The Drake vs. Lil Wayne tour has turned audience participation up a notch, with an appeal to “tap the app” that lets fans choose their favorite rapper. The concept of the title fight is one that all top-heavy shows should mimic. The energy never lagged; the hits didn’t stop; they traded sets instead of blows; and even though it was all in fun, the fans had a rooting interest.
Advantage, Lil Wayne. Tunechi was tapped to go first, and he came out swinging with the rock-tinged “Blunt Blowin’.” And, as they say, the crowd went wild, and it got loud.
The sound from the minimally dressed stage was crisp; it had to be to contend with the roar, the kind usually only heard on Saturday in a big-school football stadium. (Usually, rap shows are garbled and heavy with bass, with the audience able to catch a word or two and only tell the hook by the change in music.)
Drake, who might as well be called Capt. Hook, made good use of it, too. That’s even as he soared over the crowd on a zip-line-like contraption and expressed amazement at how many people were in attendance, and the variety.
This group, packed in from top to bottom, was a mix of older and young, wearing everything from khakis and boat shoes to body con dresses to jerseys to club wear. And by young, a 5-year-old was spotted a few rows over.
Trading places and verses throughout the show, Drake deferred to Lil Wayne as “my boss … the reason I’m on the stage.” But not for long. Drake’s music is filled with built-in singalong parts, and the fans obliged when he cracked open “Over.” And they kept it up, especially during the Trey Songz portion of the show, with Drake crooning “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”
Lil Wayne had something to sing about that: “Anything you can do, I can do better.” Then he came to the microphone to talk-sing his way through “How to Love.”
They saved the big set pieces — fireworks, flames and light shows — for when they were on stage together, a change befitting the star power of the moment.
Let’s go to the tale of the tape.
Lil Wayne’s avatar, 1 point: The screens played a motion comic, complete with captions and voiceovers such as “Destiny has forced them into direct contact!” Wayne’s avatar had fangs, for the win.
Drake’s humility, 1 point: He always referred to Wayne as his mentor or boss. Every faux insult came with a smile, to the delight of many screaming female fans who never sat down, even on the lawn.
The rappers also traded jabs. “I’ve been doing this since he was in a wheelchair,” Lil Wayne teased about Drake’s role on Degrassi: The Next Generation. “There’s a huge difference between hits and classics.” Then, later, Drake said Wayne’s “Make It Rain” was “vintage” and “available only on vinyl.” One point each.
Wayne is usually a blunt force, while Drake is a precision tool. The two played with that a little, probably gaining fans who were firmly in the other’s camp. But that led to some odd song omissions by Lil Wayne — no “Fireman,” no “La La” — that would be guaranteed party starters in anything resembling a bona fide rap battle.
Wayne played Drake’s game. So that meant the decision went to a thrilled Drake … this time.