About five hours before the "Drake vs. Lil' Wayne" summer tour hit suburban Tinley Park, my girlfriend and I broke up. That meant I would now be spending an evening with the patron saint of sensitivity at the height of an emotional time. It could get ugly. What would usually be a fun concert experience now had the potential of becoming a ripped-from-a-bad-'90s-show situation: "True Life: I Attended a Drake Concert Right After a Breakup."





Personal turmoil aside, the concert itself (some 25,000 attendees strong, according to a First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre staff member I spoke to) was a doozy. The Young Money/Cash Money/OVO contingent came to town with a metric ton of hits--and chips on their shoulders. Drake and Wayne competed in a staged contest that was more "Street Fighter II" than "8 Mile." That isn't a stretch; the tour actually partnered with Capcom, the makers of "Street Fighter," to provide art and video clips. Concertgoers could download an app that would determine everything from who went on first to tallying votes for who was "winning" the fight. The back and forth was one of the show's highlights. In a world where fans spend all day poring over perceived slights, it can be refreshing to hear two great rappers openly talk smack to each other, even if you know it's all a ruse. Drake had jabs all over the place, but Wayne roasted him alive with lines like, "Look, Chicago, I've been doing this [bleep] since he was in that wheelchair," a wonderful nod to Drake's "Degrassi" past.



On the local front, Drake did a slowed-down version of local rapper Spenzo's amazing 'Wife Er" while also referencing "Live and Die in Chicago," a new track from Kanye West collaborator King Louie. Drake also performed his verse from Lil Reese's "Us." While Lil Wayne hasn't done any real work with a Chicago act in awhile, would it have been so hard for him to reference Boo and Gotti, two Chicago rappers who were signed to Cash Money back when that wasn't a thing that everyone from Fred Durst to Paris Hilton to the guy who delivers my mail could do? Maybe just give us a little bit of "Ain't It Man" next time, Weezy.



Some will inevitably compare this co-headlining tour with that other co-headlining, bold-named rap show, aka Jay Z and Kanye West's "Watch The Throne." There's little point in comparing them, but if we're talking strictly on enthusiasm, both from the crowd and the entertainers, I'd give the nod to Drake vs. Lil Wayne. Last night's show was everything that "WTT" wasn't: a tight, direct thrill ride that accomplishes the noble task of cramming in as many hit songs as possible into 150 minutes. Everything from mixtape tracks like Drake's "Draft Day Freestyle" and "We Made It" to classics like "A Milli," "Worst Behavior," and Wayne's "Lollipop" were tackled. The duo played more than 50 songs, and that's not counting the mock-halftime "battle" segment between Drake and Wayne's DJ's. That whole thing comes off as just a flimsy excuse to play whatever local hit will pop the crowd that night. And Bobby Shmurda's "Hot N***a."

The fun show was a welcome distraction from earlier events, even if a heightened emotional state can put any concertgoer at the mercy of Drake's musical M.O. I danced, I yelled all of the adlibs ("Metropo-lis!" "Damn, I look good!") during Drake's remix of the Migos hit "Versace" and generally managed to not lose my cool. Well, save for when Drake did "Find Your Love," when Wayne did "I'm Single" and when I embarrassingly screamed Wayne's entire verse from Chris Brown's not-so-kind-to-the-ladies (but somehow still a hit anyway) tune "Loyal."

I'm not proud of that last one.





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