Drake’s ever-lasting love for Toronto, or “the 6”, was clear as day during his October 8th concert at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto’s beloved rapper had to cancel three shows on his Summer Sixteen Tour, including one in Toronto, due to an injured ankle. He managed, however, to hold it together for one show in his hometown. Drake was also joined by fellow rapper, Future, who performed some of his own songs during a short intermission, and then teamed up with Drake to perform hits from their collaborative album, “What A Time To Be Alive”. Drake sang most of his hit songs, including “Hotline Bling”, “Started From The Bottom”, and “One Dance”, all in a thrilling 36-song setlist.
The Summer Sixteen Tour was to promote the Canadian hip-hop artist’s long-awaited album Views, which was released this April. The album proves Drake’s well-known appreciation for Toronto, where he was born and raised. The city is referenced in many of his songs. He has popularized the city’s new famed nickname, “The 6ix”, as a reference to the common telephone area codes, 416 and 647. Many times throughout the show, Drake praised Toronto and its habitants, clearly happy to be back home. He also gave numerous shout outs to the Toronto Blue Jays, as the baseball team was in the midst of a set of games to grant them access to the American League Championship. Also mentioned were the Toronto Raptors, the basketball team for which Drake is the global ambassador for. Unfortunately, there was no mention of Toronto’s hockey team, the Maple Leafs, but at least Future wore their jersey, while Drake opted for an Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays jersey. The total of times Drake proclaimed his love for Toronto during the show must have been over 50, but no one seemed to care. The crowd couldn’t get enough.
If it was clear Drake loved Toronto, it was just as obvious that Toronto loved Drake back. His merchandise lines were over two hours long, there were chants of “Aubrey”, and the overall energy was one of excitement and familiarity. Drake is seen as a major icon in the city, and almost treated like a family member to Torontonians. Some believe him to be the one putting modern Toronto hip-hop on the map, with his OVO crew, and annual OVO Fest in the summer, and of course his constant mentions of T-dot in his songs. Drake’s lyrics have had a large impact on the city. Every young Torontonian has probably quoted lines such as “Running through the 6 with my woes”, or “0 to 100 real quick” at least once in the past few years. He is lovingly referred to as Drizzy, Champagne Papi, or 6 God by the city. The majority of the crowd were teenagers and young adults, which make up most of Drake’s fanbase. Once the rapper finally made his entrance at 9:30, the audience went wild, gladly singing along when Drake turned the mic to the crowd. The most touching part of the show was when Drake stepped onto a platform and was taken up and around the ACC, during his song “Hold On We’re Going Home”, so he could get a view of the crowd.
Every artist probably tells every crowd that their city was the most “hype”, or the best city they’ve performed in yet. However, when Drake says this to Toronto, you can’t help but think he’s really telling the truth. The 6 is his hometown, and he knows that his fellow Torontonians will welcome him back as a hero when he steps back onto the Air Canada Centre stage.