Drake review – rap’s majestic magpie makes world domination look easy

Manchester ArenaIn front of an army of acolytes, the hypnotic superstar delivers a high-density run of hits that draw from every corner of pop‘These girls don’t know what’s going on!” Ten minutes into the opening night of Drake’s European tour and Liverpool is showing Manchester how it’s done. I’m enjoying a quiet shoulder shimmy to myself when two scousers descend, tequila-beers in hand, dismayed at the static women next to them in the stands. One peels off a sweater bearing the owl of Drake’s label OVO to reveal a T-shirt with the same logo, and an arm full of Drake ink: that owl again, a pair of praying hands, and a “6” that denotes the number of boroughs in the Canadian rapper’s home town of Toronto.Drake has now reached the level of fame where people separated from him by an ocean etch his iconography on to their skin. The most streamed artist in the world last year, he has become an omniscient, omni-talented entertainer: seductive lover, jostling thug, family-friendly pop star and just about authentic in all three modes. His attachment to different global scenes – New Orleans bounce, UK rap, Jamaican dancehall – can almost seem parasitic, leeching off the edgy cultural capital from each. But the affection and glee of his cosmopolitanism means he is a true child of the internet, and indeed the private jet: a man able to hop between cultures and draw them together. Witness the mid-set breather here, hosted by London rappers Dave and Fredo performing their No 1 single Funky Friday atop a giant union jack. “This is how the world is supposed to work,” Drake announces towards the end, celebrating the ultra-diverse crowd in the building – and it’s a world he has helped to define. Continue reading…

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