Jay-Z introduces 'future of hip hop'

08/06/10

Jay-Z

On his most recent album The Blueprint 3, Jay-Z raps, "Drake's up next, see what he do with it".

Of course, endorsements don't come much bigger than that.

That line on the track A Star Is Born is Jigga's acknowledgement that Young Money artist, Drake, is the real deal.

On Monday night (7 June) a near 13,000 capacity crowd at the MEN Arena in Manchester saw the Canadian dubbed the future of hip hop.

'Feels good'

It was 23-year-old Aubrey Drake Graham's first performance on UK soil as he, along with Mr Hudson, were the support acts for the Brooklyn star's mini UK tour.

Drake, whose debut album Thank Me Later, hits stores next week already has a string of monster singles behind him thanks to help from label boss Lil Wayne.

"Manchester it feels so good to be here," he said opening his 35-minute set with Forever. "I've been waiting a long time for this. I feel lost for words."

Wearing a white jumper, jeans and white trainers he then crashed into anthems like, Bedrock, Over and Best I Ever Had.

Drake
Image caption Drake played his first UK gig on Monday night supporting Jay-Z

Part of Drake's appeal is his ability to sing almost as well as he raps. That also seems to have earned him a loyal legion of females fans.

"They need to turn the lights in here so I can see the beautiful people of Manchester," he yells before belting out the latest single from his debut album, Find Your Love.

After thanking Jay-Z for giving him the opportunity to perform Drake promises the crowd he will be back - and given their reaction the rapper may well be the headline act the next time he's here.

One concert goer summed up what many believe: "Jay Z is still the man but give Drake four or five years and it (hip hop) will be his."

'Main event'

As for Jay Z he was onstage for a full hour and 30 minutes. Jigga now 40 breezed through 20 plus songs from his record breaking eleven number 1 album back catalogue.

Joining him on the night was fellow rapper and protege Memphis Bleek.

The best concert I've ever seen. Seeing him up there you would have never thought he was 40
A concert-goer

Drake stayed behind to watch and would have learnt a thing or two from the master showman.

Jay-Z gave a masterclass in crowd control. Showing off his latest trick, 'the Roc-wave'. Basically, a 'Mexican Wave' with screams instead of raised arms.

And upon orders he had fans throwing up their diamonds skywards.

Dirt Of Your Shoulder, Big Pimpin' and Encore drew the biggest cheers of the night.

But Jigga also paid homage to the Manchester crowd telling them he received most of the instrumentals for the Blueprint while he was in the city two years ago.

His Roc-Band consisting of a trumpet player, two saxophonists, a drummer, bass player, electric guitarist and keyboard player then ended the show in spectacular fashion with a melody of old hits including Hard Knock Life, Show Me What You Got and Jockin' Jay-Z.

Mr Hudson then helped closed the show as the pair performed Forever Young.

"The best concert I've ever seen. Seeing him up there you would have never thought he was 40," said one man as the show came to a close.

Jay-Z then continued his glowing praise for Drake urging fans to get the rappers album next week because, "it's good music - just my thoughts".