While the dust has settled in Toronto from the buzz of last weekend’s events, we’re finally here to relive some of the memorable OVO Fest 2015 moments. This is the 6th time OVO has commenced in the 6 (coincidentally enough) and it’s no surprise Drake had a few tricks up his sleeve bringing out the likes of Jay-Z, TLC, French Montana, G-Unit, Lauryn Hill, and countless others in previous years. As the crowd poured into the Molson Amphitheatre, Partynextdoor performed ‘Welcome to the Party’ as the first guest of the A-list night sure to follow. Setting the tone for yet another sold out night, Partynextdoor graced our ears with tracks like ‘Recognize’ and ‘No Feelings’.
While waiting on the 6 God to reveal himself, the question on everyone’s mind was: “how petty will Drake be tonight?” Of course, referring to the ongoing comedic feud between he and fellow label-mate Nikki Minaj’s wife– Meek Mill. We know the sneak dissing started early when Drake wore a ‘Free Meek Mill’ shirt during rehearsal. As the crowd chanted “Fuck Meek Mill!”, their question was answered immediately when Drake kicked off his set with “Charged Up” and “Back 2 Back”, both diss tracks aimed at Mill himself. Meanwhile, the pettiness continued on with a montage of fan-made internet memes, clowning his opponent to no end (so we’re making rap beef powerpoint presentations now?). “You did it to yourself boy”, Drake now speaking directly to Meek, “I’d never let anybody disrespect my city and everything that we stand for.” Also, was that a ghostbusters uniform Drake was wearing? This man has no chill. However, despite the surrounding back and forth, Drake did not let it overshadow the night he put together to celebrate his city the way he does every year. With Philly’s pride, Will Smith, and city councillor, Norm Kelly, in attendance– celebrate is exactly what he did.
The red carpet rolled out and the OVO surprise guest list began showing up one after another, starting with UK rapper, Skepta, with ‘Shut Down’ followed by ATL’s own Future with ‘March Madness’ and ‘Fuck up Some Commas’; Both acts garnering an incredible crowd response. There was much speculation over who would show up this year, including rumours of Dr. Dre himself, but not many were prepared to see Kanye West take the stage after having just performed at the Pan Am Games for a 30 minute OVO set. Describing him as one of his idols, Drake praised Kanye multiple times throughout his own set. After running through ‘Stronger’ and ‘Black Skinhead’, West had a little surprise of his own, bringing Travis Scott out to perform ‘Upper Echelon’ and ‘Antidote’ with enough energy to carry us through ’till next week. The final surprise of the night was none other than Pharrell Williams, entering to ‘Drop it Like it’s Hot’ (a little misleading at first, having us thinking it was Snoop Dogg, but still a great surprise), going into ‘Get Lucky’ and ‘Freedom’. While the surprises left little to be desired, we still couldn’t help but wonder where ILOVEMAKKONEN and Fetty Wap were for ‘Tuesday’ and ‘My Way’ respectively. Nevertheless, OVO Fest never ceases to amaze with its star studded roster of performances.
Of course Drake brought out a setlist fit for the one and only 6 God including tracks like ‘Tuesday’, ‘The Motto’, ‘Know Yourself’, and countless others. Of course, every fan in the place knew every word, Drake didn’t even need a mic. Stopping for many brief moments to connect with the crowd and also express his unwavering gratitude for his guests from“if there’s anybody that got the world on fire it’s you, Future” to “thank you for everything you’ve done for music, man, we all look up to you [Pharrell]“. As confident (and often cocky) as Drake can come off in his music, he presents a genuine air of humbleness on stage toward his fans, his city, and his idols and peers alike. The night concluded with Drake bringing his entire squad on stage to run through the 6 with, an encore of ‘Back 2 Back’ (just to pour more salt in Meek’s wound, you know), another humble thank you speech, topped off with the entire stadium singing ‘Legend’ to the artist that Toronto loves so much. Oh, and there were fireworks.
All-in-all, OVO Fest is an experience— simply put.