On August 3rd, I turned 30 years old. My birthday is always in and around the August long weekend and so its always difficult to try and coordinate a night to get everyone together. This year was no different, but we made it work. Patio drinks, a house party, a club night and a family BBQ took care of my Thursday through Sunday birthday festivities. Now, the body doesn’t doesn’t recover as well as it used to, which brings us to Monday….and OV-Oh-No…I can’t believe I missed it.
Drake’s OVO Fest has become a must see event each year and the perfect way to wrap up the August long weekend. I will never forget the first ever instalment that featured a surprise appearance from the likes of Eminem and Jay Z (among others, but come on!! were talkin’ Shawn Carter and Marshall Mathers). I never thought that show would ever be topped and I was right (so far). Year two was still good (Nas, Rick Ross, J Cole, and STEVIE WONDER!!!) but it was still no where near Hov and Em. Last year I spent my birthday in London England for the Olympics (#BallSoHardSummer) so I really could care less about what was going on in Toronto. Which brings me to this year…
To be honest, it wasn’t really on my radar. I remember hearing rumours months back that it would take place at Rogers Centre, then that got squashed. Then it was going to be spread out over two days at the Molson Amphitheatre, which as we all know ended up being scaled back after an injury to Frank Ocean. Still, I just don’t remember being that interested in going. I think back to 4 years ago being at Caribana (Note: I will always refer to it as Caribana and not the corporate BS that it is now) and having a friend tell me that Jay Z and Eminem are in town. I spent the next day and a half trying to get tickets as close to the stage as possible. And that show did not disappoint. Maybe the best show that I’ve ever seen…maybe…(a topic for a future #OnBlast Podcast…maybe). But my point is, in the back of my mind I always figured it would leak if the names were big enough and that I would be able to find out about it. But boy was I wrong.
You see I would expect Big Sean, French Montana, J. Cole etc. But that level of Rapper isn’t really getting me that hype to get off of my couch hungover, to listen to teeny boppers sing Drake love songs for 2 hours…but again, I was so wrong.
The moment twitter started blowing up with news of a TLC performance, I thought that was pretty cool. But still, under no circumstances is it ok for a dude to be jamming and singing along to “Waterfalls” or “No Scrubs” (especially in public). So I was ok with missing that.
Then came the tweets of Puffy and Ma$e – and that’s when I began to have regrets. You see for me, P.Diddy and Family is my childhood. “Mo Money, Mo Problems”, “Only You”, “Been Around The World” (the remix is still the shit) or “All About the Benjamins”. Those are HITS from my youth. Say what you want, but if you’re around my age and were in to hip hop at all, chances are you too were Diddy Boppin’ and doing the Ma$e “Feel So Good” moves at your Grade 8 grad or High School opening dance. I know I was for damn sure – so on the weekend of me turning 30, how awesome would it be jam out to this:
The 13 year old me is so pissed at the now 30 year old me, for missing a Puffy and Ma$e performance in Toronto.
But wait, that’s not the end of my regrets. You see I made a vow with myself that anytime Shawn Carter was performing in Toronto, that I would be there no matter what. Over the past few years, that vow has extended to one other man. Kanye “to the” West. Take away Kim K. Take away all of the negative things that you think you know about his personality (or things you’ve seen on TMZ) and know that there are very few people in any genre that perform with as much energy, emotion and down right SWAG as Mr. West. He leaves everything out there every time he steps out on stage. The last time I saw Kanye was at the “Watch The Throne” tour with Jay Z; and we all know how epic that night was (#OtisScream). But the time before that was at the NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. There’s a rule that there’s no cheering in the press box, but I didn’t care. I was bumping HARD when the “All of The Lights” beat dropped and ‘Ye came out to surprise the crowd. A crowd that included the actual NBA All-Stars that all left the locker room to watch Kanye do his thing. Moments like that, I will remember for the rest of my life.
And so with that said, I can’t believe he did “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” at OVO, in Toronto, on My Birthday Weekend and I wasn’t there for it. “. That whole “wait till I get my money right…” has so much more of a powerful meaning for me now at this point of my life; and so I’m rattled beyond words that I missed that show, but thank god for this thing called the internet, so that we can all remember the moment and listen to the huge praise he has for Drake!!!.
Which brings me to MY BIGGEST REGRET for missing this year’s OVO Fest. I mentioned earlier about the “Teeny Boppers” singing along with Drake’s love songs. Well I was only half kidding, because in reality that all would have been worth it to watch him belt out the lyrics to the MASSIVE hit records that he’s dropped this past year. BANGERS like “5AM in Toronto”, “No New Friends” and most importantly “Started from the Bottom” are all tracks that “TO ME” symbolize this point and time in ones life in which success has finally come after years of hard work. But that taste of success is so much sweeter because of the love and support of the people that surround you, the ones that have been with you since day one. That #CrewLove and Love of Toronto has become a common theme for Drake as his career has exploded into super-stardom. But its also a theme that culminates for one day each and every year in the city we all love and call home. I personally don’t know anyone one else that has “put on” for T.O. to the level that Aubry Graham has over the past few years. The biggest names in hip hop both past and present have come through Pearson Airport to show love to a kid from Forest Hill, think about that for a second. Or as my dude Cab put it:
The Dude is obviously SUPER talented and “Lord Knows” where his career will go next, but while I may not be the biggest Drake fan out there….My respect and admiration for his level of GANGSTER is at an all-time high after the guest list that he had coming through Pearson Airport. As my boy jokingly put it on twitter after the show:
“Yo @Drake chill bruh. Toronto wasn’t ready for all that. You gotta give us a warning or something”
Only the thing is I will be ready and so will everyone else in T.O, not only next year…but for years to come. Forget about “Later” on behalf of Toronto, I’ll Thank you now.
“Some call me a hater, I call it #RealTalk…just how I’m feeling at the time.
– Sheldon Alexander