Hordes of people who gave zero fucks about the plummeting temperature packed Manhattan’s Flatiron Plaza on Thursday night to see rapper and artiste Kanye West perform in his fancy new sneakers. The police had it barricaded like a parade route. To get in, concertgoers had to show a ticket or a special lanyard. I had neither.
But I saw an opportunity in at one of the police-manned entrances on Broadway. There was lots of activity, so I milled about waiting for the right moment. Suddenly, an entourage of over a dozen people deep showed up. They started negotiating with concert staff and after some back and forth, the group was waved in. I followed their lead like I was part of the crew. Only minutes later would I realize that they were with Drake.
The shrieking of female fans tipped me off. That, and the four or so bodyguards surrounding him at all times. Then came the insufferable selfie requests. “Drake, please, one selfie, please,” asked a young woman. Some committed the ultimate faux pas, asking the rapper to get on stage — as if he was supposed to be performing, or that his distance from the main stage was his personal preference. “Drizzy get up there man, c’mon!” someone said. “Yo, get up there!”
Towards the end of the show, the NYPD decided to clear the lane and told Drake’s people (and me by proxy), that we all had to move. His posse, unable to convince the officers of their significance, was told to get on the other side of the barriers. They begrudgingly complied and again I tagged along.
To add to the irony, this was all happening just as the surprise release of his new album was sending shockwaves through the internet. The name generating some of the night’s biggest music news was floating around in a sea of strangers, unable to get the attention of anyone remotely powerful. The Midas of chart-topping, catchy hip-hop was back at the bottom with the rest of us. And his whole team was fucking there.
(Photo/Video: Bucky Turco/ANIMALNewYork)