Drake’s OVO Fest Night 1: Perfectly On-Brand Nostalgia


Drake’s two-day OVO Fest kicked off last night with a major throwback to the early 2000s. Thousands packed inside of the Budweiser Stage in Toronto, ON last night while Ying Yang Twins, Mario, Lloyd, Bobby V, Pretty Ricky, and of course, B2K hit the stage and blessed fans across the country with a heavy dose of nostalgia. 

All the R&B acts on the Millenium tour had some sort of influence on the regional R&B sound that emerged with Drake. Needless to say, the love for early 2000s R&B is very real in the 6ix. 

Drake’s decision to adopt the Millenium tour for OVO Fest was met with mixed reactions. On one hand, there wasn’t a single Canadian date on the Millenium tour, but on the other, why would he essentially copy the tour and rebrand it as an OVO show? But much of the initial backlash he faced didn’t seem to come from anyone in Toronto. Drake’s infatuation with R&B music, stemming from his teenage years, has been very evident from the onset of his career. The “Toronto sound” that Drake and 40 introduced on So Far Gone and Thank Me Later were directly influenced by the slow-tempo, moody production from 2000’s era R&B music, modernized.

Thus, it was an on-brand move for Drake. Lest we forget, Drake’s been capitalizing off of nostalgia all year: from bringing So Far Gone to streaming platforms to dropping off Care Package just last week. Bringing B2K to OVO Fest is the next logical trek down memory lane.

More than anything, though, it also could be viewed as a major flex from Toronto’s most prominent figure. As Drake watched the sets from the sound booth, it was almost like he threw himself a personal concert and simply invited the rest of the city to enjoy it with him. And enjoy they did.

Drake's OVO Fest Night 1: Perfectly On-Brand Nostalgia
Photo via Norman Wong

Chingy, unfortunately, was a no-show, but Ying Yang Twins brought back the crunk era briefly during their very short set. Lloyd brought back classic records such as “You” while Bobby V had everyone singing along to the hooks of “Mrs. Officer” and “Pimpin’ All Over The World.” But it was Pretty Ricky’s performance of “Grind With Me” that really set things off among the female demographic.

The anticipation was real after all of the openers performed. Fans eagerly waited for Omarion, Boogz, Raz B, and J-Boog.

The group was introduced with a video montage before they came on stage, reminding everyone of their reign in the music industry in the mid-2000s. Once the group emerged on stage, they opened up with “Girlfriend” and proved that they haven’t lost any of their chemistry.

There was a downside to their performance, though. As much as everyone wanted to see B2K perform as a unit, it felt much more like an Omarion show with the three other group members assisting him. It makes sense, though. He is the only member from the group that actually managed to have a highly successful run after the group disbanded. But they still ran through the classics effortlessly before giving Omarion some time to shine on his own. He handled a few solo cuts as women screamed from all corners of the venue. What really stood out during the whole set was when Omarion performed “Bria’s Interlude” off of Drake’s So Far Gone. Given that it is OVO Fest, he would’ve been a fool not to perform that song. By the time Omarion capped off his mini-solo set, the group came out and closed out the show with “Bump Bump Bump” and had the whole city of Toronto lit. 

Tonight is the main event with the 6 God himself readying for the headlining slot. He already managed to have a wildly successful first day without touching the stage. Given that this is the first OVO Fest since 2017, Drake’s bound to have a few surprises up his sleeve.