Photo credit: Drai's Nightclub
Drai’s Nightclub at The Cromwell in Las Vegas continues to land the hottest talent in the hip-hop and rap game. Five-time Grammy winner Lil Wayne — aka Weezy, aka Lil Tunechi — made his Drai’s LIVE debut in a fire-spitting performance on Saturday, March 25th.
Drai’s Dirty Dancers and DJ Franzen, Drai’s resident DJ, warmed up an already-bumping crowd. Giving the 70,000+ square foot swanky rooftop club a throbbing pulse, Franny’s tracks are the rhythmic version of pre-game.
The indoor portion of the venue went dark, giving way to a blacklight aesthetic. “New Orleans in the building, hold up.” DJ T. Lewis — Young Money and Lil Wayne’s official tour DJ — was on the scene, and the crowd was ready for Mr. Carter.
“I want my day one Lil Wayne fans to make some f—kin’ noise right now,” commanded Franzen. The tightly-packed crowd obliged: they brought the noise.
“If you’re ready for the best rapper alive, Lil Wayne,” roared T. Lewis, “make some f—kin’ noise right now! Let’s go!”
Wayne strolled on stage minutes before two a.m., taking in the uninhibited screams of a just-exploded crowd. There’s a certain kind of camaraderie that comes with being squashed against a horde of strangers within the standing-room-only confines of a stage pit, with individual partygoers absorbed into one hulking, massive crowd operating purely on beat-fueled instinct — providing an energy easily fed on by Wayne.
Launching into “John,” Wayne set off into his portion of Drake’s “I’m Goin’ In” before addressing the crowd.
“That’s how the f—k you come out,” Wayne said, sharing his first few minutes on stage had him forget his woman troubles. “I f—k with y’all. Before I go any further, my name is Lil Tunechi” — like we didn’t know — “I am here on behalf of Young Money motherf—kin’ records, make some noise for your damn self.”
“Before I say anything else, I must let you know three important things about myself. Number one is, I know we all ain’t sh—t without the man above up, you dig. Number two is, I know that I ain’t sh—t without you, ain’t never been. Number three is very important. Ladies and gentlemen, if you ain’t never seen me live and you don’t remember sh—t about tonight, please remember number three: I. Ain’t. Sh—t. Without. You. Ya dig?”
The artist performed some of his biggest tracks, spitting out “A Milli,” “Rich As F—k” and “Love Me” before cheekily calling out the crowd: “Why y’all dressed so nice in Vegas? Y’all dress nice as f—k. Y'all make a n—gga feel weird. I had this sh—t on straight from the jet. I just finished arguing, I came straight on stage. F—k it.”
That “f—k it” attitude carried over to the rest of the lyrical poet’s set, kicked off with the hands-in-the-air “Go DJ,” with the exception of “Hustler Musik,” cut off by Wayne mid-song. “That’s just too real right now,” the rapper said, citing the problems alluded to with his lady. “B—tch,” as the lyrics go, “why the f—k is you tripping?” But they were spoken, not performed.
All good — Wayne barely skipped a beat, firing off “I’m Me,” “Lollipop,” “Mrs. Officer,” “Every Girl in the World,” “Rollin,’” “Sky’s the Limit,” “Wasted,” “HYFR,” “Pop That,” “Loyal,” “The Motto,” “No Problem” and “We Be Steady Mobbin’.”
“If you got love for Lil Wayne, I need your middle fingers in the air and talk to the competition,” said T. Lewis, setting up Wayne for his penultimate track: “Bandz A Make Her Dance.”
“Y’all been awesome,” Wayne said. “Every, every single one of y’all, you been f—kin' awesome, I swear to God, thank you. Now like I said, y’all know a n—gga going through a lot of sh—t, but you know, I’m gonna keep praying, I’m gonna keep my head up, gonna keep my chin up, gonna keep my ear to the street, I’m gonna keep my eyes forward, and I’m gonna keep y’all first. And if that’s how I’m gonna do it, then I don’t got sh—t to worry about.”
Wayne signed off his Drai’s LIVE debut with “No Worries,” the perfect middle finger to Wayne’s off-stage troubles. Whatever was plaguing the rapper off mic helped fuel — and didn’t stop — Lil Wayne’s memorable, heart-pounding premiere onstage at Drai’s.