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Photos: This Summer Is Drake's, And He And Future Proved It At The United Center

By Chicagoist_Guest in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 27, 2016 3:12PM

By Quinten Rosborough

Every artist tells you that your city is their favorite to play in, that your crowd is the loudest they’ve hosted all tour long. Drake’s no different. He ascended to the United Center stage during last night's stop of the Summer Sixteen tour wrapped in a black and red Chicago Bulls championship jacket. He shouted out Chance the Rapper, who was in attendance. He changed lines about “The Six” into lines about “The Chi.”

“Chicago’s like a second home to me”, he said. In between renditions of "Still Here" and "Started from the Bottom," he even whispered "Imma get in trouble for saying this—but this is my favorite city to play in." And near the end of his second 45-minute set, as he angrily paced the stage and pummeled the crowd with hits, daring us to keep up, challenging the United Center to cut his mic off—it was clear that he had something to prove, and that Chicago really might be a second home to him.

Drake played seemingly every anthem he’s ever had a part in crafting, from his cameos on tracks like Migos’s “Versace” and Fetty Wap’s “My Way”, to songs like “Hold on We’re Going Home” (which he sung while floating over the crowd in a metal basket), and “HYFR.” If you have a favorite Drake verse, you certainly heard it at some point in the night.

He also played every song off of Views, an album that’s spent 11 weeks atop the Billboard 200 chart. Views got a lukewarm reception both critically and on social media, but you wouldn’t have known from the crowd’s response. Songs like “9”, “U With Me” and “Faithful” came to life on the big stage (and with big speakers). Even Drake himself seemed more excited about the songs live than he did on the album, replacing its broody monotone with the hunger and anger we heard on his 2013 mixtape Nothing Was the Same.

It was clearly Drake’s night, but Future made a strong guest appearance, too, popping up from beneath the stage to perform his verse on Views’ “Grammys” and then running through his most high-profile hits from the last two years. Aided by his DJ and mixtape partner DJ Esco, he ran through “Thought it Was a Drought,” “March Madness,” and other hits from last years’ Dirty Sprite 2, as well as a few of his more high profile guest-spots.

Maybe it’s because Drake played for so long, but Future’s set did feel brief, especially considering how extensive his library of hits is. Future had arguably a better 2015 than Drake did, so it was somewhat disappointing to not hear any of the deeper cuts from that year’s run of stellar mixtapes, let alone standouts from this year like “Inside the Mattress” and “Seven Rings.”

Future ended his set by bringing Drake back out for two songs from last year’s What A Time to Be Alive, “Big Rings” and “Jumpman.” From there, Drake finished his set with his most popular tracks. Views’ Caribbean records sounded out-of place back in April, but appear prescient now, with the sound taking over the pop and urban airwaves. A run of “Controlla”, “Work”, “Too Good” and “One Dance” was the show’s biggest moment, hypnotizing the crowd to a unified sway and solidifying this summer as Drake’s.

After shouting during his performance of “Work, “Sing that shit so I can sing it to Rihanna later.” Drake ended his set with the three biggest hits off of the 2015 mixtape Nothing Was the Same, “Know Yourself”, “Energy” and “Legend”, chanting the latter’s chorus as he descended back beneath the stage. “Oh my god, oh my god, if I die, I’m a legend.” One last reminder that he’s still the biggest rapper on the planet, and that he’s got the hits to prove it.

Follow Quinten Rosborough on Twitter.