What is love?
Love is creating an exact replica of the face of the famed Screwed Up Records & Tapes. Love is letting your appreciation show by opener Lil Keke hitting all his cues on "Pimpin Tha Pen." Love is letting Yungstar follow him, then ESG, then Trae performing H.A.W.K's verse from "Swang." Then Lil Flip, then Slim Thug before the curtains pulled back and we got drafted into OVO Sound for two and a half hours.
Love is letting your mind travel to 2009 and consider that time period, those emotions. Those cracks of anxiousness where you let enlarged roses of confidence rise through. Love is when you sing "Sooner Than Later." "Bria's Interlude" and wonder why you fell for all of this in the first place.
Then you go through the following projects and chapters, nearly dying during "Trust Issues" because everyone nearly pushed each other to death and a girl came close to getting trampled. Or passing out. More than likely passing out.
Love is a rapper who is awkward putting on a show for the ages for free. Love is letting a bunch of people show up with signs slandering Lil Wayne and announcing who brought H.A.W. to the city. Love is determining that a weekend that was supposed to be about giving back has its own level of truthers.
Love is, oddly enough, watching a superstar in a rather confined space freely return back to square one: loosies, rarities, guests from Big Sean to Wiz Khalifa to YG to Z-Ro doing the "Mo City Don" freestyle.
Love is Drake, in all of his awkward stature, being the guy in rap right now. We're stuck in a warp where everything he does cannot be denied, or argued. Even a free show that could never be replicated anywhere else.
That's love for the city. BRANDO
Drake is not just a man anymore, in Houston at least. He's a phenomenon, a celebrity to infinity and beyond. And after this weekend, we might as well just hand the Canadian a key to the city. Performing on a stage a tenth the size of the ones he's regularly used to, Drizzy brought over two hours of pure fire to a packed-to-the-gills Warehouse Live. Friday.
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And over the course of the performance, on a stage where they spared no expense on both lighting and set design (a true-to-life recreation of famed shop Screwed Up Records and Tapes served as the backdrop and guest slot machine), Drake never let up. Whether it be by himself, or with any number of guests he brought along with him, the rapper showed Houston the appreciation he promised for the past month.
Starting out as a tribute to Houston music, Lil Keke, Lil Flip and Slim Thug all entertained the crowd with a song each before Drake took over. Throughout the night the stage saw Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, YG, Z-Ro and a whole bunch more random guests shuffle in and out of the faux record store, giving Drake a few minutes of time to catch his breath. Of course, except when Wiz passed him that blunt.
But after all was said and done, it was Drake's show, which was evident from the amount of lady screams that emanated throughout the room anytime the guy would even utter a word. I love that he loves Houston as much as he does, and while it might or might not be true that he wouldn't have made it not for his early gigs here, it's really cool to see him give back so much to a city that has always welcomed him with open arms.
I just wish Bun B had been in town. That, and the wildly rumored Lil Wayne would've been cool to see. At least I saw Johnny Football. JIM BRICKER
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Love him or hate him, Aubrey Graham definitely knows how to put on a spectacular show. When the curtain finally dropped Friday, we were presented with a stage recreating the facade of the Original Screw Shop on Cullen. As if that weren't enough, Lil Keke, Yungstar, ESG, Trae Tha Truth, and Slim Thug hit the stage first to entice the crowd with an H-Town history lesson.
I damn near slapped the kid next to me when he disrespected these Houston OGs by yelling "Get off the stage, I wanna see Drake already!".
The set itself was good, although I was a tad underwhelmed by it all. I've seen better Drake shows at Toyota Center and at Philly's Made In America Music Festival. It was cool that Travis Scott, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, and YG joined him onstage near the end, but still...somehow I expected better.
Ending with Z-Ro and "Mo City Don Freestyle" was pimp, though. MARCO TORRES
Note: photography was strictly forbidden inside Friday's concert. Huge thanks to the folks at Warehouse Live for allowing us to attend at all.
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