The first Drake track, “Started From the Bottom,” dropped about 10 minutes ahead of schedule, cheers and applause seeping out from inside the club. But the crowd didn’t care — that was why they came.
With a line wrapped around the block outside of Dolphin Tavern at Broad and Tasker streets, the bar’s So Far Gone "Drake Night," hosted by Dirty South Joe with resident DJs Gun$ Garcia and Magglezzz, was in full effect.
A photo posted by BABY GLOCK (@gunsgarcia) on Aug 19, 2015 at 11:43pm PDT
Since November 2014, the trio has been throwing a monthly, Wednesday-night turn-up to the tune of today's biggest hip-hop hits that ends with a two hour set of nothing but Drizzy.
But when Meek Mill, North Philadelphia’s hometown hero, picked a fight with the Toronto superstar, and lost, did the city’s "Drake Night" add insult to injury?
“I think it’s awesome that we want to celebrate an artist,” said 21-year-old Elle Micheli. A Philly native, Micheli knew about Drake and Meek’s beef but didn’t know Meek was from Philly. Still, she said she was more of a Drake fan. “I think people are here more for the music and not about being here because they’re trying to pick sides,” she said. “It’s not an East Coast, West Coast, Biggie, Tupac thing.”
The consensus was pretty much the same across the board.
“The party started before the beef,” said Kandyce Perry, 23, as she stood outside the party waiting to get in. “It’s been successful, so you can’t stop it just because of the beef.” Originally from Detroit, she’s been in the City of Brotherly Love for two years.
“I love Philly,” she said. And, still, Drake’s her favorite rapper.
Drake Night’s origins start before Meek’s “trigger fingers turned to Twitter fingers” and he accused Drake of using a ghostwriter, so the party’s hosts and founders say they feel no remorse about the event.
Dirty South Joe told Complex, “As for feeling any ‘guilt’ about hosting ‘Drake Night’ in ‘Meek’s city?’ No, not in the slightest.” To him, Meek’s and Drizzy are on two different levels.
“He’s playing checkers while Drake is playing chess,” Joe said.
John Barnett, 26, agrees.
“The simple fact is that one rapper was completely different from the other one,” Barnett said. “Drake is an artist, like a Mariah Carey, and Meek is someone who actually raps from a certain perspective.”
Drake’s perspective, it seems, is one that all the people, even in Meek’s hometown, can vibe to.
“I think people forget that Drake is in a lot of features,” Perry said, “so the party can carry for hours.”
Not just hours, but months and span across different states. Thanks to the "Drake Night" success, Garcia, Magglezzz and Joe will be bringing the event to Brooklyn starting Oct. 7 and, eventually, to D.C.