Drake Delivers with Club Paradise Tour (Exclusive Photos and Videos)

Drake stops the show to thank his fans

By: Pedro Heizer

Tickets to the much anticipated Club Paradise Tour were on high demand as the Toronto rhymer’s tour hit Tallahassee this past weekend. The only thing you could hear around the city entire weekend was about the Club Paradise Tour.

As I sat at a Chili’s restaurant before the concert, I began talking to Jennifer Capanado, a fan of Drake since the days when he stared as the basketball-playing, wheelchair-bound Jimmy Brooks on the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation.  “This has been the biggest thing to hit Tallahassee in a long time,” she told me “My friends and I have been waiting for this stop on the tour since he announced it.”

Drake didn’t do it alone, joining him on stage were up and comers Kendrick Lamar, A$SAP Rocky, and Chase N Cashe.

Up first in to the stage was Chase N Cashe. The New Orleans rapper took stage and preformed songs out of his latest mixtape, The Heir Up There.

Following Chase N Cashe was Harlem’s own A$AP Rocky and his crew. A$ASP preformed some of his most popular songs which included Pretty Flocko, Peso, Purple Swag, and Trilla.

Drake's Set-List for the Night

Kendrick Lamar was up next and although he had a quick show, it was very good in its own right. Kendrick came on after Chase N Cashe and A$AP Rocky and preformed his hits Hol’ Up, ADHA, P&P 1.5, She Needs Me, and HiiiPower.

After a 15 minute wait, Drake himself took stage with a standing ovation by the sellout crowd. Drake opened the concert with his song Lord Knows which sounded fantastic with the live instrumentals.

The instrumentals, to me, were what made the show go to a different level. There is so much talk nowadays that going to a rap concert is a waste of money because they rapper isn’t nowhere near as good live as he is in the record. Well, Drake proved that statement to be false.

Unlike most rap concert where there is only a DJ and the rapper simply raps over his song, Drake had a live band with him and that made the difference between an average rap concert and a rap concert that will be talked about for months to come.

Drake played most of his hits, songs like I’m On One, Crew Love, Shot For Me, Forever, Marvin’s Room, Take Care, Miss Me, Make Me Proud, HYFR and Headlines were some of the songs the Toronto superstar performed to a sellout crowd.

Drake’s stage presence was undeniable, the rapper was so comfortable up there and it showed.

Drake may rap that all he cares about is money and the city that he’s from, but his fans also hold a special place in his heart.

Drake address the crowd at the after party at LIT Nightclub

Halfway through the show, Drake stops the music and thanks his fans “Without you guys, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. Thank You,” he said. He proceeded to go from the right side of the stage to the left, and the center and pointed out some fans screaming his name.

Not only that, but instead of having his tour on bigger venues and getting more money, he decided to play in college arenas around the country. “I fought for this tour, I fought really hard for this tour because, of course, they want me to go get the big bucks, go into the stadiums and cash out,” Drake revealed about the decision to play more intimate shows. “But I was just like, I really made this album for the same people that supported me since day one.”

Drake closed the show with his hit Headlines and once he was done, he went to the center of stage and talked about how he will be unlike all the other rappers that have two or three albums and fall off the face of the planet. “I promise you this, I will rap until the day I can’t anymore”.

Check out these videos of the performances:

Check out the photos below:


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Drake’s Club Paradise Tour kicked off with a bang on Valentine’s Day in Miami

By: Pedro Heizer

If Thank Me Later was Drake experiencing fame for the first time, Take Care is about handling its repercussions. With collaborations with Chantal Kreviazuk, The Weeknd, Jamie Smith of The xx, and even Stevie Wonder, Take Care shows that the Toronto rhymer’s mind state is expanding.

Drake’s long awaited Club Paradise Tour kicked off with a bang on Valentine’s Day in Miami and will now circle 17 cities with stops in colleges across the U.S., before wrapping up on March 11 in San Diego.

The tour name pays tribute to a track Drake dropped back in September titled Club Paradise, which is a club in his hometown of Toronto.

During the tour, Drake will be joined by MCs Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky, two up-and-coming MCs.

“I want to bring Kendrick, I want to bring A$AP, those are guys that I love,” Drake said in a statement. “I just sort of showcased the music that I happen to love right now, and those are the two guys that I’m bringing out.”

Drake may rap that all he cares about is money and the city that he’s from, but his fans also hold a special place in his heart.

He loves his fans so much that his upcoming tour will have a more intimate feeling to it. The tour will be played in more quaint arenas such as the BankUnited Center in Miami and the Bridgestone Arena in Tennessee instead of large arenas like the American Airlines Arena and Madison Square Garden, “I fought for this tour, I fought really hard for this tour because, of course, they want me to go get the big bucks, go into the stadiums and cash out,” Drake revealed about the decision to play more intimate shows. “But I was just like, I really made this album for the same people that supported me since day one.”

Take Care, Drake’s highly anticipated sophomore album was released back in November and has been one of the most talked about albums since.

People might criticize Drake by saying he always talks about emotional subjects and call him “soft” but this is the Drake that fans everywhere have been waiting to hear; a genuine artist with real feelings and who is not afraid to show them.

“I think people obviously have misconceptions about me, one being that I’m always emotional and depressed,” says Drake. “But that’s a goal for me; I want to make connected music. I don’t want to be a disconnected artist. My goal with this album was to tell more of the story. I want to give more vivid details of this journey from anonymity to fame.”

Drake is one of the best when it comes to conjoining many moods is what Drake does best. He can put arrogance, sadness, tenderness and self-pity into one vast emotional blanket.

Drake grew up in Forest Hill, a section of Toronto and has been living in the spotlight since 2001. As a 14 year old, he stared as the basketball-playing, wheelchair-bound Jimmy Brooks on the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation. In 2006, he released his first mixtape, Room for Improvement and soon after he joined Lil Wayne’s Young Money crew.

By 2009, his third mixtape, So Far Gone, and an avalanche of high-profile cosigns had made him one of rap’s elite stars, all before he had even signed a record deal. He has lived what could be called a charmed life, but he insists that experience doesn’t set him apart.

Take Care is an album filled with emotion, and meaning. There was a reason why Drake named this album “Take Care”, because even though Drake has all the fame one can possibly obtain, he still takes care with the people around him. The message Drake ultimately wants to send with Take Care is “Just that I kept my word that I’m getting better, that I haven’t lost myself,” states the Canadian rapper-singer.

 

Drake Delivers another hit with Take Care

If Thank Me Later was Drake experiencing fame for the first time, Take Care is about handling its repercussions. With collaborations with Chantal Kreviazuk, The Weeknd, Jamie Smith of The xx, and even Stevie Wonder, Take Care shows that the Toronto rhymer’s mind state is expanding.

Tracks like “Lord Knows”, “Look What You’ve Done”, and “Over My Dead Body” are 4 AM confessionals mixing depth and intrigue.

“Make Me Proud”, “Headlines”, and “Marvin’s Room” are some of Drake’s most affecting statements to date, and new tracks with Rihanna (“Take Care”), Rick Ross (“Lord Knows”), and Young Money boss Lil Wayne (“The Real Her”) send Take Care into Album of the Year consideration.

People might be disappointed with the album, and might even criticize Drake by saying he always talks about emotional subjects and call him “soft” but this is the Drake that fans everywhere have been waiting to hear; a genuine artist with real feelings and who is not afraid to show them.

You need to understand, conjoining many moods is what Drake does best. He can put arrogance, sadness, tenderness and self-pity into one vast emotional blanket.

“Over My Dead Body” opens the album with a grandiose ode to fame, power and money, complete with the kind of poignant pianos and plaintive backing vocals from Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk.

In the upbeat title track “Take Care”, Jamie Smith of the U.K. band “The xx” lays down house-music pianos, ice sheets of guitar and a sample from R&B radical Gil Scott-Heron as Drake and Rihanna do their laid-back, realist appraisal of the love game: “When you’re ready, just say you’re ready,” he reassures. Is it going to work out? Maybe, but like most hopeless romantics, Drake favors the illusion of infinite promise over the reality anyway.

“We live in a generation of not being in love,” he says over Stevie Wonder’s harmonica on “Doing It Wrong.” This verse is as close as Take Care gets to a message for our times.

In “Look What You’ve Done”, Drake hits the piano bar for a little sentimental soul balladry that pours out thanks for the support of his mom, his aunt and even his estranged dad. He looks back at his pre-fame days when he “was just another kid in a drop top Lexus hopin’ that I don’t get arrested.” To top it all off, at the end of the song his grandma comes on to thank him for keeping her living well in old age. Ah, Drake, sometimes it isn’t all about you, and we love you for knowing it.

He saves most of his flashy words, which, at their best, are still textbook crisp examples of craftsmanship, full of cunning double entendres for the track with Young Money C.E.O. Lil Wayne “HYFR” where Drake reminds us all how we need to go through hard times to see the good times, “She asked, what have I learned since getting richer?/I learned working with the negatives could make for better pictures”.

Drake has a connection with his fans because he raps about reallife, unlike many of the other rappers out there who just talk about how much money they have. Drake talks about broken hearts, failed relationships, and feeling unloved all of which can be heard on the track “Marvin’s Room” where Drake creates one of the most epic drunk-dial songs of all time.

In all, Take Care is an album filled with emotion, and meaning. There was a reason why Drake named this album “Take Care”, because even though Drake has all the fame one can possibly obtain, he still takes care with the people around him. Let’s face it, everyone is your friend after you rise to fame, but the question is, where were all these people when you were a lowly actor for a Nickelodeon teen show?

Take Care is one of the best albums of the year and if it’s not a nominee for Album of the Year, something is seriously wrong.

Jason Derulo delivers, but drops the ball in originality

R&B Artist Jason Derulo’s self titled album hit stores with a sound to appeal to the widest margin of listeners possible. He and producer J.R. Rotem created a product that has its eyes on the prize. However, with all the positives, there are also the negatives.

The album opens with Derulo’s mega-hit “Whatcha Say”. The first thing we hear is the infamous singing “Jason Deruloo” which personally annoys me a bit. The song is great, but I believe if he didn’t say his name in the beginning it would be even better. Also, the problem of unoriginality is evident in Jason’s part by taking a sampled chorus from Imogen Heap’s “Hide & Seek”. Also, Autotune effects are employed, but they are less overwhelming than we are accustomed to.

His next track, “Ridin’ Solo” has him singing about the great time he will have outclubbing alone now that he’s single. The song can be used as a song for young teens coming out of a break up or something of that sort. Nothing wrong with this track at all, on the contrary, this is one of my favorite tracks of the album.

After, comes the probably the most exicting song of the entire album. “In My Head” is a song that Jason sings as he sees a woman come out of the club with a man he knows is nothing like what she wants. In his head, he sees her all over him and the song shows a side of cockiness in Derulo’s part. The song is very upbeat but after you listen to it for about the 50th time on the radio you begin to get sick of it.

Derulo slows things down in his next song “The sky is the limit” to a limit that is almost unbearable. It sounds like some song Miley Cyrus would sing for a Disney Channel movie. And of course, the one thing I absolutely hate about this song is the infamous “Jason Deruloo” introduction that I think that will forever be inappropriate. Listen, we clearly know who you are… if we didn’t we wouldn’t buy your CD. We know you are Jason Derulo.

Derulo continues his ballad section of his CD with the song “What If” where Derulo his woman to consider the most optimistic future possible for the two of them.  From the opening piano keys, you can see where the track is going long before it gets there.  The song is wide in scope but lacks imagination.

“Love Hangover” is a song that from the get-go seems it would be much better if Usher was singing it. In the song, Derulo recalls a night in which he obviously does not regret.  I was not impressed by this song from the first time I heard it. This was one of the songs from the album that I would probably omit if I was the one making the CD.

Jason craves for more of what a young lady is offering on “Encore”.  The song is a sparingly obscure sexual metaphor, but the vagueness of the lyrics makes it suitable for countless spins on daytime radio.  “Strobelight” perfectly conjures a serene party vibe.  The atmosphere of the club oozes from the speakers.  The “snake charmer” keyboard riff and vocal effects have a hypnotic effect.  The title is self explanatory. “Encore” is one of my favorite songsin the album. The song, although being a metaphor, is upbeat and like I said before a song you probably will listen to at clubs for years to come.

Hand claps and acoustic guitars characterize the soundscape of “Fallen”.  The trip over your tongue drum rolls and percussion show clear southern rap influences.  Slight scratching sound effects offset the track nicely.  “Fallen” is admirable in how it combines the simplest elements from many genres into one seamless package.  Derulo, to me, is basically singing a part two of the song “What if” when he says, “Now I can’t predict what the future holds. But I’ll fight forever to keep you close” seems like the woman he asked for a future together denied him or asked him about how faithful he would become.

Although I enjoyed this album, Jason Derulo is like that shiny new sports car without much going on beneath the hood.  Its smooth sound and easy feel will keep club goers dancing and liquor pouring well into the AM hours.  Unfortunately, it offers very little true substance to offset its style.  Derulo’s reluctance to dig deep creates an impenetrable wall of superficiality that will turn off R&B purists looking for depth of emotion.

Kris Allen Album Review

American Idol winner Kris Allen released his self-titled album on November 17, 2009. Allen, a mixture of pop rock and alternative rock did a pretty solid job for a “post American Idol” debut album.  Allen did a great job in mixing it up with slow and up-beat songs. The only single to come from the album was “Live Like We Are Dying”, a song originally by an Irish band called The Script, Allen re-mastered the song and made it new, fresh, and exciting. The song got many positive reviews from many of the most prestigious critics.

One of Allen’s best songs of the album has to be “Can’t Stay Away”.  Kris Allen shows us he has “Swagger” as he ponders the advantages of going after a lady who he knows is going be all kinds of wrong. There’s a hint of Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want to Be” on the jangly guitar line. But in all, it’s a great song and it could have clearly been the album’s single.

Another song that draws interest in the album is “Alright With Me”, an exciting song that was written by Allen and Joe king from the band The Fray. One of the biggest disappointments of the album has to be the new version of the cover “Heartless”. During his American Idol run, Allen played an amazing acoustic version of the song that has officially become the original for many fans. Now, this new version has new techo beats in it, along with ”In the Air Tonight”-like drum fill and bass line that made it almost as bad as the original version made by Kanye West. The album also missed something that had become tradition between American Idol winners, the winning song. Yes, Allen did not put “No Boundaries” on the retail version of the Album.

In all, this album receives three stars out of five. Allen did a solid job, much better than any other “Idol Winners” before him, but I think the album lacked that authentic “Kris Allen” voice that we all grew accustomed to hearing on American Idol. But all-in-all, it was a solid debut album.