NIU may be the best Drake ever had


Platinum-selling rapper Drake performed live in 2010 to a nearly sold out crowd at the NIU Convocation Center.

By Chris Krapek

DeKALB | If Drake really stands for “do right and kill everything,” the message behind the name works — he destroyed the Convocation Center.

A nearly-sold-out crowd closed Homecoming weekend and came to see the platinum-selling rapper and arguably one of music’s hottest acts.

Drake, accompanied with an incredible live band, exploded throughout his hour-long set, garnering massive applause when he laid down verses from “Bedrock,” “Every Girl,” “Miss Me” and “Successful.” With powerful percussion and trippy synth-beats, he sounds more like he was influenced by Pink Floyd than KRS-One.

Between songs, he said he came back to NIU because he “knew how much [our school] loved real hip-hop.” He recalled the free show he did at the Convocation Center in Spring of 2009, calling it one of his most memorable performances of his career.

In his typical lothario persona, Drake pulled a girl onstage and seduced her with his voice and some risque bumping and grinding. He paused halfway through asking the most important question of all; how old are you?

For the first time in recent memory, a performer at the Convo actually had a stage show, and an impressive one to say the least. Green lasers filled the room, trippy visuals played in a moon above the stage and a massive display of fireworks erupted during a song — this wasn’t your typical rapper and deejay show, it was thematic.

Things soon escalated into a Lil’ Wayne love fest. The biggest roar from the crowd came when Drake yelled “Free Weezy.” At one point, he recalled a conversation he had with his incarcerated mentor a few days ago. Wayne was asking Drake about NIU and if they had any love for him. Drake, wanting the audience to answer the question themselves, pointed a camera offstage and filmed the crowd rapping a Weezy verse.

Drake’s Young Money label mate Tyga opened up the show, immediately busting into his verse on “Roger That.” Although he’s not as well-known as original opener Clipse, Tyga filled the role of hype man well.

His biggest ovation of the night came when he mentioned Lil’ Wayne and another time when he took his shirt off. The 20-year-old emcee from Compton was on the mic for about 20 minutes, cruising through his verses on Chris Brown’s “Deuces,” which caused a slew of peace signs to go up in the audience.

During Tyga’s set, Lil’ Wayne’s “We Be Steady Mobbin’” played. A bunch of white kids threw up their middle fingers and recited the lyrics “f— these n—–s.” Does this deserved to be mentioned, or is it something we’ve come to turn the other cheek at?

Either way, it was awkward.