Drake Invites Birdman, Mack Maine to Stage for Jazz Fest Gig
Over the weekend rap heartthrob Drake made a stop at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as one of the only rappers gracing the bill. Not surprising, as the Toronto native calls New Orleans his “second home.” The Big Easy, after all is home to Drake’s Cash Money/Young Money imprint, whose co-founder Mack Maine made an appearance during his set, as well as his currently incarcerated “brother” — as Drake referred to him on stage — rapper LIl Wayne.
It was apparent from the second song in — ‘Unstoppable’ — how much Drake’s rap style had been influenced by Weezy. “My name is Drizzy/ And I ain’t perfect/ And I work hard … , ” he rapped in Wayne’s trademark gritty style. Drizzy had the instantaneous attention of the crowd, a melee of young teenage girls and men with their boos looking pristine and wearing their Sunday’s best handbags, after opening with the rap medley ‘Forever.’
With his official album out on June 15, Drake sampled mostly from his ‘So Far Gone’ mixtape and Young Money compilation, ‘We Are Young Money.’ From the first was the radio hit ‘Best I Ever Had,’ ‘November 18th,’ which he dedicated to DJ Spoof and Aaliyah. Off the latter there were the two lead singles — ‘BedRock’ and the dirty ‘Every Girl’ where Drake rapped “I wish I could f— every girl in the world.” Later on in the set, he’d ask if there was one lucky lady that’d like to come on stage for a dance that might get steamy. The screams from the audience were synonymous with something out of a Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber concert. The lucky winner was a New Orleans native named Jade Duplessis, that after spooning and dancing with on stage, Drake found out was only 17. “Oh God! Seventeen!” Drake exclaimed from the stage laughing, before turning to the crowd. “Turn your cameras off!”
Drake also sang his Page beef track ‘I’m Still Fly’ but the highlight was the guest appearance from fellow Cash Money pal Birdman on ‘Money to Blow.’ Throughout the set Drake brought up Lil Wayne several times, asking the crowd to “put your ones up” for the rapper. He had the crowd sing along on the choris of ‘I’m Goin’ In,’ explaining New York City’s Hot 97 radio station was going to play the live cut on the air so Weezy could here it in his Rikers Island jail cell, where he allowed to tune in from time to time.
While the entertainment value of Drake’s is largely due to the emerging rapper’s reaction with the animalistic fans before him, he’s also impressive when displaying his vocal chops on R&B crooners like ‘A Night Off’ and ‘Houstatlantavegas.’ But perhaps putting it best into perspective was that pretty teen from the stage that landed the slow dance with Drizzy. “Words can’t even describe how I feel right,” she told the BoomBox afterwards. “I just was on stage with one of the best rappers in the world!” And with her enthusiasm channeling much of the audience before Drake at Jazz Fest’s My Louisiana stage … she couldn’t have been so far gone with that statement.