These on the lookout for a Verzuz battle or a Watch the Throne—type collaborative present through which the 2 carried out collectively and served as one another’s hypemen had been most likely disillusioned. Though it was billed as a Kanye West present with Drake as a particular visitor, the hype that constructed after Houston rap impresario J. Prince received the 2 to bury the hatchet within the identify of liberating Hoover and bringing peace to hip-hop made for some weighty expectations.

What we received as an alternative had been particular person victory laps from two of essentially the most profitable artists hip-hop has ever seen. West used his time to showcase a facet the general public hasn’t seen in years by packing his set with the classics that made him a generational expertise. He tore by way of “Jesus Walks,” “All Falls Down,” “Gold Digger,” “Contact the Sky,” “Stronger” and “The entire Lights” earlier than developing for air as plumes of smoke, blue lights and projected photos of swirling water enveloped the stage and made him seem as if he was floating within the heavens above the viewers.

For these of us who've grown annoyed by all of the posturing and preaching and wrestle to reconcile our love of “Previous Kanye” with the methods through which he’s shifted as a cultural determine, it was disarming to see West actually shut up and play the hits with fervor. And he didn’t let up as he ran by way of highlights from his groundbreaking catalog that reminded us why he’s captivated audiences for near twenty years now. There have been no references to the turmoil of his private life or the controversies which have adopted him; the one nod to what’s happening in his world got here throughout a efficiency of “Runaway” through which he made a young plea for Kardashian, who filed for divorce earlier this 12 months, to return again to him.

Kanye West and Drake carry out on the Los Angeles Coliseum on December 9.Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

Drake, however, largely targeted on the now. His brief set was primarily devoted to his newest chart-topping album Licensed Lover Boy, which by itself was considerably hilarious, on condition that the album intensified their beef with subliminal disses. Although they didn’t really do any information collectively, they lined one another throughout their respective units—with West singing a take of “Discover Your Love,” which he helped write and produce for Drake’s debut, and Drake providing a shifting rendition of Donda observe “24.”

Thursday’s spectacle most likely gained’t carry Hoover any nearer to freedom, nor did it supply any perception into whether or not this was a real reconciliation. Nonetheless, watching two rap kings command over 70,000 followers on a cold December night in L.A. with a festivity of their particular person greatness was a a lot wanted second of escapism at a time when hip-hop has skilled far an excessive amount of tragedy and darkness.

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