–The fine levied on the Toronto Raptors by the NBA after Drake, the team’s “global ambassador,” gave an on-stage welcome to Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant at last weekend’s OVO Fest. (Durant was apparently in attendance.) Drake’s offense, according to the CBC, was “tampering with a player under contract.”
The rap superstar has amassed a flock of musical disciples who guest on his albums, record on his label and perform at OVO Fest, his annual hip-hop blowout, which takes place this year on August 3 and 4. Here, a taxonomy of Drake’s most prolific protégés.
In this Civic Holiday edition of The Weekender, two giant music festivals, a nice walk and three other things to do in Toronto this weekend.
Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade
Formerly known as Caribana, the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade has an awkward name now, but it’s otherwise the same as it ever was: massive, loud, crowded and (weather permitting) deathly hot. Anyone willing to brave the discomforts associated with the event will be rewarded, though. The flamboyant costumes and elaborate floats are unlike anything else Toronto’s festival season has to offer, and the excitement of the largely Caribbean crowd is contagious. Aug. 2. FREE, or $20 for a bleacher seat. Exhibition Place and Lake Shore Blvd., torontocaribbeancarnival.com
Cabana Pool Bar, Charles Khabouth’s Vegas-style oasis in the Port Lands, is a star-studded playground for the buxom, Botoxed and booze-soaked. Here, a look at the wildest, most orgiastic antics to date
On Tuesday, Billboard revealed that the name of Drake’s still-unrecorded next album will be Views From the 6—and then confusion set in. Unlike the rapper’s previous album titles, which have been intelligible if slightly cryptic (Take Care, Nothing Was the Same), this one is so open to interpretation that even Billboard didn’t know quite what to make of it. And that’s despite a preponderance of evidence that it’s just a sly reference to the last digit in Toronto’s area code.
Even so, not everyone is convinced.
What’s one of the best things to do in Toronto this summer? If you can, get out of Toronto. See the world. Find another city’s heat and construction and transit problems to keep you occupied—preferably a city that’s got a globally recognized art gallery or museum or horse race or something. Of course, if you find yourself stuck in the city all season, that’s okay: there’s a lot going on here that, if you squint your eyes and hold your nose (and sometimes, even if you don’t do either) could actually be comparable to all the world-class things you’d find elsewhere. You want art? We’ve got some! Ancient Chinese artifacts? You know it. Exotic fish? Sure, that too. We’re not suggesting you tear up your plane tickets or anything. But we do think that this summer, Toronto might just be able to compete with the big boys. Here, a brief guide to just some of what’s exceptional in this city—and how it stacks up against other big-ticket events around the world.
After Drake‘s famous pants de-linting episode during game two of the Toronto Raptors’ playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, this was inevitable. According to the Star, fans at tonight’s game five, at the ACC, will have their pick of two different lint-roller giveaways. There will be 1,200 official OVO/Raptors-branded rollers from Bounce, and IKEA has announced that it will be handing out some lint rollers of its own. Even deputy mayor Norm Kelly is hip to this emerging lintlessness fad, so popular with the youth.
— Norm Kelly (@DMayorKelly) April 30, 2014
And so, no matter the outcome of tonight’s game, the loser will be lint.
After all the Toronto Raptors publicity stunts we’ve seen during the past few days, this 10-second clip of Drake meticulously de-fuzzing his pants at Tuesday night’s Raps-versus-Nets playoff game seems to have finally done the trick. The internet is laughing at the rapper’s fastidiousness (he’s so non-threatening that even pet hair isn’t scared of him), but we totally get why he’d want to be lint-free. The cred of an entire sports empire is in those pants.
UPDATE: The video we originally embedded has been removed from YouTube. This new one is zoomed-out, but Drake is still visible in the background. Or, check out this giant animated GIF.
Drake is now the second Tononto-area music superstar to have recently been taken to court over an alleged assault in Toronto—the difference being that he, unlike Justin Bieber, isn’t the one who supposedly administered the beating. The story, according to the Globe, goes like this:
In August 2012, a man named Akiel Catwell was at Muzik Nightclub, a late-night venue at Exhibition Place, for an afterparty related to Drake’s annual OVOFest. After last call, Catwell claims he was walking outside with his girlfriend when he came across Waka Flocka Flame, the Atlanta-based rapper. Catwell’s girlfriend posed for a picture with Mr. Flame, and then, for reasons unclear, the rapper’s bodyguards beat Catwell into unconsciousness, breaking three of his teeth in the process. (The details of the beating haven’t been proven in court.)
Now, Catwell is suing not only Waka Flocka Flame, but also Drake, OVO Inc., and Muzik, for $4.8 million—a sum Drake’s lawyer has called “grossly excessive.” To be clear, Drake isn’t alleged to have been anywhere near the beating; his only connection to the incident is that the night’s entertainment happened to be related to his festival.
This is only the latest in a string of newsworthy happenings at Muzik over the past few months. The nightclub has become known as a favourite hangout of Rob Ford’s. (For those keeping track, that’s Bieber, Drake, and Ford in one article: the Toronto clickbait trifecta.) Also, its owner, Zlato Starkovski, was instrumental in persuading Exhibition Place’s board to ban electronic dance music events in city-owned buildings on the Ex grounds, leaving Muzik as the only sizeable EDM venue in the area.
When hip-hop and NBA stars want a good time, they call party queen Mona Halem. Inside a decadent world of $700 champagne, secret guest lists and hordes of beautiful women
On a Monday night last August, half the hip-hop world showed up unannounced in Toronto: Lil Wayne, P. Diddy, Kanye West, Big Sean, French Montana, Mase, TLC. All had agreed to perform as surprise guests at Drake’s annual concert, OVO Fest, which, like all things Drake, has become wildly successful. The ability to produce a roster of acts that reads like a fantasy Grammy lineup speaks to Drake’s clout, but the secrecy involved presented a practical problem: with no advance notice, nobody had organized an after-party. For this group of career ballers, it was a rare case of all blinged out and nowhere to go. Even Drizzy, who lives in Toronto for at least part of the year, was at a loss. Then someone suggested the obvious: call Mona.
Despite being nominated in five different categories—Album of the Year, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Album, and twice for Best Rap Song—hometown hero and occasional sketch comedian Drake didn’t win a single trophy at last night’s Grammy Awards ceremony. The rapper’s scourge was Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who dominated the hip-hop categories. Album of the Year went to Daft Punk for Random Access Memories.
And so Drake’s 2013 Best Rap Album Grammy remains all by itself on his mantel. Canadians can take some solace in the fact that Michael Bublé won Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album—again. Oh, and Blue Ivy got a new gold sippy cup for some reason.
Drake’s appearance on the January 18th edition of Saturday Night Live was pretty great. The rapper proved that he has comic timing, he demonstrated a willingness to make fun of himself, and he even managed to get in a couple of solid musical numbers between bits. Because Toronto loves him, here’s a rundown of the five best moments from the show.
1. His bar-mitzvah rap
“Jewish rapper becomes a star” sounds like the synopsis of a terrible Mel Brooks movie, but here we are. Drake’s opening monologue included a sketch with him as a bar-mitzvah boy, dressed appropriately in an ill-fitting vest and bow tie. (You can watch the sketch here.) Almost nobody else in hip hop could get away with this much self-parody, and the nod to Drake’s heritage was genuinely heartwarming. Smart, unathletic Jewish kids have never had a role model like this before.
Anyone hoping for Drake to double down on the self-deprecation with a wheelchair-Jimmy parody would have been disappointed, though: aside from a couple brief mentions, his days on Degrassi: The Next Generation weren’t much of a factor in the night’s sketches.
What is it about Drake? His touch turns shoes into eBay gold, and he manages to exude pure, industrial-grade likability even when he’s pretending to be self-pitying. Proof of the latter is in this promo video, released today by NBC ahead of the rapper’s appearance on the January 18 edition of Saturday Night Live, where he’ll be both the host and the musical guest. The key moment comes about one minute in, when Bobby Moynihan (known in Canada for this bit of Fordery) asks Drake to show off the acting chops he famously honed during his years on Degrassi: The Next Generation. ”No, you broke my heart,” Drake says, in a choked-sounding voice. “And now I’m reduced to the saddest boy in all of Toron— You know what? Not even Toronto. I am the saddest boy in all of Canada.” So there you have it: he can play against type.