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Drake taps Kanye and Diddy for best OVO Fest yet

Posted by Adam Kamin / August 7, 2013

Drake OVO Fest 2013Amidst the mass holiday weekend exodus from the GTA, Drake's yearly OVO Festival descended once more upon its (now seemingly forever) home at the Molson Amphitheatre. While at this point four years on, no one need be shocked at the scale of the guests Drake calls in for the event, the way in which he keeps these loaded guest appearances anchored around his own star power is what keeps the surprises fresh. This year's edition was no exception.

Drake OVO Fest 2013The limitless production values were obvious from the get go, with a stage-encompassing lighting rig looking straight out of Blade Runner for backdrop as the sounds of a booming storm blared over the PA, introducing our emcee for the evening. A endlessly energetic "Headlines" got the show started, Drake's sheer charisma rendering the crowd rapt as he bounded across the stage. The next two and a half hours would serve as a veritable who's who of contemporary hip-hop, as Drizzy & Co. brought out all the stops to ensure more than a few tears were shed (at least for many in my vicinity) and lifetime memories made.

TLC OVO FestDespite the volume at the Amp approaching tinnitus-inspiring levels, it says something about how hyped the crowd was when their collective cheers often drowned out the performers. This happened on more than one occasion: Drake's announcing the arrival of "the legendary TLC" after singing a verse of "I Get Lonely Too" was met with rabid cheers and a whole lot of disbelief. Sure enough, the surviving duo of T-Boz and Chilli came out for a three-song mini-set. Realizing the significance of the moment, Drake lingered next to his DJ, watching the events unfold.

Other guest appearances provoked a similar reaction, in particular fellow Torontonian Abel Tesfaye's early showing on "Crew Love" (squashing any rumours of beef between Drake and the Weeknd). After pointing out exactly where he was sitting for his very first concert ever (if you're curious: he had good seats), Drake announced that instead of simply explaining the details, he could "make a couple phone calls to recreate the show."

Puff Daddy OVO FestOut came Diddy (or the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy or P. Diddy, depending on the day) to the strains of "Victory," laying waste to the few skeptics still left in the room. A subsequent appearance by Mase left Biggie's ghost the only absentee from this Bad Boy reunion (and really, the only possible idea left for upping this in OVO '14). Following this, an A$AP Rocky-assisted medley of "Fuckin Problem," "Goldie" and "Wild for the Night" took the energy even higher, leaving the packed crowd screaming for more.

And more they got, as the lights dimmed and Drake spit a tweaked version of Kanye's second verse to "Diamonds from Sierra Leone." The chaotic intro beat of "New Slaves" kicked in, and out came Yeezy himself, free of abominable snowman mask but with enough earth-shattering bravado to end the show right there and then.

Kanye West OVO FestYe's showcase was high on the quality over quantity mindset, with a total of maybe ten minutes onstage to blast through truncated renditions of "All of the Lights" and "Can't Tell Me Nothing." Lil Wayne's introduction a minute later sustained the energy, but one can't help but with Kanye had stuck around for a run through of "Barry Bonds"... but to ask for more after the spectacle that had already been staged would just be greedy.

Lil Wayne OVO FestWhile it's possible to be taken aback by the cognitive dissonance inspired by a track like "Started from the Bottom," what with Drizzy's high profile Forest Hill upbringing, it's important to realize that the kid who played Jimmy from Degrassi is now being lauded by moguls with the stature of Kanye as an "inspiration" (specifically towards Jay Z collab Watch the Throne).

OVO Fest 2013That's why, after all the star-studded guest appearances, Drake brought the show home all by himself, with a solo performance of his verse from Migos' "Versace", as well as his own "No New Friends" and the "new national anthem" "Started from the Bottom." Throwing in one final shout out to the city with "maybe I say this too much, but I love this city more than anything in the world," the wild reaction from the crowd showed that Drizzy hasn't yet overstayed his welcome. And with this sort of company, he's unlikely to anytime soon.

OVO Fest Toronto 2013Best OH at OVO: Girl wearing an OVOXO sweater in 25 degree heat waits for an hour and a half in the will call line. Gets to the front and says to the attendant that she just met Drake and that he left her two tickets at the booth. As you can guess, she left slightly disappointed.


Crew Love (The Weeknd)
5AM in Toronto
Clique (Big Sean)
Mercy (Big Sean)
All Me (Big Sean)
Ain't Worried Bout Nothin (French Montana)
Pop Dat (French Montana)
Poetic Justice
Bad (Wale)
The Motion
Girls Love Beyonce
Nobody's Perfect (J. Cole)
Forbidden Fruit (J. Cole)
Power Trip (Miguel/J. Cole)
Adorn (Miguel)
I Get Lonely Too
Fanmail (TLC)
Waterfalls (TLC)
No Scrubs (TLC)
Best I Ever Had
Victory (Diddy)
Feels So Good (Diddy/Mase)
Mo Money, Mo Problems (Diddy/Mase)
Been Around the World (Diddy/Mase)
I Get Money (Diddy)
All About the Benjamins (Diddy)
I Need a Girl (Diddy)
Fuckin Problem (A$AP Rocky)
Goldie (A$AP Rocky)
Wild for the Night (A$AP Rocky)
New Slaves (Kanye West)
All of the Lights (Kanye West)
Can't Tell Me Nothing (Kanye West)
HYFR (Lil Wayne)
The Motto (Lil Wayne)
Bitches Love Me (Lil Wayne)
Rich As Fuck (Lil Wayne)
No New Friends
Started from the Bottom

Photos by Karla Moy



Me / August 7, 2013 at 11:22 am
All the attention given to rapcrap has convinced me that indeed BlogTO's 'staff' has a median age of about 14.
Jenkins replying to a comment from Me / August 7, 2013 at 11:31 am
You have no idea what you're talking about. Regardless of how you feel about Drake or hip-hop in general, to put together a lineup like this for one show - a lineup that wasn't announced beforehand, so it came as a surprise to everyone in attendance - is huge. It's great for the city in general.

Stop being a hater just for the sake of hating.
BD / August 7, 2013 at 11:35 am
The. Greatest. Concert. Ever.
lol replying to a comment from Me / August 7, 2013 at 11:37 am
wipe your tears sadbag
Me replying to a comment from Jenkins / August 7, 2013 at 11:40 am
Who said anything about hate? Why do you assume that because someone does not like the same thing you do, they therefore must hate it? I merely notice that there is a lot of coverage here of 'music' that is listened to by teenyboppers.
Jenkins replying to a comment from Me / August 7, 2013 at 11:46 am
And yet, you assume that only teenyboppers listen to hip-hop? That's a pretty sweeping and absurd generalization.
Mauricio replying to a comment from Me / August 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm
Last time I checked Puff Daddy (as he was known) made his bones in the last millennium so its not only teeny boppers watching this stuff. The coverage is pretty broad if you cared to go through the music section.
jeezy / August 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm
setlist looks pretty sick but god I hate Drake
AV replying to a comment from Me / August 7, 2013 at 01:03 pm
Rapcrap.... lol... friggin' youts
Akswun / August 7, 2013 at 01:09 pm
Trolling is alive and well on blogto. Thanks "Me". Go troll the Walmart in Kensington stories.
Missed the concert. Actually haven't been to any of the OVO fests but Drake doing it bigger every year. I don't know how he plans to raise the bar higher than it already is. I'm sure if I buy a ticket next year ill get a crap lineup.
Justaguy / August 7, 2013 at 01:13 pm
God DAMN I love the comments on BlogTO. I swear I come here just to get a good laugh.
AK replying to a comment from Me / August 7, 2013 at 02:43 pm
What is this, the 90s? People still say 'rapcrap'? And they still call it 'teenie bopper music'?

I remember hearing that crap back in '97. Now, many adults still listen to hip hop. Did you grow up in a cultural vacuum for the past 15 years?
sw / August 7, 2013 at 03:30 pm
This concert was absolutely unreal. I'm not even the biggest rap/hip hop fan, but I was offered the opportunity to attend and I'm so glad I did!

The energy and excitement was unparalleled and I encourage anyone who is sitting on the fence to go next year. It's a ton of fun!
David replying to a comment from Me / August 7, 2013 at 03:36 pm
The irony in that first post is staggering.

Anyways, I was at the concert and it was by far the best hiphop concert I've ever attended, and quite possibly THE best concert I've seen live. It was insane the caliber of guests that showed up, and the crowd was 100% into it while going nuts the entire night.
David replying to a comment from Matt / August 7, 2013 at 03:42 pm
Actually there was a live drummer and guitarist there the entire night, but I guess you wouldn't have known that coming from a place of ignorance.
Brian replying to a comment from Jenkins / August 7, 2013 at 03:44 pm
user-pic do you look in the mirror after using that term...youse a hater god just kill yourself but better yet take your lineup of arrogant "music" makers with you
David / August 7, 2013 at 03:47 pm
Clicking on articles about things you don't like and whining about it ignorantly. Quite a full life some people live..
Brian / August 7, 2013 at 03:47 pm
kanye and drake um I mean fake together.....where were all the terrorists???? fuck could of got them both
Mike replying to a comment from Matt / August 7, 2013 at 07:22 pm
So hip-hop isn't "adult?"
seanm / August 7, 2013 at 11:12 pm
Interestingly the people here making sweeping generalizations about hip-hop and its listeners come across as the most immature ones here.

Upset that Justin Bieber wasn't invited?
I shouldn't feed the trolls replying to a comment from Matt / August 8, 2013 at 10:20 am
"Meddle class suburban white kids identifying with their 'black heritage' is always funny."

You very obviously know nothing about the history of rock n' roll. The effin' Rolling Stones are named after a Muddy Waters song. White kids identifying with music made by black artists is hardly a new phenomenon. I don't get why you find it so funny.
sw replying to a comment from Matt / August 8, 2013 at 02:55 pm
"At least back then, musicians were talened and played instruments. Rap was invented so people with no musical talent could have a 'career' by standing there and just talking. "

...This is some sort of sick, ignorant joke, right? Like, you can't honestly be serious. Educate yourself before you make the most grandiose sweeping statements.

Ughhh what is WRONG with people?
Mr.Negative / August 9, 2013 at 09:08 pm
I have to laugh at some of the negative comments. Even if you don't like rapcrap as you say, you have to give Drake and his team some kind of praise for throughing an event together like this without any sponsorship from the corporate monsters. Also think about the amount of money flowing into the city from this one weekend? If you ask me, it is good for the fans and great for the city.
Other Cities: Montreal