Meek Mill at Irving Plaza: Triumphant Tour Closer
Busta Rhymes & Rick Ross cameos help a rising Philly hip-hop star live up to the hype
By Larry Gilchrist
Special to MSN Music
You can't turn on urban radio today without hearing a Maybach Music Group song or artist. Whether it’s Meek Mill; Wale; the boss himself, Rick Ross; or model Jessica Gomes (whose sultry voice coos "Maybach Music"), MMG's dominance in hip-hop is hard to deny. But that doesn't make it real. So, heading to see Meek headline the final night of his Dreams and Nightmares tour in New York's famed Irving Plaza, this writer was a bit skeptical about whether or not this collective was as popular in hip-hop's mecca as the media would have you believe.
Within in five minutes of being in the venue, the answer was a resounding yes. The show wasn't only sold out, it could have very easily have been shut by New York's bravest. It was jam-packed -- and it was a standing-room-only show.
Opening acts Rockie Fresh (a new MMG signee) and Black Cobain (yup) both held their own against a fickle crowd who seemed intent on only seeing Meek. When told to "get off the stage" by a female fan, Cobain dedicated his less-than-flattering "TK" to her. Then the audience waited ... and waited for 40 minutes in the less-than-chill venue for Meek.
Then it was showtime! Accompanied by mixtape mastermind DJ Drama, a hype man and about 20 of his closest friends, Meek Mill took to the stage -- dressed in all black -- and ready to kill, metaphorically speaking.
Once onstage, Meek wasted no time giving fans what they wanted as he picked off one track after the other. From “Dreamchaser 2” joints like “I Get It” and “Racked Up Shawty” to “Black Magic,” the Philadelphia native amped up the crowd more and more with every track. It should be noted here that all of the songs performed were either off of Meek’s mixtapes or MMG compilations like “Self Made 2.” His official debut album, “Dreams and Nightmares” (hence the name of the tour), doesn’t drop until Oct. 30.
The fact that Drama, well known for teaming with A-list MCs and knighting the next generation of hopefuls via his “Gangsta Grillz” series, served as Meek’s DJ only made sense because Drama is also from Philly and he hosted his two most popular mixtapes, “Dreamchasers” and “Dreamchasers 2,” both of which have earned Mill his current fame.
However, DJ Drama wasn’t the only famous friend who Meek brought with him to wrap the tour. Fellow hip-hop upstart MGK joined him onstage for the former’s “Wild Boy (Remix),” and Busta Rhymes gave the crowd a little bit of the old and a little bit of the new with a two-song set, but it was the bawse himself, Rick Ross, who nearly sent the audience into a frenzy when the duo performed “I’ma Boss” together.
Despite the all-star cast, which also included Slaughterhouse, the night was clearly Meek’s as he ended it with his current single, “Amen.”
We don’t always say this, but after seeing Meek Mill and team MMG do their thing live, we definitely believe the hype. Word to Flavor Flav.