Some people love to hate on Drake. Not at Raleighs Alltel Pavilion, though.
Still, its true. Some people think hes soft. One popular online jokester who writes the Big Ghost Chronicles blog in the voice of the Wu-Tangs great Ghostface Killah once put the Canadian hip-hop superstar at Nos. 3 and 1 in his list of Top 10 Softest Rappers in the Game, with the suggestion that Drake start rappin like a dude tho nahmean.
Whatever Drake may lack in authenticity and depth (he is introspective, though), he makes up for in expertly produced sex jams that make headphone listening a trip, and he writes wicked hooks. Try getting his 2010 hit Fancy out of your head for a whole day after listening to it in the morning. And so, on the evening of June 20, when Drake wrapped up his Club Paradise tour at Raleighs Alltel Pavilion with the help of friends that included Meek Mill, 2 Chainz and Fayettevilles own J. Cole, the crowd which stretched well up onto the lawn screamed, yelled out lines, and sang along from start to finish.
J. Cole raised the 90-degree outdoor temperature a notch higher with his opening set. His entrance provoked such noise from the audience you would have thought it was Drakes turn already. That Carolina Blue kicks, fresh on the scene line from Coles single Work Out just couldnt fail.
When it was his turn, just after the hot sun set, Drake opened with a version of Underground Kings that hit harder live than on 2011s Take Care album. With a stage mostly lit in stark white, with midnight blue and dry ice added whenever it was sexy time, Drake and his band brought a club atmosphere to the Alltel Pavilion, just as he promised.
It was a nice mix of club bangers and headphone favorites, and the latter transferred gratifyingly well to the big outdoor setting (Crew Love was an early highlight). Drake was in fine voice, and he bounded around joyfully, especially when he brought Meek Mill and 2 Chainz back onstage for some of the evenings hardest hitters.
Sure, hes a cornball and a panderer; Drake said North Carolina so many times, youd think he was working for the state Division of Tourism, and he wasted much of the last 15 minutes of his hour-and-a-half set talking to individual members of the audience from the stage. How long yall been a couple? that sort of thing.
What is this Vegas?
But, hey, no one ever accused him of being a top-tier lyricist. With Drake, its mostly about the music, and on Wednesday night, he really brought it.