Did you catch it last week when Drake was posting pics to his Instagram that he was hanging out with royalty? If you are just realizing this, you’re too late. Recently, Drake was being hailed in the press in the United Arab Emirates for his show on March 14. However, Drake showed up days earlier and partied for days with a Prince of the United Arab Emirates — Mansoor bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
Who is this person that Drake has been suddenly become best friends with? On March 9, Drake posted on Instagram, “Life goal. Made it to Dubai,” followed by a short video that showed the inside of his luxurious hotel room. Dubai is well-known as a city of luxury, and it is governed by a royal Al Maktoum family. The day after Drake arrived in Dubai, he was immediately posting pics with one of the heirs to the throne — Prince Mansoor.
On March 14, Drake captioned a picture of himself with Prince Mansoor that said, “So grateful to know this guy!!” and tagged the Prince’s @mansoorbinmohammed Instagram account. Wow, it is for real! Drake is hanging with real royalty! And this was not just your usual handshake meet-and-greet.
From the other photos that Drake posted between March 10 and March 16 on Instagram, it is clear that Prince Mansoor rolled out the red carpet for this rapper. While in Dubai, Drake took pictures of sightseeing among the skyscrapers of Dubai, riding wide-wheeled sand bikes with Prince Mansoor, and looked wild while using a jetovator to shoot straight up into the air from the top of the water.
But it appears from the mutual admiration they display in their captions on Instagram that this relationship between Drake and Prince Mansoor goes a little deeper than that. One reason that Drake and Prince Mansoor may be natural friends and feel a deep connection is due to the fact that poetry is a big part of both of their lives. Drake got his start in the open mic/poetry slam scene in Toronto while Prince Mansoor’s brother, sister, and father (His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohammed) are both well-known in the Arab world as poets and poetry lovers.
In particular, Sheikh Mohammed is a recognized Classical Arabic poet and also a special Bedouin Arab (colloquial) style that is called “Nabati” in Arabic. Of course, we know already that Drake, like the royal family of Dubai, is a lover of both high-class and street poetry.
What does Prince Mansoor think about Drake? While many of Prince Mansoor’s captions are empty on Instagram, he was quick to say about Drake, “Finally found my long lost brother… #M8 he is AWSOME! [sic]” Prince Mansoor even posted pictures of him and Drake amongst the pics of the Prince wearing his traditional Arabic fashions and attending important prince-related business meetings.
This is interesting because rap and hip-hop are not always so well-received in Dubai. According to the National U.A.E.‘s review of Drake’s show, “Big hip-hop gigs in the UAE are, sadly, a rare occurrence. Normally banished to the 2 a.m. slot in clubs, acts rarely get the same big-stage love as their fellow pop peers.” Regardless, Drake was not shunned and was instead fully embraced by top royalty.
What is interesting is to hear what reviewers in the United Arab Emirates had to say about Drake’s debut Dubai performance. Al-Arabiya reviews said that on the night of his concert in Dubai, Drake played to an audience of 15,000 at Dubai’s International Cricket Stadium. At the beginning of the show, Drake stated he “felt at home in Dubai.”
Time Out Dubai says, “But unlike some well-travelled stars, Drake wasn’t too proud to explain how grateful he was to be in the presence of the people of this city, people who he considered the most beautiful in the world… After crowds made his ‘dream come true’ by allowing him to be in Dubai in the first place…”
The National U.A.E. said, “Drake’s superb gig also stood out as a rare chance for UAE fans to see a hip-hop artist at the peak of his powers. This was no lap of honor as seen at the previous big rap gigs by Eminem, Kanye West and Jay Z, or any of the cheesy drivel that we routinely encounter in clubs from, let’s face it, C-list rappers.”
Gulf News gave one of the most interesting reviews and stated, “The Drake I’m used to is the cocky one on all the records… But the Drake I saw on stage last night, playing to more than 16,000 people, who might as well have been his closest companions in a city he’s been dreaming of visiting for at least 10 years, was a Drake driven on pure adrenalin [sic], awe, humility and vulnerability… Drake was the image of a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young guy from Toronto living out his wildest dreams.”
Will Drake be back in Dubai any time soon? The National U.A.E. says Drake ended his Dubai show with a promise to return for his next world tour.
[Featured image via the Instagram account of His Royal Highness Prince Mansoor bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.]