Drake had a lot of expectations going into his first hosting gig on 'Saturday Night Live,' and easily established himself as the show's next Justin Timberlake with an 'SNL' performance that began with a big Rob Ford joke in the monologue as he shouted out his city.
"Toronto, where the rappers are polite, and the Mayor smokes crack."
He then segued into a flashback to his bar mitzvah, complete with a recreation of the real vest he wore in the home movie clips made famous by his "HYFR" music video and an insta-classic rap, about his half-black, half-Jewish heritage: "I celebrate Chanukah and date a Rihannakah." Plus, he apologized for coining YOLO!
(Here's a flashback fun fact: Drake and SNL producer Lorne Michaels attended the same high school, Forest Hill Collegiate Institute.)
Drake Monologue - SNL 1-18-14 by IdolxMuzic
Demonstrating an ego-free ease that is nearly unheard of from musicians-who-host (save the likes of JT, Paul Simon and Bruno Mars), and even featured LARPing. ("Elven death potion!")
Drake also landed his impressions -- Jay Z, A-Rod, William Katt and a meme-worthy Lil-Wayne-as-Steve Urkel) and delivered some good character work, too, highlighted by his cheeseball, mustache-adorned dad.
But just in case the double-whammy of Drake as both host and musical guest, not to mention those 'Degrassi' references, wasn't patriotic enough, the show mocked Justin Bieber's egg raid in the cold open as Kate McKinnon's pitch-perfect impression tried to explain the incident as "a Canadian tradition."
All told, the 90-minute show was basically a Hollywood audition so that Drake could prove to Americans that he can act, too, a feat he accomplished by, well, acting. Which makes it even more impressive that it was also blackest, Jewish-est and most Canadian episode ever.
Drake's presence allowed for more hip-hop jokes than usual, and the episode also marked the debut of Sasheer Zamata, the show's first black female performer in some time (which has been controversial this season) as well as two black, female writers.
Oh, and Drake's performances were stand-outs, too, as he paired a stripped down, red-lit "Started From The Bottom" with new track "Trophies" as well as mixing strong vocals on "Hold On, We're Going Home" with the very personal "From Time" alongside duet partner and tourmate Jhené Aiko.
“Started from the Bottom”/”Trophies”
“Hold On, We’re Going Home”/”From Time”
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