The hits versus the classics, the new school versus the old school, Drake Vs Lil Wayne. Drizzy battled his sensei Lil’ Wayne and both dominated the stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre September 10th. The production was powerful, firey hot, and highly interactive, with it’s own Drake Vs Lil Wayne app that the audience was invited to download and vote with throughout the night. The music won in an anime-battle themed show. It stood Drake at 12, Wayne at 11 going in to the night. The votes from the crowd at Red Rocks were actually so close, by the apps standards– it was a draw. At risk of sounding cheesy as hell, it is the crowd who won.
After a high-energy and disruptive opening set by G-Easy, the crowd anticipated Drake and Lil Wayne for almost an hour. Suddenly, the anime-battle starts with a booming intro: Our story begins thousands of years ago with a legendary tournament. The crowd got to vote via a red button on the app for who went first. Much like history, it was Weezy. The app was a little confusing to the crowd, more interested in seeing the two icons than voting. I don’t know if anyone was aware it was an actual competition.
Lil’ Wayne enters to an ecstatic, sold out Red Rocks to open with “Steady Mobbin.” Vicious, beaming red surroundings on the second story stage. He is literally running across this stage all night. You are immediately drawn to his presence and energy. Classics, ones you grew up to, know every word to, being spit by the man himself. I had grown jaded to new music, on the “Wayne fell off” bandwagon, yet his opening song was the perfect reminder of Waynes actual grip on hip hop music. He is the boss.
Then comes Drizzy. In response, Drake busts out second to the stage with “Draft Day.” You know he had to do it for you. My first time seeing Drake live, I was taken aback by his raw energy, his unapologetic movements, dancing and jumping across the stage. Drake was lit. “Draft Day,” was then followed by “We Made It,” with the infamous This is not a rehearsal white-on-black as the backdrop. This hit with Soulja Boy from 2013 is just one of the many songs I was reminded to love, again. Looking at the crowd, the energy that Drake and Wayne both drew from this venue in this place was astonishing– He made it.
“I go by the name of Drizzy Drake. I rep that Young Money OVO Sound shit. Tonight, I’m here with my boss, my mentor, the reason I’m here on this stage, he goes by the name of Lil muhfucking Wayne. And I’m going to let you know. he is the greatest boss and the greatest mentor but we are in Colorado tonight and I came to roast him alive.”
Denver has so much love for the duo, it is ridiculous. I have never been to show with this many audience members singing along to every word. It was pointed out by Wayne, as he told Drake in the “hook off.” “I don’t even have to sing my hooks, that’s how famous they are.” Highlight of the hook off: Their repartee. The back and forth included some amazingly well timed Degrassi jokes from Wayne (after Make it Rain)
“I think you were still in a wheelchair when that came out.”
In spite of the high energy and absolutely live performance, there were slower moments that felt like a personal love sonnet to each and every one of the women in the audience. Drake busted out some Elvis-esque pelvis thrusts. Camera zoom-in ready. Plus, he got on a literal stripper pole suspended over the audience by a giant chord, in the midst of “I Better Find Your Lovin.” Drake gave a sing-songy shout out to random people in the crowd suspended over them. The love you show him is returned. He called out to girls blowing kisses, Broncos fans, and random sign holders in the crowd, Drake floated above and sang, “I see you, I see you.”
The cost of winning was great, the sacrifice epic, but the prize is far more valuable than any mere object. Halfway through the epic battle, they made a bet. I never heard how it quite panned out, but they both seemed dead ass serious. If Wayne wins, he gets to go out into the audience and pick 10 girls to come on stage and do whatever they want with Drake. If Drake wins, then Drake gets to pick 8 girls from the audience to come backstage and do whatever they want with Wayne.
The show was sexualized to an almost ridiculous point. After rubbing his hands in suggestive movements in the air, it was liek, c’mon. It works for him. Wayne did the same in his schmoozy version of “How to Love,” “Mrs. Officer,” and “Lollipop.” He went on to sing, “A Milli” which may have been Weezy at his best. His moves, his smile, the absolute showmanship of this rapper was lost to me until tonight.
The back and forth continued. Drake destroys the stage with his most hyped song from last album Nothing was the Same: “All Me,” even rapping Big Seans breathy part. He killed it.
Much like in their music, Drake and Wayne are better together. Seeing them on stage, side by side, felt electric. They took us out with two collabs, first a song from Wayne’s highly anticipated Carter V. “Believe Me.” This may have been the most hyped the crowd got. This hook by Drake is amazing, and after his dope verse, you see Drake kind of present Wayne and step back. This humility was balanced by their cockiness pretty well. If you only live once, then of course during the epic Red Rocks show Drake and Wayne sing, “The Motto.” The crowd absolutely bows down as they play off one another’s energy, dance moves, like a choreographed set. Jumping, moving, spitting fire. With literal fire in the background.
They get sentimental towards the end, thanking the man above. If I were Drake or Lil’ Wayne, I would be thanking God, too. He has done wonders for them. Or maybe it’s just hard work. Either way, look forward to The Carter V and View from the 6 this year to be the cherry on top.
Drake and Wayne end in as big of a bang as they began. Although, promptly ending at 11 before the noise ordnance ended the show for them. If they chose girls, I am assuming they were those dancing in the front row that Wayne could not stop flirting with. From stage. All night. Confetti shot out into the crowd in a glorious mixture of Drake versus Wayne logos. Neither won, which seems appropriate for the level of perfectionism that each man brought to the stage.
See our full gallery by 303 Magazine photographer Darian Simon here.