We Are S.M.E


[GIG REVIEW] Drake & J.Cole @ HMV Hammersmith Apollo 07/01/11 by wearesme

SME had been eagerly awaiting this date for quite some time. Friday 07th January 2011; Drake would perform his first ever show on U.K soil. It was Drizzy time.

The queue was, for lack of a better word, HENCH! Roughly 45 minutes later, we got through the doors and were greeted by the oh so welcoming and in no way irritating voice of Tim Westwood. The Big Dawg dropped a few big hip-hop beats to get the crowd in the mood.

Drake’s good friend J.Cole came along for moral support and it has to be said; he stole the show.

Appropriately opening the show with the track ‘Welcome’, taken from ‘The Warm Up’ mixtape; Cole brought real energy to the stage and went on to give an inspired ‘real hip-hop’ performance.

We felt his enthusiasm and energy; the crowd we’re loving every minute. And it was great to see an abundance of J.Cole fans in the crowd who sang along to every song. Quite the contrary to what he said when he took to the stage; ‘”most of you are probably thinking who the f**k is this guy”. Give yourself some more credit son!

In his 30 minute set, J.Cole performed a few older tracks along with fan favourites from the brilliant ‘Friday Night Lights’ mixtape. The 2 stand out tracks from the performance and those which had the crowd buzzing were inevitably ‘In The Morning’ (for which sadly Drake didn’t appear to perform his verse) and ‘Higher’. You can see footage of both below.


J.Cole gained a lot of new fans after this polished performance. And for those who are already big fans like SME; he only further reaffirmed the opinion that he may well justify the title that some have given him as ‘The saviour of Hip-Hop’. Now he’s signed to Roc Nation, there is no limit to what he can achieve. Here’s to real Hip-Hop!


And so, as J.Cole signed off it was half an hour until the main attraction. Or so we thought. Over an hour later, with nothing but conversation to keep us occupied (where’s Westwood when you need him), Drake took to the stage after a brief ‘warm up’ from DJ Future The Prince.

Opening the show with the massive ‘Forever’ went some way to making up for keeping us waiting! The crowd weren’t so much hyped but relieved that Drizzy was finally in the building; queue a sea of phones and cameras.

What followed, although enjoyable, was slightly bizarre. Amongst a few bangers like ‘Show Me A Good Time’ and ‘Fancy’, Drizzy chose to perform a series of his feature verses from other artists tracks.
In normal circumstances an artist would perform one of their popular features and bring out the other person as a surprise. Or in some cases; if the other artist wasn’t about, have the video playing on a screen so as to hear the rest of the track. But Drake chose to do neither and performed just his verses from the likes of ‘Bedrock’, ‘Whats My Name’ (below) ‘Maybach Music’ and more, which would have lasted no longer than a minute each.

Why he chose to do this and not perform some of the brilliant tracks he has in his back catalogue from his massive mixtape ‘So Far Gone’ and even ‘Comeback Season’ would only suggest that his aim for his live show was to ride on his recent commercial success keeping the new fans happy.

That said his performance of ‘Over’ was one to remember and had us and the rest of the Apollo hyped. Starting a song off with fireworks always helps! Check it out below.

In another attempt at wooing the ladies in the crowd, which from the endless screams he was doing just fine, Drake performed a rendition of Bruno Mars’ smash hit ‘Nothin On You’.

Don’t let our grievances miss-lead you; Drake still put on a great show. As massive fans, SME were just disappointed at the lack of older material, having only performed 2 tracks from ‘So Far Gone’ in favour of more commercially popular tracks, even if they were just features.

Following the show, a friend of ours summed it up perfectly. “That’s Drake the RnB artist” he said. I guess we were hoping for more of Drake the rapper.

To those who went to the gig; let us know your thoughts, it would be interesting to hear what you have to say!

SME x


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