“All of us are living in a country where we have to deal with people telling us we don’t understand, how divided we are, and how bad shit is getting and how we gotta deal with this fucking idiot that’s in office. They’ll sit there and tell us this country is falling apart because of us,” Drake said at his August 31 show. “But tonight we got 16,000 people from all different backgrounds inside one building and all we’re doing is chilling and having a good time. This is how the country should be.”
See that’s the thing about music. No matter where you’re from, what language you speak, what you are or who you are, you are able to understand. To feel. The Drake and Migos show on August 31 at Barclays Center was undoubtedly a performance that got the whole audience “in their feelings.”
Migos, who were named the number one hip-hop group in the world after tying The Beatles for most simultaneous entries on Billboard Hot 100, opened for the superstar. They excited the audience with their staple pieces, including “Narcos,” “Stir Fry” and “MotorSport” from Culture II. The group certainly didn’t forget the album that truly sparked their fame, Culture, singing hits like “T-Shirt,” “Bad and Boujee,” “Slippery” and a personal favorite, “Kelly Price.” The Migos really did an impressive job covering all of their bases. And although the Migos began their night radiating chill vibes, their performance was hype in the sense that they played hit after hit without deviating from their brand. Walking laps around the stage garbed in neon tracksuits and ice, they couldn’t have kept it more nonchalant.
As an enormous scorpion figure suddenly appeared on the stage, it was clear that Drake had arrived. Whether it’s giving his massive crowd a political pep-talk or transforming his stage into an iPhone screen, he always manages to stay hot, relevant, and on his feet. Literally. His ongoing sprints across his “digital” stage, which he turned into a pool, Instagram and even a basketball court, proved to his fans that at 31, Drake isn’t done yet … and is probably in way better shape than most.
The rapper opened with hits from Side A of his newest album Scorpion, which broke streaming records within 24 hours of its release. Drake belted “Can’t Take a Joke,” “Emotionless” and “Nonstop.” “Nonstop” especially excited the crowd as they chanted, “this a Rolly not a stopwatch!” Side A was to give his fans the hardest of Drake; rapper Drake. To give his fans glitz and glam and hope and nastiness all at once.
Side B then flashed on the screen, and Drake went from “Emotionless,” to very emotional. Singing an absolutely stunning acoustic version of his controversial yet highly popular “Don’t Matter to Me,” featuring Michael Jackson. He brought the audience down to earth and to heaven all at once. He then performed a tribute to Michael, singing the one and only “Rock With You,” and it’s safe to say that Drake’s performance of this record was one of the most beautiful things I have heard in a long time. Drake then brought Migos out for “Walk It Talk It,” which was definitely an iconic moment for the entire audience. Watching both artists perform simultaneously was truly a sight for sore eyes.
Drake later showed off his high-tech stage set-up, transforming the stage into a full basketball court — even inviting a fan on stage to take her shot in the hopes of winning a hefty cash prize. To the audience’s dismay, the fan missed. Drake then prepared to take his own shot. “Do y’all think I can make this?” he pumped up the crowd. I, in addition to the rest of the audience, had no doubts in our minds. Of course Drake could make the shot. He could surpass The Beatles’ record on Billboard’s Top 10, he could reach the highest number of single-day streams and he could sell out New York for over a week straight.
That’s the beauty of Drake though. He is able to make us think that he is superhuman and then bring us back to his raw, real self. He is able to show us that he too faces this 21st century political frustration — that he too strives for peace in this country. A video montage began, showcasing his beginnings with producer 40, Future and Oliver. “Me and you built this together,” Drake said. “It’s not just me.”
Juliette Rolnick is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.