.I.G.
I’m sure by now you’ve noticed how many times I’ve used the word “moment” throughout the review and that’s truly the essence of what Summer Jam is. It’s a moment in hip-hop. It’s unpredictable, candid and will leave on on an emotional roller coaster. You just never know what’s going to go down at Summer Jam and that’s the best part.
Thank you once again to HOT 97 and Emmis New York for letting HipHopCanada be part of such an iconic event. Until next year!
On Friday night (February 24), superstar producers Swizz Beatz and Just Blaze put on the MOST EPIC beat battle LIVE ON INSTAGRAM. No corporate sponsors, no streaming service to subscribe to – just over two straight hours (beat for beat), strictly for the people.
I didn’t catch wind of the battle until the next morning and I knew immediately that I had missed something huge. Luckily, because the internet, videos from the battle were reposted everywhere online. When I finally had the chance to sit down and watch it – I was completely beside myself. This. is. HIP-HOP. I’ve been lucky to experience so much in this culture (including 2 live DJ sets from Just Blaze himself), but this was one of the greatest moments in hip-hop I’ve ever seen. And I wasn’t even there!
For two solid hours the two legends went head to head, spinning DECADES of their greatest hits. Hits that took me back to my high school days, joints that I didn’t even know either of them even produced, joints that I had never even heard before! I’m still upgrading my catalog as we speak! In the end Swizz bamboozled everyone by dropping an unreleased track by Nas, Jay Z, Jadakiss and DMX. What?!?
Needless to say, Swizz came out on top, but as cliche as it sounds, they were both winners in my humble opinion.
These are timeless moments in hip-hop, songs that literally put a staple in the game. I can’t express it enough, but if you know this culture, you’ll understand the levels. This is what hip-hop needed and what makes it even more special is that Swizz and Just knew it. They put this on for us, for free, when they easily could’ve made six figures (each) for it. This was for the culture. That phrase is thrown around a little too easy these days, but what Just and Swizz did is the essence of what the culture is all about. Wow! What a moment in hip-hop history.
If you love hip-hop and haven’t had a chance to watch this…you’re welcome!
*Hot Tip: Check the top comment of the video. YouTube user “AHAA FLAWLESS” took the time to make a full track list from the set, minute mark and everything. Shout out to him!
I was so caught up with the holidays, that I completely forgot my new year message!
2016 was a trying time for the world, for so many different reasons. It’s hard to think of this next year ahead without uncertainty, but that won’t stop me from doing the work towards love and compassion.
On a personal level, 2016 blessed me with a year I couldn’t have possibly imagined. From NBA All-Star Weekend (Toronto), the JUNOS (Calgary), Summer Jam (New York/New Jersey), Caribana/OVO Fest (Toronto) and many amazing concerts in between. While 2017 is going to be hard to top, I’m still looking forward to this year ahead.
My website (for starters) is in need of a face lift and I’m really excited to start the process of re-branding in 2017! At the last quarter of 2016, I moved my focus from writing to social media management by working directly with independent concert promoter, Nightshift Entertainment. HipHopCanada has had a solid rapport with Nightshift over the years, so joining their team feels right at home.
I definitely plan to continue on with HipHopCanada as a contributor, while working with Nightshift. Event promotion is a great opportunity to branch out into different areas of the industry. It also helps that I love it! Make sure you keep yourselves update on our socials , which I’ve linked below.
I’m still trying to grip my head around the results of the presidential election this week, and I can’t lie, it’s been hard. Extremely hard. While I can’t say I’m surprised considering the system that America has been built on, it’s still disheartening to see this happen. Americans aren’t the only ones affected by this, it’s a worldwide trend of ignorance fuelled with hate.
I will never in any way support Donald Trump. Nor will I ever trust anyone who does. I’m all for difference of opinion but I refuse to associate with anyone who shares values that are solely based on racism, sexism, xenophobia and homophobia. I don’t care what this man can potentially do for your pockets, there’s a far bigger picture here and it’s terrifying.
My website was essentially built to showcase my work and potentially gain new clients, I know that by speaking out on this topic can jeopardize that but it’s a risk I’m more than willing to take. No amount of money (not that it’s a lot anyway) will ever stop me from speaking my truth and what I know in my heart is right.
While I’m still trying to find the words to say (if I ever write anything more), I’d like to share a message my father sent me the day after the election. As a brilliant writer, humanitarian and activist he always finds the exact words at the right time and articulates them to perfection.
As frustrating and painful as this is, we have to believe in love and compassion. That’s what I’m choosing to do.
The US election have been a surprise to many people. We will see where the new administration goes. I have some initial thoughts that the privileged and powerful will become more privileged and powerful.
When we challenge the status quo, it is not going to be easy in the US or anywhere else. But we cannot give up on our values that every life is important and has value including not only the life of people but the life of the earth in which is embedded the life of all living things.
Don’t let depression and sadness overwhelm you. There are incredibly good people wherever you go, people who see you for who you are and believe the same things you believe. That is a community that is open, welcoming and inclusive.
It has taken the aboriginal people of this continent and elsewhere decades to be recognized and not slandered – and that process is not over – human enlightenment, I believe, will never ever end. It is an eternal process with both victories and defeats.
We still have our lives to live, in meaningful and compassionate ways.
Last weekend I attended Kanye West‘s Saint Pablo Tour at Rogers Place. All I can say is that I’m satisfied with the way my review turned out, however it can never give Kanye’s live show justice. This tour is UNREAL! It felt impossible for me to put it into words, you just had to be there for the experience. In my personal opinion, Saint Pablo is one of the best (tours) of 2016. The again, you can’t expect anything less from Yeezy.
Big shout out to Live Nation for continuing to support my work. Find my review, on behalf of HipHopCanada, below. Enjoy!
Edmonton, AB – October 15 marked Kanye West‘s return to Edmonton for the Saint Pablo Tour.
It’s been a long minute since his first appearance (at Rexall Place) for 2008’s Glow in the Dark Tour. Hip-hop fans were shocked when Yeezy announced his Edmonton stop this spring, but with Rogers Place finally up and running for business, we’re finally getting the look we deserve.
With no opening acts needed, Kanye breathed infinite life into the 16,000 plus crowd for the next two hours on a floating stage. Yes, a floating stage. For the entire show. Because Yeezy can. Opening with The Life of Pablo‘s “Father Stretch My Hands Part 1”, Kanye hovered across the floor as he brought the crowd below him to their knees. It wasn’t until he broke into “Part 2” when shit really popped off.
If there’s one thing say about this new generation of hip-hop, it’s that they take wildn’ out to another level. And Kanye knows it. There was no seating in the floor area (strategic no doubt), which left 100’s of fans to break out into a mosh pit throughout the show. The more “reserved” sat safely in their assigned seats.
The set up was nothing I’ve ever seen before. With dim lighting (next to none), fog, a distorted large screen – Kanye’s set was deliberately created to make him unseen. He didn’t need the pyros and flashy lights, been there done that. It was just Kanye, his vision and his music. This wasn’t just a show, this was an experience. Whether it was spiritual or emotional, there was something you could just feel throughout his entire performance. It gave you chills. Even as I write this, it’s so hard for me to explain.
What’s so amazing about Kanye’s catalogue is that even the biggest stan, can forget how many classics he actually has. “Touch The Sky,” “Flashing Lights,” “Good Life,” “Jesus Walks,” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” were just a few of his 30-song (plus) set. When you get to experience them live, it feels like you’re hearing them for the first time. From Graduation, to My Beatuiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to Yeezus – Kanye teased us with a little bit of everything. One of my highlights was ‘Ye commanding the entire arena to sing the chorus of 808s & Heartbreak‘s “Heartless” acapella. Not once, not twice, but three times.
Yeezy didn’t shy away from from The Life of Pablo, performing close to a dozen songs from the new album. “Famous”, “Wolves”, “Waves”, “Highlights” even “I Love Kanye” – the iconic dis to all of the part-time fans who miss the “old Kanye”.
Closing the show with “Ultralight Beam”, ‘Ye floated across the the crowd for the last time, descended to the floor, and casually walked out with that million dollar smile we rarely get to see.
Haters can say what they will about Kanye, most of the slander is old and tired anyway. What they will never take away is his genius and vision to create. Browsing through my social media feeds the next morning, it’s clear that Kanye delivered a live show that exceeded our expectations. Everyone was in tune with what an incredible experience the Saint Pablo Tour was.
In 2016 you still can’t compare any artist to Kanye West, they’re not even close. It’s not easy for an OG to set the bar in this era of hip-hop. Yeezy can to do it effortlessly, simply by being himself.
Last week, I attended Drake and Future’s stop in Edmonton for the Summer Sixteen Tour. Yes, that’s right, I went again! What can I say, I’m a huge fan. The duo performed two nights on September 20 and 21 at Rogers Place, which officially opened for business the same week. While the show was no comparison to OVO Fest, I still had a great time and the new arena is absolutely gorgeous! I’m definitely looking forward to covering more shows at Rogers Place. Here’s my review, on behalf of HipHopCanada, below. Enjoy!
Edmonton, AB – Full disclosure: This was my second time attending the Summer Sixteen Tour. The first was combined with OVO Fest in Toronto this summer (I was off-duty and it was LIT). That being said… going into night one of two shows at Rogers Place, I had an idea of what to expect. Or what not to expect, for that matter (I think Kanye and Rihanna must have been busy this time around).
While Edmonton didn’t receive all the bells and whistles that’s usually included in OVO Fest, Drake and Future still put on a hell of the show for their elated fans in a sparkling-new arena.
The show opened up with up and coming OVO artists Roy Wood$ and dvsn, along with fellow Canadian T Jizzle. Dvsn brought the most to the stage among the openers, despite technical issues (thanks sound guy), you couldn’t deny those pipes. He later came out a second time to join Drizzy for “Faithful.” Well played.
Photo by Andy Devlin for Rogers Place
In true rapper-fashion, Drake was 40 minutes late for his set (his tardiness was repeated on night two, or so word on the street says). Fans were becoming restless, chanting “We want Drake!” as they waited. Let’s talk about those fans while we’re on the subject: the demographic was young (like “my mom just dropped me off” young), white (because Edmonton), and if they didn’t look like their mom dropped them off, they were dressed like they were ready for the club (then again, so was I).
Alas, the 6ix God finally graced the stage, repping Connor McDavid’s coveted Oilers jersey and opened with “Summer Sixteen.” Naturally, the crowd went nuts. From Views to Thank Me Later, Drake smashed hit after hit on his two-hour set. Whether you were a day one or new fan, he performed a little bit of everything. “Hype”, “Childs Play”, “Back to Back,” “Energy”, “Worst Behavior”, “Headlines”, “The Motto”, “Up All Night,” the set list went on and on. The kid’s got receipts and most definitely proved it that night.
If anyone attended Drake’s Would You Like A Tour? in 2013, then it’s undeniable that he’s exceeded his growth as live performer. The stage set up was fire (literally), complete with pyrotechnics, rising platforms and a larger-than-life LED backdrop screen. He maintained an energetic presence throughout, even during those sentimental jams that the Champagne Papi is known for.
“Hold On, We’re Going Home” and “Hotline Bling” included a ceiling of floating orbs, changing from pink to blue as Drizzy hovered over the crowd on a platform, pointing out his fans. “I see you in that Raptors jersey,” “I see you in the Blue Jays hat,” etc. That’s brownie points. Everyone loves a shout out, especially one from Aubrey.
While Future’s appearance was one of my personal favourites of the night (I LOVE the ratchetry, I can’t lie), the crowd seemed a little in different once he came on for his set. Rogers Place erupted when Future rose from underneath the stage to assist Drake in “Grammys” but then started to fade once Drizzy left him to do his thing (it was the Drake show after all).
Again, I for one, thoroughly enjoyed the co-headliner’s set. Give me “Wicked,” “Stick Talk” “F*ck Up Some Commas,” “Same Damn Time” and some back-up dancers doing the most, then you’ll have me out of my seat. Say what you want about mumble rap, but for the last three years Future has consistently brought those joints that make the clubs go up and that’s why he stays winning.
After Future performed the Weeknd-assisted “Low Life,” Drake returned to the stage where the duo performed What A Time To Be Alive‘s “Big Rings” and “Jumpman” the crowd went all the way OFF. As they should.
Drake closed out the night with “Know Yourself,” “Energy,” and “Legend.” He thanked the audience for the love, claiming Edmonton had the most energy of all the shows he’s done (Hmmmm? But we’ll take it). He also shared the excitement of performing in the new arena (Drizzy was the third artist to hit stage at Rogers Place).
For Drake to close out the final two days of summer in a BRAND new arena, it couldn’t have been more fitting for the City of Edmonton. For the next three days I couldn’t help but notice the Summer Sixteen merch being sported by teens and young 20-somethings all over the city. The love for Drake isn’t just in his hometown of Toronto, everybody loves Drake.
From Degrassi alumni, to mixtape rapper, to world wide superstar status – Drake is it. He has the entire industry in the palm of his hands and Canada can proudly say that we claim him.