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Not long ago, it seemed like a safe bet to ignore Drake’s underground murmuring. The next rap superstar was Wale. Or Charles Hamilton. No, heaven help us, it was written: Asher Roth. Forecasters saw Kid Cudi and B.o.B. snowballing but likewise warned of an abhorrent pop-rap strain that succeeded via hooks by Hayley Williams. Drake was just one of many connected experiments. Yet as fading music magazines championed Mickey Factz, a staggeringly self-aware, ambitious, charismatic, quotable masterpiece emerged. Drake’s winter mixtape, So Far Gone, went on to program every season of 2009. You’d see MySpace profiles, drowning in flash, adorned with Drake’s self-help mantras: “Transitioning from fitting in to standing out.” So Far Gone’s narrative arc spoke to and feared a nonexistent level of fame, but it sounded like where mainstream hip-hop was going. Fast forward to May, a month before a summer album signed off by hip-hop’s brightest minds debuted at No. 1, and Drake’s catalog already carries the night. Galvanized kids sing back the words to hot singles like the introspective “Fear,” the boastful, sorta-trying-too-hard “Forever,” and all the cheeky, misogynist jams with Lil Wayne.

DRAKE PERFORMS AT 8 P.M. ON SATURDAY, OCT. 2, AND AT 7 P.M. ON SUNDAY, OCT. 3, AT DAR CONSTITUTION HALL, 1776 D ST. NW. $60.65-$76.60. (202) 628-4780.