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A recap of Drake's Jan. 21 and 22 performances at New York's Apollo Theather

Started At The Bottom, Now He's Here: Inside Drake's NYC Apollo Show

Justin and Hailey Bieber were among the celeb attendees.

by Celina Khorma
Originally Published: 
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If you're reading this, it isn't too late. Drake showed up and showed out at Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theater for one-of-a-kind performances on Jan. 21 and 22. For his first show in five years, the certified lover boy partnered with Sirius XM’s Sound 42 to throw it back to his Toronto roots and play the hits that got him where he is today (think: “Best I Ever Had,” “Over,” “HYFR (Hell Ya F*cking Right,” and more classics from Drake’s hometown, aka the 6).

The Jan. 21 show was a night for his OG fans. As the lights dimmed, Drake appeared onstage in his rawest element: sitting in a replica of his childhood bedroom (the one in his mom’s Toronto basement) while rocking a Degrassi jersey beside sheets of paper, presumably an ode to his early songwriting days. Instantly, the crowd ate up the first few beats of his recognizable hit “Over My Dead Body,” which he followed with two more bangers, “Wu-Tang Forever” and “Trust Issues.” “I’d like to take you on a little journey tonight. If that’s okay,” Drake told the crowd, which included celebs like Justin and Hailey Bieber, Ice Spice, and A$AP Ferg.

After a quick set change, Drake then emerged in a cold, corporate boardroom. “Drake,” he said, introducing himself to a suited white man who chortled and snidely replied, “That’s right. The rapper from Canada?” Precisely. Drake then hit the crowd with “Best I Ever Had” and “Over.” But the night wasn't just dedicated to nostalgia. “This is what got us here,” Drake told fans before proceeding to perform “Know Yourself,” “One Dance,” “God’s Plan,” “Way 2 Sexy,” and other hits from his 2022 album Honestly, Nevermind.

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Of course, it wouldn’t have been an epic return to the stage without more surprises. About halfway through the show, Drake appeared in a legendary pink mink coat as he stood in front of a replica of a bodega. Moments later, Cam’ron of Dipset joined him for “I Really Mean It,” “Dipset Anthem,” and “We Fly High (Ballin’).” Dipset then honored Drake with a *very* icy custom OVO x Dipset bracelet. “These guys right here from Harlem made us dress different, talk different, walk different, rap different all the way in Canada,” Drake said.

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The bodega set extended itself to more surprise performances. After a fake voice note begged for 21 Savage to emerge, one thing was clear: the party was nowhere near over. The rapper then hit the stage to join Drake for “Rich Flex,” “Jimmy Cooks,” and more favorites, a sensible guest considering they dropped their joint album Her Loss in 2022. While onstage, suggestions of a 2023 tour were definitely made. “I’ll be out and about on the road this year, so I hope to see some of the same faces,” Drake said, teasing at what’s to come.

Throughout his Apollo set, it was evident Drake performs with nothing but love for his career and the fans that have supported him since day one. Between songs, he acknowledged his loyal followers and let them know there’s plenty more to come. In other words? It’s far from over. “I hope I can strike up some more emotions for you, maybe this year,” Drake said. “I might get bored and make another one. Who knows?”

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