In 2013, Drake propelled rap trifecta Migos to superstardom when he put his verse on the group’s trap anthem “Versace (Remix).” Now, Migos shares tour headlines with their benefactor. Yet the audience reaction to the “Aubrey and the Three Amigos” tour solidifies Drake as the real star, while Migos is left as the supporting act.
On Sept. 12, thousands of fans gathered at Capital One Arena to watch the first of two back-to-back Washington, D.C. installments of the “Aubrey and the Three Amigos” tour. The dual-headline tour was postponed multiple times because of production difficulties, and the delay only heightened expectations.
Watching the concert, it is clear why the production was so hard to perfect. Situated in the middle of the arena, the stage was unobstructed from every angle, ensuring each concert-goer had clear visibility of Drake.
Deceivingly simple upon first glance, the rectangular structure on which Drake performed was in fact a massive video screen featuring graphics that were carefully paired with each of the songs. High-tech props further advanced the impressive production value; during Lil Baby collaboration “Yes Indeed,” Drake’s $7 million LaFerrari was suspended above the audience, an obvious symbol of his incredible success.
The arena, which seats just under 20,000, is by no means an intimate venue, but this setup, combined with Drake and Migos’ high energy and onstage presence, captivated the audience.
Migos was first to take the stage, performing “Fight Night,” a song from the Atlanta trio’s 2014 mixtape “No Label 2,” followed by cocaine-dealer slap “Hannah Montana.” After a few more introductory songs, Migos headed backstage, leaving fans impatiently waiting for Drake.
After close to 30 minutes of waiting, the audience roared with excitement as Drake, obscured by a 360-degree curtain, began to rap the opening lines of “8 Out of 10,” marking the beginning of the concert. An appropriate opening track, “8 Out of 10” describes the current state of the rap star’s career, concluding that despite criticism, his music will remain popular.
The concert promoted Drake’s 2018 album, “Scorpion,” which is divided into an energetic rap-centric “A Side” and an R&B-flavored “B Side” focused on Drake’s melodic singing. Just as “Scorpion” is split in two, Drake’s performance was double-sided.
Throughout his first segment, Drake tied in songs from “Scorpion,” as well as a few older hits. Though the sheer size of Drake’s discography meant there was not enough time to perform many of his older hit songs, audience members were nonetheless thrilled to hear portions of “HYFR,” “Know Yourself” and “Started From the Bottom.”
After performing over a dozen songs, Drake left the stage for Migos to perform again. While Migos certainly has many dedicated fans, the venue held a distinct air of disappointment that Drake — the clear star of the show — was taking a break. During their second portion, Migos performed a few more songs, most of which were unrecognizable to casual fans because of the “mumble rap” style of their performance.
There was an obvious lull in the crowd’s mood during Migos’ set, but the energy level quickly shot back up when Drake joined the trio on stage to perform the rap stars’ most iconic collaborations, such as “Walk It Talk It.” After complimenting Migos and telling the story of his friendship with them, the group left and Drake began the “B Side” of his performance.
For fans of Drake’s older albums or anyone unfamiliar with deep cuts from “Scorpion,” the “B Side” of the concert was superior. Additionally, Drake connected the most with the audience during this portion of the concert, as he described his unyielding love of D.C. and reminisced about his favorite memories in the city.
Drake’s praise of Washingtonians was interjected between a string of his most popular songs, such as “In My Feelings.” The viral hit was accompanied by a video from Drake’s Instagram account.
The audience erupted as Drake performed a string of his biggest hits including “Controlla,” “Nice for What,” “One Dance” and “Work,” during which he was accompanied by dancers. Ending the concert on a high, Drake closed with “God’s Plan,” the most popular song from “Scorpion.”
Although the “Aubrey and the Three Amigos” tour implied Drake and Migos are on equal footing, the audience’s muted reaction to the “Three Amigos” reaffirmed Drake as the true superstar. Drake’s huge catalog of hits allowed him to put on a spectacle, even if the crowd was not familiar with all 25 tracks of “Scorpion.”