After publicly quashing their long-running beef onstage in Boston last weekend, Drake brought Meek Mill onstage in Philadelphia Saturday, saying the city was getting “its own special show” when the hometown hero hit the stage.
Calling him a “king of Philly,” Drake graciously played hype man and gave the moment over to Mill for “Dreams and Nightmares.” They even shook hands and hugged it out before Mill’s exit.
Over the past year Mill has become a national symbol of the problems plaguing the U.S. justice system. He was arrested for reckless endangerment after police viewed an Instagram post of him riding his dirtbike through New York City streets. The incident led to a controversial and unusually harsh sentence for parole violation that saw him serving five months in prison.
For those reasons and more, the moment was the peak of what was already a hot show. Drake worked more than 40 songs into his set, focusing on his latest album “Scorpion” but reaching far back into his catalog as well. Some songs were rendered in entire versions (supple reggae takes of “Controlla” and “One Dance” into a sensual dancehall-ish “Hotline Bling”), while others were abbreviated blips (a series of early hits such as “HYFR”).
“Do you know it’s been ten years that we’ve been together,” he asked, dramatically. “I wonder if you even remember half the shit that we’ve been through?”
Drake skipped, punched and bouced on his heels – even and even invisted audience members on stage to shoot hoops and win money. A mid-set collaboration with Migos covered a hard driving, repetitive “Versace,” his verse from Gucci Mane’s “Both” and his remix of Fetty Wap’s “My Way.” There were the grander statements such as the romantic loser’s lament of “Jaded,” and its “Said you need some time but I should stick around, for what?/ Always felt like stickin’ ’round’s the same as being stuck” reprise, as well as Drake’s smooth noodling tribute to Michael Jackson with the pensive “Don’t Matter to Me” (featuring MJ’s posthumous vocal track) and a whispery, convincing cover of “Rock With You.” The evening wrapped with a lustrous, cocky “God’s Plan.”