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Rap Revolution

by Georgia Kotsinis

photography courtesy of Georgia Kotsinis

For a series of weekend-long shows that kicked off on September 7, Canadian superstar Drake stopped at TD Garden for his seventh tour and co-headlined with hip-hop group, Migos. The rapper electrified the crowd with countless tracks, including ones that dated back to his beginnings.

Migos amped up the crowd as an impressive opener. However, Drake brought the energy to a whole new level by starting his performance strong with two of his most hard-hitting and popular tracks: “8 out of 10” and “Mob Ties” from his newest album Scorpion. He didn’t miss a beat and then quickly transitioned into older hits like “Started from the Bottom,” “Both” and “Jumpman.”

The stage was centered in the stadium, creating a 360-style performance for Drake as he walked around interacting with all sides of the room. The lighting effects created different landscapes for the artist including a basketball court, breaking ice, lava and a storm cube.

For a lot of fans of the genre, the Friday show came at a time when spirits were low, just hours after news broke that rapper Mac Miller had passed away. Sending chills through the crowd, Drake paid tribute to the late artist by saying, “I want to dedicate this show to my late friend Mac Miller who was always a kind man. We about to go in for Mac tonight.” He followed the sentiment with an impressive performance of “Emotionless.”

After a few more songs from Scorpion, he appealed to the entire audience when he went into a remix of multiple bangers from past years, ranging across all his albums.

In parallel with the structure of the album, Drake split the concert into two separate parts, divided by songs “Versace” and “Walk it Talk It,” which were performed alongside Migos.

All Drake fans acknowledge that one of his best artistic aspects is his ability to go hard on a diss track and then do a 180 by slowing it down to more sensitive and, often sensual, material. The second half of the concert started out this way with “After Dark,” followed by “Jaded” and then a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Rock with Me.”

Drake picked up the tempo once more with his most popular dance hits: “Controlla,” “One Dance” and “Work.” The whole audience was on their feet, paired with the screaming voices of women enamored by the rapper.

Despite all its glory, one negative aspect of the show was that, between songs, the way that Drake spoke to the crowd seemed rather generic, as if he could have said what he did to any city, even though he excessively mentioned Boston. As a fan, this made him less believable, but the quality of the music maintained the high morale of the show.

Drake performed a three-peat of back-to-back shows throughout the weekend. Each show was unique, but a particular event on Saturday made that night stand out from the others. Meek Mill was brought out on stage during the set, demonstrating an amicable interaction between the two rappers who had been feuding since 2015. With regards to current rap beef, this moment is especially notable, even more so because it happened in Boston, rather than in a city like Philadelphia, where Meek is from.

He ended the show with “God’s Plan,” one of his most popular records from the year. The entire stadium loyally shouted the lyrics: “I only love my bed and my mama, I’m sorry” at the top of their lungs as the music cut out.

Although there were a few instances that felt less than genuine, it was an overall lit atmosphere with an extensive range of music. Drake did not disappoint in providing for his fans in this tour, as expected from someone who has been at the top of the charts since 2009.

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