Follow us:

Soundposts

A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

September 15, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Drake vs. Lil Wayne all about the star power | Concert review

Lil Wayne and Drake performed at White River Amphitheatre Sunday (Associated Press)

Lil Wayne and Drake performed at White River Amphitheatre Sunday (Associated Press)

Drake and Lil Wayne are rappers who also happen to be two of the most recognizable faces in popular music. So it stands to reason that the duo’s performance at White River Amphitheatre in Auburn on Sunday night was less about performing songs than it was about performing celebrity.

Nearly every aspect of the show was designed to emphasize the artists’ star power. This is true of most arena-scale pop concerts, but those often have costume changes, backup dancers and elaborate stage props.

On Sunday, though, the amphitheater’s large stage was strikingly barren; even the DJs, usually found back and center at a hip-hop show, were relegated to the margins. Whoever held the mike was the only possible focus point, dramatically illuminated by huge LED screens that bisected the stage. Its sightlines clear, the largely young, suburban crowd Instagrammed with abandon.

The show was a stop on the “Drake vs. Lil Wayne” tour, where each concert is an ersatz rap battle. Fans were encouraged to download a proprietary phone app beforehand to vote on who would appear first, and the rappers traded short sets, engaging in some lighthearted, if forced, trash talk along the way. (Drake’s acting background on the TV show “Degrassi” surely helped.)

After a lengthy opening video sequence modeled after the “Street Fighter” arcade game introduced Lil Wayne as the winner, he performed three truncated songs in quick succession. This was a theme throughout the night. Whether out of necessity (no one to rap the guest verses) or convenience, few songs from either rapper lasted more than two minutes.

Although Lil Wayne came out first, Drake is a bigger pop star, and his appearance drew a bigger reaction. Though he released an album last September, his sets were heavy on older singles like “Over” and “Headlines.” But shortly after serenading the crowd from atop a platform that flew over the lower seats, he sang “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” a smooth electro-R&B song that was a top-five hit last year.

Opening the show was Oakland rapper G-Eazy who, clad in all black with slicked-back hair, looked like Macklemore’s evil twin. He played booming party rap as the crowd trickled in.

Comments | More in R & B/Hip-hop | Topics: "Drake, Concert Review, Lil Wayne

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►