Backstreet Boys welcomed “sixth member” Drake onstage to perform “I Want It That Way” during the boy band’s concert Saturday in the rapper’s hometown of Toronto.
Closing out their main set at the Budweiser Stage, the quintet brought out Drake, who told the audience a story about why the 1999 hit single means so much to him.
“At 13 years old, I had a bar mitzvah, and at my bar mitzvah, for the first time in my life, this girl I was in love with came up to me and one of the greatest songs in the world was playing, and she asked me if I would dance with her,” he said. “And it was the first time ever felt acknowledged, and it was the first time I ever felt like I had a shot at being cool.”
“I Want It That Way” — “one of the greatest songs of all time,” Drake added — soundtracked that meaningful moment for the rapper, and on Friday he performed the track as an honorary Backstreet Boy, even integrating his own hit “Hold On, We’re Going Home” into the rendition. “If she can see me now,” Drake added.
What’s better than I Want It That Way?
I Want It That Way…. f/ @Drake #BSBTO #DNAWORLDTOUR pic.twitter.com/pKVQK2XtDN
— Backstreet Boys (@backstreetboys) July 3, 2022
The surprise appearance continued Drake’s feel-good dance-pop foray as the rapper recently deviated from hip-hop on his latest LP Honestly, Nevermind, a largely rap-free collection of house music.
“Drake takes a leap further into uncharted realms than any of his peers, offering a refreshing sign of what’s to come,” Rolling Stone wrote of the album. “Officially listed as a dance album, Honestly, Nevermind brings the melodic flourishes Drake introduced to hip-hop into club music’s steely atmospherics. The dance floor has already proved to be a compelling landscape for the emotional gradients Drake likes to paint with.”
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