No rapper spends more time glamorizing their come-up than Drake. So it was all the more perplexing that the Ontario-born R&B impresario disavowed Drake's Homecoming: The Lost Footage, the IMAX documentary focusing on his 2009 show at Toronto's Sound Academy.
To date, Drizzy hasn't specified why exactly he's distanced himself from the project. Co-executive producer Mark Berry told Rolling Stone he thinks it's a case of Drake having "sour grapes" over losing creative control, but that's a biased claim. The YMCMB crooner claimed he's trying to #protectthefans, but what about the 120-minute retrospective is so dangerous?
If you were one of the 15 (Ed. note: Fucking fifteeeeen) people who caught the one-night-only showing at the AMC Southdale last night, you may have some educated guesses.
1) Fathom Events put on an awful show
The scheduled start time for Drake's Homecoming was 7:30 p.m. As with all movies, the feature presentation didn't begin at the advertised time, but, instead of trailers, the lead-in consisted of a dizzying promo reel that ran through twice, a mood-killing round of Drake trivia (did you know Noah "40" Shabib was in The Virgin Suicides?!), and three quick previews of upcoming Fathom shows (did you know Brendan Fraser and Bill Paxton have a movie coming out on The History Channel?!). All were painstakingly mundane.
This went on for 40 minutes. By the time Drake's performance came on screen, the crowd (again, 15 people) was audibly annoyed.
2) The production quality is garbage
Drake's Homecoming is not fit for IMAX. The shots are shaky, grainy, and clipped together with spastic cuts. Audience members frequently bob into the foreground. The crowd's energy is edited out of the speakers, and Drake sounds like he's rapping a capella in his deadened bathroom. Then there's the editing.
The documentary has a hard time figuring out whether it's a rock doc or a concert film. Every song transitions into an interview with Rap-A-Lot Records CEO J. Prince and his son, Jas, where the same song Drake just performed plays in the background. The stupidity is mesmerizing -- you get so caught up in the deja entendu that you lose all focus on what the Princes are saying. This contributes to the vacuum of momentum created by the show and the interviews constantly interrupting each other.
3) The interviews add nothing
There is one "oh shit" moment in Drake's Homecoming, and it's when Jas Prince is talking about when he first tried to sell Lil Wayne on Drake. According to Prince, Lil Wayne told him that Drake sucked and instructed him to never make him listen to his music again. There's also a pretty funny anecdote he tells about a crowd yelling for Jimmy (Drake's character from DeGrassi: The Next Generation) at a show, but aside from these two moments, there's nothing worth taking away from the storytellers.
Bun B, who performed in the original show with Drake, is an inordinately large part of Drake's Homecoming. He speaks at length, mostly spouting nonsense about how Drake loves using Blackberry phones, and offering no discernible insight. A DVD rip of an interview with Baby -- who ostensibly has a better relationship with Drake than B or with Prince -- is spliced in with kindergarten quality, but no one from the Young Money crew (much less Drake himself) is heard from. Instead, we get heaps of Bun B, a guy who spit 16 bars next to Drake one time six years ago.
Furthermore, the elder Prince is excruciating to listen to. He drones on slowly and without deliberation, repeating the same farcical stories. It's like listening to your drunk grandpa fall asleep in the middle of a war story only to wake up and start all over again. Thankfully, he gets the least face time of the three.
4) Drake's performance is embarrassingly bad
Drake's not one to worry about embarrassment -- the dude has an Aaliyah tattoo and constantly raps verses to his mother -- but even he has to be ashamed of the show he put on that night in 2009. With the underdeveloped, underwhelming If You're Reading This It's Too Late dropping under scrupulous circumstances last month, the last thing Drizzy needed was to release another flop in the first quarter.
The sound mixing is poor, but even a technically perfect recording wouldn't have saved Drake's voice. His singing (save for "Brand New," which he performs with AutoTune) is cringe-worthy -- he can't muster a listenable note even when he's just riffing over an outro. He gives away all the dramatic choruses to the crowd, limply venturing a syllable or two during "Best I Ever Had" before giving up on trying to recreate the album quality.
Beyond that, Future's jagged DJing torpedoes the mood at every turn. He cuts the beat out at inopportune times, clearly pissing off Drake with his bumbling instincts. For some reason, many of the backing tracks he plays have studio vocals laid over them, and Drake is forced to awkwardly rap over his own cuts. It sounds like he's live ad-libbing his own bars. The result is an abject failure, creating a morbidly odd situation where the Grammy-winning rapper/singer is actually upstaged by MP3s of himself. And that's when he's performing his own material -- the situation is even worse when he karaokes his mentor, Lil Wayne.
Weezy's songs make up roughly a third of the material performed on Drake's Homecoming. Drake even closes out the encore with a rendition of Tunechi's turn on Young Money's "Every Girl."
Let's run that back. Music's ambassador to Toronto Aubrey Graham, in his first show back in his hometown after the breakout success of So Far Gone, closes the show by rapping a verse that isn't even his own. Based upon that moment alone it makes sense why Drake wanted the footage to stay lost.
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