All words: Bri Younger — All photos: Lauren Bulbin
Meek Mill’s Dreamchasers tour hit the DMV with a vengeance, leaving absolutely nothing to chance. Fillmore Silver Spring turned into a club scene Friday night, complete with a picture booth and ladies adorned in pumps and dresses. There was no room to spare in the standing room only venue, as people were filed in wall to wall waiting on the Philadelphia native to take the stage.
Concert-goers showed little interest in any of the show’s openers, although the DMV’s own Black Cobain received a fair response. Audiences were definitely pleased when fellow DMV emcee Shy Glizzy also joined Cobain to perform “Public Enemy” from his Cheers mixtape. However, the anticipation for Meek Mill was high. Every time his name was mentioned on the mic, the crowd erupted only to immediately die back down until their desire was fulfilled.
Finally, after over two hours of waiting, the time came. The stage filled with at least 40 people who weren’t Meek Mill, but we all knew what was coming. The crowd got tighter, as everyone lurched forward trying to get as close as possible. The beat came in and the voice we’d all been waiting to hear said: “Yeah it’s a lot of bad bitches in the building, amen!” At least, I assume that’s what he said because you could barely hear anything as the crowd’s screaming drowned out the Intro track to his Dreamchasers 2 mixtape. It was a great way to start what would prove to be one of the best shows I’ve attended in my 22 years of life.
Meek Mill burst onto the mainstream music scene a little over a year ago. He made XXL’s 2011 freshman class and seemingly became a household name overnight. Not long after the list’s release, the Maybach Music signee dropped “Tupac Back” followed by “Ima Boss” and cemented his place in the rap game. That same summer, he featured prominently on MMG’s Self Made Vol.1 album and went on to drop the first of the Dreamchasers mixtapes. In May, the second installment and highly anticipated Dreamchasers 2 dropped; reaching over 1.5 million downloads in six hours (and that was just on one website). Fast forward to present day, just a year and a half later, and Meek Mill is headlining his own tour, which wouldn’t have been complete with a stop in the DMV of course.
From start to finish, the energy that took over Fillmore was overwhelming. No matter how many times or at which points the beat dropped out, the audience had his back, reciting as if they’d written the verses themselves. The verve was contagious. If you were already a die-hard fan, or simply waiting for further reason to like this man, this show was probably everything you needed.
Flowing from songs like “Flexin” to his “Tony Montana Freestyle” the building was electric. People yelled the hook to “Actin Up” shamelessly, and just when I thought we couldn’t get anymore live, Wale graced the stage. It was expected (of course), but in that moment, the crowd was ecstatic to see him. The chemistry and presence of the two MMG artists was amazing. Meek even turned the spotlight over to Wale who performed “Bait,” for which Shy Glizzy returned to stage, bouncing around in what felt like a moment of euphoric DMV Pride. The only thing that could’ve felt more DC would have been to turn on a gogo song, but “Bait” was perfect.
Meek Mill followed up with “Black Magic” from Self Made Vol. 2, one of his sickest flows to date. The beat eventually dropped out and he tackled the verse a cappella, rapping supersonically fast while we all tried desperately to keep up. The enthusiasm remained high and showed no signs of ceasing, as he paid homage to his label-head Rick Ross, performing hits like “B.M.F (Blowin Money Fast),” “9 Piece” and “Stay Schemin.”
Milli even had to pause for a moment to tell us he was having “the greatest time of his life.” We were giving him all we had, and he had no choice but to return the energy back to us. He started into his controversial but widely loved single “Amen.” Out of nowhere the crowed screamed decibels louder than they had thus far. I thought we’d peaked out somewhere around “Bag of Money” or “Face Down,” but no. This was a new one. Just when I believed it couldn’t get any better, none other than YMCMB’s Drake was on the stage performing his “Amen” verse. The crowd went out of control, as he took over to also drop “HYFR” and “The Motto.”
Keeping the dynamic show pace, Meek Mill returned to the mic and jumped right into Dreamchaser 2 favorite “Burn.” I’m certain if Big Sean would’ve came on stage, I would’ve passed out, (he didn’t). After the Drake surprise, it felt like anything could happen at any moment, and I was not prepared. People were standing on chairs (what few chairs there are in Fillmore) and banging on the metal rails by the time he brought us to a finish with “A1 Everything,” “House Party” and “Ima Boss.” Even after he had left the stage, people were still bouncing on the floor and in the corners of the balconies as if they never wanted this feeling to end. I couldn’t help but smile as they jumped around, each person building off the next person’s vibe because I felt it too.
I’ve been to a lot of shows in my life and I’ve seen a lot of artists, but I can honestly say Meek Mill is one of the best I’ve ever been to. For a man who hasn’t even dropped a studio album, you would’ve thought he’d been in the game for years. His stage presence and relentless energy makes every song feel like it’s your favorite. Even if you don’t know a song, I would imagine it’s still nearly impossible to just stand and stare at this man, but that’s coming from someone who knows both Dreamchaser mixtapes cover to cover.
Maybe it was one of those had-to-be-there types of shows or maybe I’m biased because I was already a fan. But Meek Mill did say that DC was “by far, the livest spot on the tour.” Considering that before yesterday, he’d been to over 10 different cities including L.A., Miami, Atlanta and Chicago, the DMV and those who were in attendance should be proud because we turned all the way up!
Come back and see us soon Meek Mill!
[Oh and be sure to check out his Dreams & Nightmares album dropping October 30th!]