Drake’s annual OVO Fest took a breather last year, but he announced at the Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship celebration rally in June that it would return. And this weekend, coinciding, per usual, with Ontario’s civic holiday long weekend, Drake’s star-studded, hometown-boosting pep rally was back.
The four-day OVO-branded affair included a music-industry summit, a basketball game, and two concerts: The first was a bit of an ‘00s throwback affair with B2K, Mario, Pretty Ricky, Lloyd, Ying Yang Twins and Bobby V (although Chingy was a no-show), but it’s the final, Drake-headlined night at Budweiser Stage that is the most anticipated — so much that original ticket prices skyrocketed well into the thousands. (One person asked on Twitter if Drake was bringing Michael Jackson, Tupac, and Notorious B.I.G. back from dead.)
Yet expectations are as high for this event, which Drake launched in 2010, as any in the business: Over the years he’s brought out Eminem, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj, Lauryn Hill, Diddy, Pharrell, Nas, TLC, J. Cole, Nelly, Cardi B, French Montana, Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky and more, including an early-career appearance by fellow Torontonian The Weeknd.
On Monday night the crowd was treated to Cardi B, Rick Ross, Tyga, Lil Baby, Megan Thee Stallion and Gucci Mane, along with former nemeses Meek Mill and Chris Brown (perhaps most impressively, the latter three all made it across the Canadian border despite serious legal problems). Earlier in the evening OVO signing Baka Not Nice opened the festivities.
Drake made his grand entrance by reviving the Raptors celebration, with a reminder on video of his beloved team’s win against the Golden State Warriors. The backdrop? A gigantic NBA trophy (in 2017, it was a giant CN Tower to coincide with his Views cover).
Lil Baby was the first guest — and he just kept going and going before giving the spotlight to Megan Thee Stallion, and Cardi B, who headlined Toronto’s Veld on Saturday, and performed “Bodak Yellow” and “I Like It” before bringing out hubby Offset for his song “Clout.”
Finally, Drake was joined by Rick Ross during his brief but hit-filled set, which included “Nice for What,” “Sicko Mode” and more.