All eyes were on Drake as he headlined his first Coachella on Sunday night. And the rap god didn’t disappoint, closing out the three-day festival with a bang.
While Drizzy popped his Coachella cherry last year (he joined Jhené Aiko during her set), it marked his first time as a headliner following rap royalty including Jay Z, Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and most recently, OutKast. In honor of the occasion, he pulled out all the stops, including a kissing cameo from a pop queen.
Hitting the stage at 10:40 p.m., he opened with a monologue about balancing sanity as he smokes and drinks. “I’m not losing it though,” he says in the manifesto. “I’m just venting.” Then the title of his short film “Jungle” flashed across the giant monitors.
Rocking a red-hooded bomber jacket, he kicked things off with “Legend” off his chart-topping mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. The crowd chanted the lyrics in unison and continued that sentiment for the Hit-Boy-produced “Trophies.”
The stage, minimally adorned with smoke and spotlights (before the pyrotechnics and scenery arrived), focused on Drake as he remained animated bar-for-bar.
“I’ma tell you why tonight is different,” he said, launching into a story about a conversation he had with his mother prior to Coachella. At Mama Graham’s request: “Aubrey, you know I love you, but I need a favor. I need you to go on that Coachella stage tonight and I need you to kill that muthaf**ka.” Drake then added, “I’m not asking to change your life tonight, I’m just trying to be a part of it.”
The 28-year-old breezed through his expansive catalog—from early gems to fan favorites like “Headlines,” “The Motto,” and “Crew Love” off 2011’s Take Care. On the latter, he shouted out the track’s collaborator (and last night’s headliner), The Weeknd, but didn’t bring him out to perform.
Drake kept the audience interaction high, interjecting in between songs to ask who has been riding with him since the beginning and who is riding with him now.
He glazed over his cameos on songs like ILoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday,” YG’s “Who Do You Love?,” Big Sean’s “Blessings,” and Nicki Minaj’s “Truffle Butter,” among others. Thirty minutes into the set, the stage faded to black, illuminating after a few minutes for “Marvin’s Room.” The stage became a mythical forest, complete with a bonfire, as he ushered in “Madonna,” literally, as the Queen of Pop strut out to perform “Human Nature” and “Hung Up” in a “Big as Madonna” shirt. As Drake remained seated, Madge walked over and kissed him on the mouth in a steamy display.
“Bitch, I’m Madonna,” she told the crowd before walking away, as a dumbfounded Drake responded, “Oh shit, what the fuck just happened?”
Madonna exited in time for singing Drake to arrive, with “Find Your Love” and “Hold On, We’re Going Home” executed in near perfect pitch. He upped the energy for “All Me,” closing it with an a capella of Big Sean’s verse. After taking a moment to shout out his team (P. Reign finally made it across the border), the momentum continued into “Know Yourself” (which he dedicated to California) and “HYFR.” A battle for the loudest side of the crowd was soundtracked by “Started From the Bottom.”
“I had a great time tonight,” he said, closing his hour-plus set how it started—with a “Legend” reprise amidst fireworks.
Drake Coachella Set List
“We Made It”
“Who Do You Love?”
“Human Nature” (Madonna)
“Hung Up” (Madonna)
“Find Your Love”
“Hold On, We’re Going Home”
“Started From the Bottom”