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Drake At Prudential Center, Sunday, October 27th, 2013 Reviewed

We will thank Drake much later

When Drake laughed at Kendrick Lamar’s throw drown a month back, Drake claimed, and I believed accurately I thought, that Drake’s only competition was Kanye West. But after seeing his terrible performance at Prudential Center, I think his competition is rapper Future, who was pretty hellish himself in his half hour set but who gave West’s bizarre set the shot in the arm it needed with “Same Time Time”.

On a sleek, smart shell shaped stage with a band, synth and drum machines from what I can see, Drake took the stage in a rage of lo hi brood for “Tuscan Leather”; grabbing his crotch and dancing across the huge stage in a spastic cosmic hand swaying dance, he had the audience in the palm of his hands but 45 minutes later, when he left the stage to his DJ and elicited a better response with Drake on record than Drake did live on stage.

There was something so off about Drake. He started with slow mood songs, moved on to bangerz like “Versace” and A$AP Rocky’s “Fucking Problems” before starting a deadly three song set with Jhene Alko and leaving the stage for a break. Drake is 27 years old, what exactly did he need a break for? It was 1045pm

The evening began at 7pm  and I arrived around 730p in time for Future’s old school rap and sample set, so old school that tropes like having the women in the audience competing in shouting contests were rolled out like it was 1983. Future is the Atlanta rapper signed to Epic Records and a hit album under his belt. Two parts loverboy, one part druggie, performed “Neva End” and “Turn Up The Lights” . It was nothing much but the mostly female , and mostly black (the latter surprised me) seemed to give Future a pass.

Miguel went down better but I was sitting to the side and there was a drum set completely obscuring my line of vision which didn’t help since I could only peek him here and there. I am not a Miguel fan, though I love a few songs. People claim a Prince vibe, me, I see Bruno Mars only less poppy. The set is overlong and takes awhile to cook it up and when I say a concert is too loud people tend to misunderstand me so let me explain” it isn’t decibels, it is distortion and the bleeding out of melody that made it too long. A business as usual advise to us not to let people push us around was followed by “All About You”, “Adorn” and “#Beautiful”. The little girls understood.

And the night was just beginning and Drake blew it. Over the past twelve months I’ve seen on stage everyone from Fabolous to West, Jay-Z, Mellowhype, Tyler, The Creator and many more and Drake was easily the most disappointing. Drake irritates the fuck out of me on stage, he moves poorly, he emotes poorly, he both over sings and under raps. The man has flow, he can rhyme and he has a great voice. But he can’t project, I know, squealing girls, etc, what am I talking about, right? Well, he should have knocked this audience on his ass. When three of your first four songs are “Tuscan Leather”, “Headlines” and  “Furthest Thing” there should be no question as to how it’s going down. Any problems Miguel had with the sound is fixed for Drake, the audience worships him plain and simple, and the 27 year old is handsome and confident, but his set is a mess. In a horrendous piece of set  management he moved “HYFR” and performed some songs with Jhene Alko instead of taking it to the break with a band.

And, again, why I break. We’d been sitting around for THREE HOURS waiting for Drake to show, entertained, yes, and 10pm isn’t horrendous but still, three hours is a long time to get 45 minutes and a break. Aretha Franklin pulled the same crap at Carnegie Hall in the 1990s and I wasn’t imagined. But at least she was in her 50s and needed a break, why would Drake put the breaks on his entire set?

Drake came back and performed “Hold Me, I’m Going Home” and “Connect and then, 70 minutes into a 100 minute set, I left. I’d been on the road since Friday and almost literally dragged myself to Prudential and if I knew then what I know now I certainly wouldn’t have bothered.

I am not saying Drake was the worst hip hop show I’ve seen, but, honestly Slaughterhouse are better than this guy on stage. He should have killed it and the audience were screaming their lungs out, and compared to nothing, even not compared to my expectations or Drake himself, it had its moments for sure. But compared to his peers, to Jay-Z at Yankee Stadium, Odd Future at Hammerstein Ballroom, Kanye at Randall’s Island, this was the most disappointing show of the year.

Grade: C

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