The Indiana State Fair found its perfect hip-hop attraction in Drake, who performed late Friday night for an enthusiastic Grandstand crowd.
The newly minted music star rapped and sang in multi-threat fashion, with a personable stage presence that affirmed his background as an actor.
Presenting hip-hop acts at the fair is a relatively new concept, with Drake following a Kanye West appearance in 2006 and a multi-act bill topped by T.I. in 2007.
(A rap show in the early 1990s yielded extremely weak box-office business).
West sold a decent amount of tickets, but his fan base at the time was more likely to congregate at an Apple store than at a barbershop. The "Scream Tour" starring T.I., Ciara, T-Pain and Yung Joc put more people in the bleachers, but the musicians had a bigger following in the city than in the suburbs.
Drake proved to be an undeniable mainstream smash, pulling in paying customers from everywhere to build Friday's estimated audience of 13,000.
The 23-year-old is "far from hood," but understands the streets, to quote the lyrics of "Paris Morton Music."
A Toronto native who appeared on seven seasons of TV series "DeGrassi: The Next Generation," Drake devotes rhyme after rhyme to the topic of being fabulously wealthy.
"I am on a 24-hour champagne diet," he mentions at the top of "Money to Blow."
Yet the inspirational and introspective "Lust for Life" hints that Drake isn't as shallow as he wants some listeners to believe. Moments after making major plans -- "The game got these old hand prints on it, but I'm going to be the one to pour cement on it" -- he admits he just hopes that it lasts.
And if Drake's fixation on financial gain is a trait that irritates hip-hop's underground community, he uses the lyrics of "Show Me a Good Time" to remind naysayers of Wu-Tang Clan's eternally credible "C.R.E.A.M." motto ("Cash rules everything around me").
The mentor-apprentice relationship between Lil' Wayne and Drake helps both parties. Weezy validates Drizzy's urban appeal, and Drizzy is clean-cut enough to spread Weezy's left-field logic in places he otherwise might not be welcome.
As Lil' Wayne -- currently incarcerated for criminal possession of a weapon -- rapped on the studio version of "Money to Blow": "We're going to be all right if we put Drake on every hook."
Who else wants to be linked to Drake? Fellow Canadian Justin Bieber ranks near the top of the list.
One night after Drake made a cameo appearance at Bieber's Conseco Fieldhouse show, JB returned the favor at the fair.
Although he didn't touch a microphone, Bieber twice bounced from a tent at the side of stage to wave to fans and help Drake acknowledge individual girls in the crowd.
Bieber wore a red hoodie and a baseball cap during his brief moments onstage, contrasting the black shirt and pants worn by Drake (and matched by his band of backing musicians).
Drake's live production is one of no distractions and no wasted activity. No ostentatious jewelry, no hype man.
Drake also is no choir boy. R-rated sex rhymes flowed during a stretch of three Lil' Wayne-associated tracks: "I'm Goin' In," "Every Girl" and "Bedrock."
Less-graphic seduction songs filled the home stretch of Drake's performance, highlighted by an impressive instrumental transition from current single "Fancy" to Top Five hit "Find Your Love."
A thunderstorm delayed the beginning of Friday's concert for 70 minutes, but trimming performance times for the show's four supporting acts helped to get Drake onstage just 10 minutes later than his scheduled start time of 10:05 p.m.
New Boyz fared best on the undercard, sparking a party atmosphere during signature song "You're a Jerk." New Boyz MCs Ben J and Legacy draw heavily on the minimalist retro approach of Chicago's Cool Kids, but no more excessively than the Black Eyed Peas bit the style of the Cool Kids on chart-topping hit "Imma Be."