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Drake soars at 2017 OVO Fest

August 8, 2017 11:36 AM
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Drake soars at 2017 OVO Fest

So it went Monday night as Drake cleverly recreated the cover of his 2016 album, Views, featuring him sitting atop the CN Tower, at Toronto's Budweiser Stage.

Two OVO Sound emblazoned black curtains dropped dramatically to reveal Drizzy seated on top of a faux version of T.O.’s most famous landmark as his portion of the eighth annual OVO Fest got underway.

“I called 19 companies to build me a CN Tower and they all said no, and then I called the 20th!” the 30-year-old rapper said about halfway through his Toronto-lovefest to huge cheers from ecstatic fans who were on their feet, climbing chairs and filling the aisles from his first song, Free Smoke, until his last, Gyalchester.

“This is my favourite night of the year!” Drake gushed off the top of the evening.

Yes, Drizzy, as is his way, pulled close to a dozen rap and R&B acts - Playboi Carti, Rae Sremmurd, French Montana, Tory Lanez, Cardi B, Migos, Travis Scott, PartyNextDoor, Nelly, The Weeknd (fresh off his Osheaga gig in Montreal), and Baka Not Nice - on stage with him as surprise guests over two hours, but it was his CN Tower that was the hit of the night.

Especially since you only had to turn your head to the right to see the real thing twinkling in the distance.

Previously, Drake, whose big name surprise guests at OVO Fest over the years have ranged from Jay-Z to Eminem to Kanye West to Stevie Wonder, has hinted at staging the festival in London.

Given his biggest guest this year was arguably fellow Torontonian The Weeknd, whose two Air Canada Centre shows Drizzy crashed back in May, they seem to make a good case for Canada internationally.

In fact, The Weeknd, who Drake referred to as “the King of Queen Street!,” performed a few of his own songs like The Hills and Starboy before joining Drake for Crew Love.

Drake, who told the crowd at the end of the night he was going to make his next album in Toronto, even suggested it was time for “an OVO XO” project, prompting a major reaction.

The other big name was Nelly, whose Ride Wit Me and Hot in Herre went over well with the crowd, who were being filmed by a documentary crew taking in all the action.

There also seemed to be an increased police presence and media had to go through two security checks, including metal detectors, before getting backstage en route to the front of the venue.

Drizzy had made us sweat before he announced OVO Fest -- named after October’s Very Own (his birthday is Oct. 24) -- a mere six weeks before Monday night’s big show, which coincides with Toronto's Caribbean festival every year.

In fact, there was a so-called Toronto Carnival Edition on Saturday night next door to the amphitheatre at RBC Echo Beach featuring Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin, Kranium, Charly Black, Ultimate Rejects), with Drake making an appearance there too.

The rapper was extra-busy over long weekend after opening the 1,600-square-foot OVO clothing store at Yorkdale mall earlier in the day on Saturday .

Drake previously opened an OVO store downtown on Dundas St. W., between Bathurst and Ossington Sts. (The other shops are in L.A. and New York.)

For OVO Fest Monday night, Drizzy brought along such OVO Sound signings and Toronto and area artists as animated singer Roy Woods and R&B acts DVSN and Magid Jordan as his openers with short 15-to-20-minute sets each.

But then the real fun started once Drake started playing guess the rapper and accompanying hit - Rae Sremmurd’s Black Beatles, Cardi B’s Bodack Yellow, and so on - in between his own notable tunes like Know Yourself, One More Time, Passion Fruit and Teenage Fever.

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