He was once told that music was not his calling, but Aubrey Drake Graham - nowadays known simply as Drake - has managed to prove all his naysayers wrong.
As he kicked off a 2-day, sold out stint at Radio City Music Hall, Drizzy Drake walked out onto the iconic stage into a spotlight, informing the crowd on where he's from and what he represents.
"I'm from Toronto and I'm representing for Young Money," he proclaimed to a sea of fans that responded with screams, cheers and flash bulbs.
Drake, who at the moment is probably the biggest hip hop star on the planet, finds himself headlining his own tour despite having once been told he wasn't good enough.
His story of rejection and perseverance could be felt in his rhymes and delivery. With every song, he spits knowledge and gives fans a peak into his dreams and nightmares, hence the name of his current tour - "Lights Dreams & Nightmares."
Drake started the night strong with his all-star collaborative hit "Forever." The track, which features the biggest names in music including Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem sent the crowd into convulsions. Although not accompanied by his all-star team, Drake managed to carry the song on his own and we all "got to witness, bitches."
As many speculated a cameo from Young Money teammate and rumored girlfriend Nicki Minaj, Drizzy ultimately went solo for "Up All Night" where fans sang along to the ego-driving anthem.
As the chorus goes, "I'm about whatever man.. F-ck what they be talking about, They opinion doesn't count, We the only thing that matters." could probably be heard as far as Fifth Avenue, as concertgoers chanted it - word for word without skipping a beat.
The rap phenom went on to play several tracks from his platinum-selling album "Thank Me Later" including "Show Me A Good Time," "Karaoke" and "The Resistance."
Drake threw it back - and by back I mean about 10 months - when he hit the crowd with "Successful," the second single off his award-winning, monster mixtape/EP "So Far Gone."
"Successful" addresses the many things he strives for and the freshness he claims to have injected into the game as it needed a change as he is the "motherf-cking cashier." It may sound pompous, but it's reality. To deny the impact this 23-year-old has had on the industry would be preposterous.
From Jay-Z to Mary J. Blige to Timbaland, the biggest artists in the world have collaborated with Drake and with good reason.
Drizzy continued on, lighting up the stage - literally - with his light-hearted duet with Alicia Keys, "Fireworks." Keys, who is entering her final weeks of pregnancy, was not on hand. Label-mate and "big brother" Birdman however joined Drizzy onstage to handle his verse in 'Money to Blow.' The two then proceeded to honor cohort leader Lil Wayne by revving up the crowd with a "Free Weezy" chant.
"Scream until Riker's Island hears you!" Drake told the sold out crowd. Lil' Wayne is currently serving an 8-month prison sentence in New York after being convicted of criminal possession of a weapon stemming from an incident in July 2007.
Drizzy pushed through his non-stop set singing his verses for his featured spots on Young Money's "Bedrock" and Alicia Keys' "Unthinkable." Surprise guest Young Jeezy then joined him onstage for "Unforgettable" where the pair tipped their hats to the late Aaliyah whose original recording of "At Your Best" is featured in the track.
Soon after, Drake entered into another duet, the powerful "Light Up" with Jay-Z. Although Jigga man did not make an appearance - as many expected - Drizzy managed to light it up on his own.
As the night began to wind down, the Canadian rapper rocked the mic with the song that made him a household name, "Best I Ever Had." It was definitely one of the high points of the night, as the crowd sang along, verse to chorus, verse to bridge, declaring that "You're the f-cking best."
"She call me the referee 'cause I be so official My shirt ain't got no stripes but I can make your p-ssy whistle."
Drake wrapped day one at Radio City with two of his biggest singles off "Thank Me Later," the sensitive man's anthem "Find Your Love" and the soon-to-be classic "Over." Before walking off, he told the crowd to get home safe and thank him later.
Every entertainer - at least the successful ones - know how to captivate their audience. What separates Drake from the rest is the overwhelming humbleness that escorts him on and off the stage.
After pushing nearly half a million units of his debut album in its first week, selling out shows across the country and causing a near riot during his last attempt at headlining a show in New York City (that one ended before it even started when the NYPD shut it down and arrested five concert goers) - one would think he would be fully aware of his undeniable influence. But as the show came to an end, Drake admitted to the crowd that he was nervous, an admission that probably garnered him even more respect he had before he entered the venue.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun