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Home » The Scene

The second coming of Canada’s rap Christ

Submitted by on November 16, 2011 – 12:22 pmNo Comment

It’s Monday Nov. 14. It’s been pouring rain off and on all day, yet several hundred people patiently wait under the watchful eye of Toronto‘s finest for Drake to arrive. The moment comes when two black SUVs pull in front of a music store on Queen Street. As the doors open a bank of TV cameras emerge from the store and shrieks can be heard escaping the crowd.

He enters the store followed closely by the throng of cameras until reaching the stairs to his final destination, the autograph table. Drake’s management begins to let weary, some soaked but still enthusiastic, fans fortunate enough to get a wristband into the store for their chance to meet Drake and have their copy of his sophomore offering Take Care signed.

I got to witness first hand this day why Drake, a relative newcomer to the music game, is beloved. Unlike other meet and greets I’ve done, where artists interact with fans like an assembly line and do no more than 500 signings in two hours – three max, Drake spends time with each and every person in line to the tune of 7.5 hours with one 15-minute break.

As fans leave the autograph table and head for the exit, there’s a wide range of emotions that blow me away: Girls and guys alike have Cheshire grins on their faces as they look at their autographed memorabilia in hand; some break out in tears of joy; other shake and tremble as they exit the store.

I’ve done many meet and greets, but this one definitely goes down in the record books for a few reasons. Firstly, as the longest one ever; second because even though his album Take Care was leaked online almost two weeks early, the fans who showed up had not just pre-ordered one copy, some had two or three copies. Now in the digital age of downloading that is true fan loyalty if I’ve ever seen it.

The most interesting moment of the night was when a young girl got down on one knee and presented Drake with a red rose and then asked for his hand in marriage. Not to be outdone, another girl gave Drake a bra with writing on it, which I’m guessing was probably her number and/or email. The most thoughtful gift of the evening was when a fan presented him with a painting he had done of Drake.

Photos courtesy ftfphotography and story by Tee Onek

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