MANSFIELD — It’s not every day you go to a large-scale concert wondering who the night’s winner will be, but the summer tour featuring the New Orleans MC-slash-mogul Lil Wayne and the child actor-turned-hip-hop megastar Drake is all about twists in the name of entertainment. Billed as “Drake vs. Lil Wayne,” the shows combine the storied idea of the rap battle, where foes try to outrhyme each other, with the concept of the fighting game, where avatars do the bidding of players in one-on-one combat.
The pretenses toward battle were strong, but they were in good fun — Wayne and Drake belong to the Young Money crew, and have been allied since the days when Drake was only releasing mixtapes.
The show’s format, which blended the solo singles and guest appearances of both MCs into a whirl of bravado and boasting, shone a spotlight on the reasons for the pair being so agreeable — while each teemed with confidence, their styles had substantial differences.
Wayne is the elder of the pair, as evidenced by his lecturing of Drake about the relative merit of “classics” over “hits,” but he’s more consistently hyperactive, his words spilling out of his mouth seemingly faster than he can even think them up on tracks like the clamorous “6 Foot 7 Foot” and the twisty “A Milli,” and his voice bending and shape-shifting as each beat demands.
Drake, meanwhile, is as well known for crooning slow jams like the sinewy “Hold On, We’re Going Home” as he is for the self-regarding rhymes on “Started From The Bottom” and its ilk.
The tour, which was cosponsored by the video game maker Capcom, was paired with an app where attendees could lend their support to superheroic versions of the two headliners, with a winner being crowned at the evening’s close.
Drake had his own chance to relish victory midway through, delivering an off-the-cuff acceptance speech for the MTV Video Music Award he scored Sunday night. But Lil Wayne won over the Xfinity Center, according to the scoreboard at the end of the show — and truth be told, the “Weezy! Weezy!” chants that popped up sporadically, not to mention the Red Sox cap he proudly wore, presaged his win.
Once that dust cleared, the two combined their talents, touting each others’ greatness (and albums coming out later this fall) while trading off verses on the spacey “Believe Me” and the scornful “HYFR.” True, the alliance at the end was inevitable, but it made the ribbing and rhyming leading up to it no less entertaining.Maura Johnston can be reached at email@example.com.