Drake Joins Backstreet Boys on Stage for Their 1999 Hit “I Want It That Way”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Drake surprised the audience in his hometown of Toronto by joining the Backstreet Boys on stage during their July 2 concert to help them perform their 1999 hit “I Want It That Way.”

After being introduced as the “sixth member” of the group, the rapper took the stage to join in on “I Want It That Way,” off the Backstreet Boys’ third album Millennium.

Before launching into the song, which he called “one of the greatest songs in music history,” Drake shared a personal memory of the Backstreet Boys hit.

“[When] was 13 years old, I was the awkward kid and I was in love with this girl at the time and she would pay me no mind,” said Drake. “At my Bar Mitzvah, for the first time in my life, this girl who I was in love with came up to me while one of the greatest songs in the world was playing.”

Drake continued, “She asked me if I would dance with her and it was the first time I ever felt acknowledged. It was the first time I ever felt like I had a shot at being cool. The song that she wanted to dance with me to is one of the greatest songs of all time. And by the way, if she could see me now.”

Following their performance, Drake posted a video on his Instagram page with the caption “When she says she’s over men in this generation and asks why I live alone…”

Written by Max Martin and Andreas Carlsson, “I Want It That Way” reached No. 1 on several U.S. charts and was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Song and Record of the Year, and has become the signature song for the Backstreet Boys. Millennium debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, where it remained for 10 non-consecutive weeks, and remains one of the top-selling albums of all time.

“I Want It That Way” was recently flipped by Lil Uzi Vert on “That Way” and was featured in a Super Bowl ad with Chance the Rapper.

In 2022, Drake hit No. 1 for the 11th time with his new album Honestly, Nevermind, becoming one of five artists with more than 10 No. 1 albums. The Backstreet Boys are currently on the U.S. leg of their DNA World Tour, which will conclude in Oklahoma City on Sept. 14 and continue on through the U.K. and Europe from Oct. 3 through Nov. 10.

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

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