It's Friday, August 4th, 2017. I get a call from my bro Tyler, (T-Minus). "What's up bro? What are you up to?" The usual call where the convo consists of life updates, laughs, music, and more laughs. He mentions just before we hang up, "BTW, i got extra tickets to OVO on Monday, let me know if you wanna come. You're welcome to stay as long as you'd like." I met Tyler through Twitter back in 2011. The power of social media. I tweeted him, "Hey man, I play guitar, here's a remix I did over one of your beats. Please notice me." He replied & we exchanged info. Thrilled he responded to me, I remember 2 thoughts after reading his response.
1. "Maybe we'll work together & I'll record guitars on his beats!"
2. "Maybe he'll invite me to OVOFEST & we'll be VIP & I'll see drake perform his songs next him & we'll go backstage & meet Drake & we'll all be best friends!!!"
LOL, don't judge. I was excited. Drake's been one of my favorite artists ever since I heard "Say What's Real" on MySpace. A bit of background, T-Minus is a legendary producer from Toronto and has made several hits with Drake. Songs like "The Motto", "I'm On One", & "HYFR". So working with him was a dream come true for me & continues to be.
I remember buying last minute Drake tickets on Craigslist in 2010. I showed up to the venue with Jenny only to find out they were fake tickets! Spent $250 on them! We really thought we were seeing Drake that night.
Back to Friday night, 2017. I hang up. I start searching for flights to Toronto. "I'm staying for a month T." "lol, sure" "Kidding". I was playing for my Church's conference (ZOE) that weekend. The earliest flight i could find after conference was @ midnight (Monday), the day of OVOFEST. Conference ends, I pack up my stuff, & head to the airport. It'd been a good 3 years since i was last in Toronto. March 2014. The cold winter weather in that city had me shook, (pun intended). Some stand outs of that trip was feeling the love and embrace from his whole fam, eating the best cereal & food in the world, and of course making music with T. I was excited to experience all those things again during this trip. It's 10AM in Toronto now & my flight lands. I head straight to the Williams residence, nap for 3 hours, wake up & off to OVO we go. I couldn't be more pumped to hang with my bro & watch Drake perform in his city. "Here, wear this", T says. I'm handed VIP Family passes. I'm thinking, "Wow, this is really happening right now. I'm gonna watch drake perform on T-Minus' music while standing next to T-minus. Then we're going backstage. Then I'm meeting Drake. Then we're all going to be best friends and get an apartment together. THE END," right?
The lights go off. The crowd roars. The curtains fall. The crowd roars louder. The CN tower set lights up & The Boy is sitting at the edge of it just like the 'VIEWS' album cover. The crowd roars louder. "FREE SMOKE, FREE SMOKE, AYE"... The energy in that place was unreal! I actually lost our crew due to the huge stampede of people flocking to the VIP area. I literally can't move for the first 3 songs. I finally make my way to the crew. "SACRIFICES" starts playing. Wow, this is really happening right now. "BLEM". Wow, I'm really next to my boy right now. It was so cool to hype him up while his tune was being performed by Drake. A close friend at that. Nothing like cheering and celebrating your friends successes! The show ends & we start making our way back to the car. It was a night to remember. An AMAZING show. "Wait" Tyler says. "I wanna go back & say what's up to the guys." So back we go. But private security won't let us in. Event security won't let us in either. They're not letting anyone back in the venue. We come across a superior security to escort us through private security. Gate #2, they're not letting anyone in again but OB happens to be at the gate at the same time as us. "Them 2 as well, they're with me" OB says. (shout out OB). Gate #3, the last one. They're really not letting anyone here at this one. "The lounge is full" Security says despite Tyler ultimate access VIP pass. The greenrooms & lounge area is just through those doors over there. We casually hang around the area & chat with friends. Mainly all Tyler's friends. Finally, T comes across someone he knows & he let's us in. Persistence is key. We make our way into the greenroom/lounge and as soon as the door opens, i see Noah '40' Shebib. "40, this is Josh..." "Pleasure to meet you bro". We move through the area. The hallways in this place was LIT. Lights, music, people dancing, photos being taken. I lose Tyler for a minute and get stuck behind a Swae Lee & crew selfie, Moving through the narrow hallways, I catch up to T. He introduces me to Noel, Drake's engineer. T asks him "Is The Boy here? I wanna say what up". Noel answers "Yeah, he's in that room right here... go in." The door opens as a small group of people make their exit. We go in. I'm walking in behind Tyler. The room is quiet. The lights are dimmed medium-low. No music. ESPN is on the tv but on mute. Drake's there, sitting on this brown leather chair. Huge smile on his face as he gets up to greet Tyler. "Is that T? T Willy!". Huge hug, huge smiles on both faces.
Tyler then looks over at me & introduces me to Drake...
"This is my boy, Josh..."
Below are a few photos from OVOFEST & moments during my stay in Toronto.
(all photos were taken & edited by me using my iPhone 7+)