A replica CN Tower stage, a Weeknd cameo and four other things you missed at OVO Fest 2017
LeBron James was in the building. Players from the Leafs and Blue Jays were spotted. And if your Ticketmaster game was on point—or if you were willing to shell out upwards of $220 for a seat on the damp lawn—maybe you were there, too. If not, Drake’s latest OVO Fest was once again an epic surprise party disguised as a concert. Over the past seven years, it’s welcomed guests like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem, Stevie Wonder, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Puff Daddy, Rihanna and scores more. On Monday, under a full moon at Budweiser Stage, the extravaganza included (deep breath) Playboi Carti, Rae Sremmurd, French Montana, Tory Lanez, Cardi B, Migos, Travis Scott, PartyNextDoor, Nelly, The Weeknd and Baka Not Nice. Here, the highlights from a night full of ’em.
A meme-worthy CN Tower replica
1OVO’s up-and-coming roster—Roy Woods, Majid Jordan and DVSN—warmed the dais with a series of 20-minute sets in front of a black backdrop. Then, at 9 p.m., the curtain dropped to reveal a monstrous replica of the CN Tower. Perched on the top, like the Views artwork incarnate, was Drake. Toronto’s rap hero opened with “Free Smoke” before descending from his commissioned landmark and leading the city in its unofficial anthem, “Know Yourself.” “I called 19 companies to build me a CN Tower, and they all said no,” Drizzy explained. “And then I called the 20th.” Drake’s version of the tower lights up and spits fireworks, just like the real thing.
A throwback cameo from Nelly
2For concertgoers of a certain age, the highlight of the cameo-a-palooza came midway through Drake’s two-hour set. Midwest sing-song sensation Nelly—whose best tracks are now older than some of OVO’s attendees—giddily bounded onto the stage in a tank top and diamond-encrusted earrings to perform a mini set of his biggest crossover jams: “Ride Wit Me,” “Country Grammar,” “E.I.” and “Hot in Herre.”
A quashed beef with Tory Lanez
3In the most positive turn of the evening, Tory Lanez performed his remix of Drake’s “Controlla” alongside Drizzy—an unexpected collab given the two have exchanged several subliminal (and not-so-subliminal) jabs on various records. “Me and this guy here, we had problems with each other. We had never even met each other,” Drake told the crowd. “I met the man, and he’s a great dude.” Drake then referred to his former hater as “a young king” and the two hugged it out.
A bad and boujee Migos appearance
4Collaborators since “Versace,” Migos and Drake blessed the crowd with some of 2017’s best singles: “Bad and Boujee” and “T-Shirt.” They were topped by the flute-looped “Portland,” More Life’s best track, performed in full by Drake, Quavo and the energetic Travis Scott, who crashed the party. Even Drake’s guests bring guests.
Drake brought out The Weeknd to perform at the OVO Fest. pic.twitter.com/A6BAMO6QEz
— xotwdie (@xotwdie) August 8, 2017
The best way to cap a long Weeknd
5Things have come full circle: The Weeknd, who opened the 2011 OVO Fest as an obscure, slightly stage-shy R&B singer, was the last major artist to bless the OVO stage. Drake crowned him “the King of Queen Street” before Abel Tesfaye ripped through “The Hills” and “Starboy” and linked with Aubrey for “Crew Love,” earning one of the largest reactions from the packed house. “I don’t want to do this to you onstage,” Drake said, turning to his friend, “but I feel like that OVO XO project has to happen at some point.”
See you next year! #OVOFest pic.twitter.com/nzNPryo2Hb
— DS (@TheDrizzySource) August 8, 2017
The promise of a new album
6Before leaving the stage, Drake told his congregation that he’s working on a new album, the official follow-up to 2016’s Views, and he’s recording it here at home. “It’s an OVO Sound ting for life,” he pronounced before dropping the mic and walking off into the dark.