Oldies But Goldies: Drake And Lil Wayne At Forest Hills. 2014
Concerts are as good as their finest moments and the finest moment of the Drake Vs Lil Wayne rap showdown at Forest Hills Tuesday night happened halfway through and it was really weird because it was one of the only slow moments. The highly entertaining battle between the owner of Young Money and his biggest star, or as Lil Wayne put it, classics and hits, had been buzzing smooth and fun through one 20 minute set after another: all fast on its feet sweet raps and trash talking, when an hour in Drake jumped on a cherry picker and performed “Marvin’s Room” with the audience singing the “I just think you can do better” hook before launching into the gorgeous, straight up soul masterpiece “Hold On We’re Going Home” and it sure felt like the battle of the rappers was over right that second.
Drake handed the stage to Weezy who shoulda been a beaten man, shoulda given up right there as he said “I saw yall closing your eyes and singing along.” But he wasn’t, instead he pulled off an equally passionate “How To Love” . It was a brilliant answer back to Drake and would’ve won him on the evening only very late, Drake hit his stride with “Worst Behavior”, “Trophies” and “Started from The Bottom”, the latter somewhat drowned in back up tapes, and won.
Of the three major hip hop tours this year, the Drake Vs Lil Wayne was easily the most fun, Jay and Bey was too cheesy and Em and Ree too serious, Drizzy and Weezy was a ball of energy and fun with the two ace rappers battling it out for two hours of high octave hip hop: all attack, all good humor: for one segment the Principal and Valedictorian just sang their hooks. For a battle it was a love all match and the affection bettwen the two, who have performed together on some level since 2009, was very clear and made clearer, without Drake, Lil Wayne ain’t filling Forest Hills Stadium, without Lil Wayne, Drake ain’t here at all.
I have never seen Lil Wayne before and considered him one of the most overrated rappers of all time, and I’ve seen Drake several times, last year I caught his big Barclay Center gig, and found him beyond dull and indolent on stage. But I am willing to accept that I underestimated Lil Wayne, who was personable, smart and had tons of great songs and as for Drake? I have no idea what woke him up but he was wide awake and indeed he won the battle of the rappers though, personally, I don’t know man, Lil Wayne was the better rapper for sure, but Drake has the better songs, and Drake can actually sing. I really consider it a draw.
The audience? Well, what do you expect from Middle Class Forest Hills – home to Simon And Garfunkel and the Ramones, white mostly, middle class mostly. My friend Hayley Belvedere and her sister Emily caught the tour in Chicago, and I am telling you, these half Italian teens are Young Money’s fan base in miniature.
At Forest Hills they got their monies worth, they got what they paid for. The beauty of Forest Hills zoning laws is the bands leave the stage at 10pm precisely, before “Hell Yeah”, the last song of the evening, Drake asked we scream extra loud and wake the neighbors and everyone got to stay till the end.
It is true, both Em and Jay rapped better than Drake and Weezy this year, so did Ab Soul and Danny Brown, and Tyler and Earl Sweatshirt come to think of it, but none of those names has Drake’s sex appeal or Lil Wayne’s street fighter jailbird (the motif for the evening) vibe. If their rapping was good not great, they gave up gravity for fun and I’d take that deal any day.