PHILADELPHIA— Drake had all eyes on him during the count down to Pearl Jam, the closing act at the “Made In America” festival Sunday (Sept. 2). And the Canadian rapper knew it. 

“How many people are here to see Pearl Jam,” he asked. The response proved that there was more in store tonight. Despite the patiently waiting Peal Jam faithful, Drake powered through his set and delivered to his own Drake devotees.

Like Rick Ross on day one of the festival, Drake also dropped his verse on “I’m On One” to further hype his crowd. He brought out French Montana for “Pop That,” the strip club anthem that samples Luther Campbell’s voice. And he further pumped up the audience by bringing out 2 Chainz, who also made an appearance on Saturday when Kanye West‘s G.O.O.D. Music crew crashed Jay-Z‘s set. 

Before he exited the stage, Drake asked again if the crowd was ready for Pearl Jam. “Hold up your rock fingers,” he said, making the universal “sign of the horns.”

“I don’t care if you’re a Drake fan or a fan of Jay-Z or Pearl Jam, I know you heard this.” 

(Drake at Made In America/ Photo Credit: Maria Ives)

(Photo Credit= Maria Ives)

Drake rocked the crowd with the defiant “HYFR” and then ended with “The Motto.” He cleared the way for Pearl Jam several minutes earlier than his scheduled time. Something was brewing and Drake had to have known. 

Throughout the weekend, Jay-Z was seen on the sides of stages overseeing performances of Janelle Monae and blues singer Gary Clark Jr. He even walked through the crowd (with bodyguards, of course) to get to his destination. But there was only one act with whom he would actually perform. 

Nearly two hours into their festival-ending performance, Pearl Jam went into a lesser known song from their 1993 album Vs., “W.M.A.” The politically charged lyrics include these lines: “Big hand slapped by a white male american/ Do no wrong, so clean cut/ Dirty his hands it comes right off/ Police man.”

The chorus features singer Eddie Vedder chanting, “Police got my brother again!”

In this case, the “brother” was Jay-Z, who appeared on stage to mash-up his police-beefing verse from “99 Problems” with Pearl Jam’s “W.M.A.”

Thematically, the song is a perfect match for Jay’s “99 Problems,” which is built on rock riffs. The connection was an appropriate ending to the two-day festival that included a wide range of performers that included Rita Ora, Skrillex, D’Angelo,  Run-DMC and more.   

Jay-Z served as concert promoter and headline artist for the first Budweiser Made In America festival, which had an estimated 50,000 attendees.  —Erik Parker with Brian Ives for CBS local


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