Last Night: Drake at Toyota Center

Drake Toyota Center May 17, 2012

6:57 p.m.: Well, the plan was to be at Toyota Center by now to see opening act 2 Chainz, who has basically become the human form of an Internet meme. However, the school where I teach is having our athletic banquet tonight and I'm still here.

So instead of being at the show, I'm inside of a cafeteria with several other coaches handing out awards. When you train to become a correctional officer at a prison, one of the things they do is lock you in this box of a room and then set off a gas bomb inside, that way if you're ever on duty when something crazy happens and they have to gas everyone, you don't freak out.

This is like that, a little. Middle school boys FUCKING LOVE cologne. Cool Water and Curve x1000.

7:48: Parking, $20. Thanks, Drake. Appreciate that.

7:57: Walking in. Waka and his hair and his belly are onstage.

7:59: "No Hands." He calls for girls to join him (the place is already nearly full). He counts down from 20. Several girls are up onstage by zero. If I had a daughter, my one goal in life would be for her to never end up onstage during a rap concert.

8 p.m.: In fairness to Waka, he never touches any of them, only pantomimes doing so. Still, you get it.

8:01: Sent a text to another writer about the stage girls. His response: "They're all really pretty, aren't they?"

8:04: Dudes, either Waka Flocka shaves his armpits or he doesn't grow hair under there.

8:04:15: Oh, BTW, we're sitting in the floor section, 13 rows from the stage, so Waka's only about 30 feet away. Super seats. Word to whoever set that up.

8:09: Man, there is an all-star cast in our section right now. There's a girl with a flattop, a guy dressed in all white (of course he has a lazy eye), a woman in a dress tiny enough to elicit audible scorn from others and a guy who I'm about 80 percent sure is a West African gangster. This'll be fun.

8:09:15: P.s.: Is it still a dress if your vagina is showing, or does it have a different name?

8:19: J. Cole's next, which means in this building right now are the two most interesting sets of eyebrows in all of hip-hop. Oh, maybe more importantly: J. Cole is the worst. I mean, he's not technically the worst (I don't imagine the West African gangster is better at rapping), but he's still disappointing nonetheless. We were all so excited for his album, then when it came out, BLECH. Total milquetoast.

8:29: He's out. And the women are losing their shit. I guess they liked his tape.

8:29:15: Can you even be a rap star these days if you don't employ a floppy-haired white guitarist? One point for Cole.

8:30: "Dolla and a Dream."

8:37: J. Cole is wearing a Rosary. Is he Catholic? Cool, cool. I had no idea.

8:41: He just went from "Who Dat" (considerably more enjoyable in person than on the radio) to "Blow Up" (undeniable) into a moment for his drummer to lose his mind on a drum solo. This is actually kind of good. Shitshitshit.

8:43: A robo version of "No Church in the Wild" evolved into "Work Out." Neat. The urge to hate is nearly extinguished. Crap.

8:45: J. Cole has this thing he does while he raps where he squeezes out the last syllables of words every so often. It's almost like a growl, but not specifically a growl. It's interesting occasionally, and that's cool, but tedious after a while, and that's not cool. Still, he's clearly working hard, which is always endearing. The J. Cole Hate Train is losing steam.

8:51: "Can't Get Enough." Near the end, he splices in the beat from Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'." Fun surprise. Goddammit. You win, J. Cole. Going to listen to your album again tonight*. Maybe I missed something.

*I'm certain this'll just make his day.

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Shea Serrano