Cheers for the Freakin' Meekend: A triumphant Meek Mill headlines The Met Philly - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Meek Mill | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

The King has returned, and he did so with much fanfare. March 15 was the start of the Meekend, and Philly’s favorite rapper, Meek Mill, kicked it off with his first sold-out headlining concert at The Met Philadelphia, his first hometown show since his release from prison last year.

Meek’s welcome home was a rather grandiose experience. Social media was plastered with images of Meek exiting SCI Chester, hopping on a helicopter heading to the Well Fargo Center to catch a Sixers game court-side with his son.

With the support of part-owner of the Sixers, Michael Rubin, as well as District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Jay Z, Meek has become the celebrity face of prison reform. This new role is an interesting juxtaposition for an artist who has been very vocal about his involvement in illegal street activity, though the two are not mutually exclusive. The reason for Meek’s latest incarceration stint was arguably low stakes — a probation violation that stemmed from a guns and drug case that he acquired when he was 19 years old.

For a while, Meek was going through a seemingly never-ending series of L’s, of course significantly less consequential than his incarceration. These losses included a highly publicized beef with Drake, where the Canadian rapper released to back-to-back dis songs, before our local fav could even get a word in edgewise. Meek also found himself single after he and his long-term girlfriend Nicki Minaj broke up. Funny enough, Philly folk did not hesitate to bump any of Drake’s diss tracks. Despite all this Philly still loves them some Meek and it showed during the Meekend.

On Thursday it was announced that March 15 through 17, was the Official Meek Mill weekend in Philadelphia (low-key undermining St. Patricks Day Weekend *shrug*). And of course the Meekend kicked off with the first of two sold out shows at the Met.

Lil Durk | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

The show opened with a performance from Lil Durk. Having him as an opener apparently was a good choice, because the audience was almost as excited to see him as they were to see Meek.

The room was electric once Meek took to the stage. No hyperbole, the audience screamed along to every song. Even songs he included in the medley of tracks from Meek’s aughties mixtape series, Flamers — cornrow era Meek. The rest of the night followed with all of the hot tracks from his most recent release, Championships, as well as Wins and Losses, Dreams and Nightmares, and Dreams Worth More Than Money.

At one point in the show, Meek noticed a small scuffle break out in the crowd. He told the dude to chill out and turn his attention to Rubin who was also in attendance and asked, “You ever seen a fight? You scare over there? Nah, I know you a G.”

As an audience member, the whole experience felt redemptive. Meek has been through hell and back, and all of his trials have shaped him into a stronger man and a better artist. His face shown with pride as he performed  back in in his hometown. It may be safe to say that no other Philly solo rapper has had the same success and local love that Meek has garnered. The King, in fact, has returned.

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