BOSSIP’s Exclusive Recap Of Dreamville Fest 2019
This weekend upwards of 40,000 people descended upon Dorothea Dix Park in Raliegh, North Carolina to bask in the glory of rap’s most talented new collective of artists and some very special guests. If the January recording sessions for the soon-to-be-released Revenge Of The Dreamers 3 album was the filling-up of the hype powder keg, Dreamville Fest was the result of lighting the fuse. The excitement was palpable, the ground was soggy, and in the wake of the tragic death of Nipsey Hussle, the energy was uplifting. It’s almost as if the hip-hop God’s knew that people needed a reason to smile after an extremely difficult week.
It should be noted that in addition to almost every artist paying tribute to the slain Los Angeles rapper, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, there were fans proudly wearing their Victory Lap merch and standing in long lines to take photos in front of an art installation. The Marathon will most certainly continue.
Before getting into the guests, we have to say that watching the Dreamville artists command the stage over the course of nearly 12 hours was truly a sight to behold. Earth Gang, Bas, Cozz, Omen, Lute, Ari Lennox (good GOD, Ari Lennox…), J.I.D., and J. Cole have set themselves up to be a powerful entity for the foreseeable future. Each and every performance held the air of superstardom whether it was Ari’s voice traveling powerfully-yet-pleasingly across the festival lawn, or J.I.D. completely destroying every syllable in the English language acapella and over instrumental. Bas’ set was epic, Cozz rapped like he was never gonna rap another bar in his life, Lute came with ALL the groovy vibes, Omen gave the fans the lyricism that they expect from him.
When it comes to the artists outside the Dreamville camp, they all brought their A-game. Teyana Taylor, Nelly, Saba, 6lack, DaVido, Big Sean, Rapsody and SZA fit in perfectly with the musical aesthetic of the day: high energy and BIG fun.
By the time the man of the hour took the stage, you could feel just how much his fans love and support him. Before he even said a word the roar from the crowd was deafening. J. Cole stood there, gazing upon the crowd that he and his cohorts had brought together in awe. He seemed legitimately in shock and it was completely on-brand for Cole’s beloved sense of earnestness. This special night also brought some never-before-seen moments like Cole and 21 Savage performing “A Lot” for the very first time together. People might have been surprised that these two polar opposite rappers have such a close bond, but proof of their camaraderie is in the statement that 21 slipped in just before Cole began his verse:
“Y’all ready to hear J. Cole kill this s**t? Verse of the year.”
That was no rap cap. The smile on 21’s face was irrefutable evidence that he was as happy about his friend’s lyrical feat as the fans were to hear it. If that’s not a dream, then what is?
Speaking of dreams…to be in the presence of 40,000 strong when J. Cole brings Meek Mill on stage for a surprise set comes HIGHLY recommended. We have no idea when or if Meek has even been to Raleigh to perform before, but the fact that he came out to a small town to rock with the team is another testament to how much respect other artists have for the Dreamville movement.
As Jermaine ran through his biggest hits and biggest fan-favorites one thing became crystal clear, Dreamville Fest is a THING and will likely be a THING every year as long as the team is strong and the fans still can’t get enough.
Flip the page to see more photos from Dreamville Fest 2019.
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