NEW YORK — Drake’s highly anticipated debut, Thank Me Later, is finally available for his legions of fans. And those fans showed their intense support for Drizzy at a Best Buy in-store signing Tuesday (June 15), his first in-store in NYC.
Lines snaked around the block, as fans waited hours for a chance to catch the Young Money MC in person, some rocking homemade Drake T-shirts.
Inside, the crowd swelled, as everyone from bubbly toddlers to weeping girls waited for Drizzy to make his 2 p.m. appearance. Light screams broke out when the store began to pump the first strains of his Alicia Keys-assisted collabo and Later opener, “Fireworks.” When Drake finally took his place at the signing table, the crowd erupted into hysterical shrieks, thrusting camera phones in the air and falling over one another to snap pics. Drizzy flashed his million-dollar grin, mugged for the cameras and began greeting the hundreds of fans who enveloped Union Square.
About 20 minutes into the signing, pandemonium nearly broke out as members of Drake’s team handed out swag to some fans who weren’t able to get in line. Security then moved the eager Drizzy-heads to another part of the store.
Many fans waited for hours to cop the album the night before and came back the following day to get their Later copies signed. “He’s pretty unique. He’s like a big mix between R&B and hip-hop” said Nathaniel Lawrence, who lined up with friends Andy Garcia and Xavior Vittoro at 8:30 p.m. Monday evening and had to wait until 1 a.m. to purchase an album. “He’s just something new. It’s different,” said Lawrence who came back at 10 a.m. Tuesday to meet Drizzy.
Tynique Nixon got in line to buy an album at 10 p.m. Monday night and also had to wait until 1 a.m. to plunk down some cash. “But it was good, because Drake drove by to see us, so we got a chance to see him early.”
“I got here at 3 in the morning,” said Natalia Morales, a fan of Drizzy’s since he was on “Degrassi: The Next Generation” who was the first girl to meet Drake. “I’m ecstatic right now. I’m still shaking!”
“It’s a lifetime experience being … one of the first guys to get my CD signed by him,” said Kevin Benejam, who arrived at 7 a.m. “I told him I look up to him a lot for going for his dream, because a lot of people don’t have the courage to go for their dream.”
“He’s the man,” 6-year-old Khamani Hamilton said. Drizzy had some nice words for him too: “He said I’m the man!”
“I told him he was great.” Steven Santos said. “My heart is a little pumping.”
“I can’t stay focused right now, I’m shaking right now,” said an emotional Joshua Colon, who called out of work for two days just to see him. “This man’s a miracle right now.”
According to Best Buy manager April Rivera, around 600 people came out to greet Drizzy, and fans began lining up the day before at 2 p.m. to cop the album at midnight. Rivera said she has witnessed fan mania on that scale for established artists such as Rihanna and Bon Jovi, but not for a star fresh out the gate. “For a brand-new artist, I’ve never seen this before.” Rivera added that the store beefed up security for Drake’s visit as well. “About 20 guards are here,” Rivera said. “An average is maybe, like, eight or 10.”
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