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Review: Drake kicks off Madison Square Garden tour run, smooth as ever

Drake performs onstage during the Summer Sixteen Tour

Drake performs onstage during the Summer Sixteen Tour on Sunday, July 31, 2016, in Toronto. Photo Credit: AP / Invision / Arthur Mola

Drake may be 2016’s biggest star, but he still has a chip on his shoulder.

The Toronto rapper’s album “Views” just racked up its 12th week at No. 1, while his single “One Dance” just surrendered its hold on the top of the singles charts after 10 weeks. However, his “Summer Sixteen” tour, which kicked off a four-night run at Madison Square Garden Thursday night, begins angry, with “REVENGE” on the huge video screen. And it even opens with the song that gave the tour its name, a track that’s part of his beef with rapper Meek Mill and that takes shots at Jay Z and Kanye West.

In a freestyle verse, he calls for the resignation of Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex before adding “My first night in The Garden and I’m feeling like D. [Derrick] Rose,” the upcoming Knicks point guard.

Drake’s teaming with Future is unusual, as they collaborate on songs like “Jumpman” from their joint album “What a Time to Be Alive,” as well as trade sets. But Future’s set between the two Drake sets allows Drizzy to get in a better mood for the second half of the show, where he rolls through a string of hits — from his collaborations with Rihanna, like “Work,” “Take Care” and “Too Good,” to his own up-tempo songs like “Controlla” and “One Dance.”

The staging goes from stark black and white to warm colored lights. The energy of the adoring crowd seemed to quickly melt any dark mood Drake might have had.

His flow is as smooth as ever and because he’s trying to fit as many as he can in the show, he abbreviated most of the songs, leaving out some of his more embarrassing lyrics.

“I’m here to give you the best night of your life, the best party you have ever seen,” Drake said.

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