by Marcus J. Moore (@MarcusJMoore)
Near the end of his set at Verizon Center last night, Drake wanted a better view of the crowd, some of whom were dressed in costumes for Halloween. A massive circular apparatus, which had been suspended high above the D.C. audience, lowered slowly. Drake walked onto it and shouted out as many fans as possible.
"I see you with the 'I Love Drake' sign," he said, almost at eye-level with the nose-bleed seats. "I see you with the 'Nothing Was The Same' shirt, I see you. I see my man doing the robot, he's enjoying himself. I see you in the all white, what's up. I see you in the purple body suit."
Earlier in the show, part of his "Would You Like a Tour?" outing, Drake invited a D.C. woman up for a slow dance and a little conversation:
"What's your costume supposed to be?"
"I'm supposed to be [TV's 'Scandal' character] Olivia Pope on her day off."
"I don't know what that means, but you look good."
Those were engaging moments for Drake, whose polished hybrid of hip-hop/R&B is lovelorn angst and condescending pride. In an instant, he's the "emo MC" lamenting some failed romance; next, he's a full-blown stunt man who couldn't care less about your opinions of him. He's got more money and appeal than you, anyway. Through it all, Drake is just Drake. He remains true to himself and his grind, despite the jokes on social media and jabs from attention-seeking rappers.
That didn't matter last night, though. Shortly before 10:30 p.m., Drake emerged from behind an oval pit — he really likes circles — clad fittingly in all pale blue. He walked the spacey contraption and spit bars from his song "Headlines," before asking the nation's capital a simple question: "Is D.C. in [here] tonight or what?!?! I like to spend a lot of my off-time [in this city], so I've been waiting for this show for a long time."
From there, Drake rattled off a few tunes from his new album, "Nothing Was The Same," including meticulous versions of "Wu-Tang Forever," "Pound Cake" and "No New Friends." He spit his verse from Migos' ratchet summer anthem, "Versace," and brought out Atlanta rapper Future — one of Drake's opening acts — to perform a shortened "Same Damn Time." Singer Jhene Aiko, dressed as an angel, made a brief appearance for the pondering "From Time."
The show unfolded much like Drake's expansive ethos. There were thousands of people there, yet he made things intimate with methodical R&B grooves, billowing smoke machines, a retro-futuristic light show and sparklers. Whether on the triumphant "Started From The Bottom" or the indignant "Worst Behavior," Drake had a song for everybody. Given the number of hits he's created, the Toronto rapper likely performed your favorite song, or at least sang one of your favorite verses.
If he didn't, you might have another shot: "I'm trying to do this again if you're interested, D.C." Drake doesn't want any new friends, but at least for one night, he had thousands of them.