Meek Mill House of Blues August 10, 2012
The aesthetic behind Meek Mill and a large gathering is easy to define, even for someone who has only taken in one Meek song courtesy of the radio or being fed by Rick Ross -- high-energy, an unmistakable high-pitched yelp that churns out one-liners and some of the more blissfully sinister produced records of the past 18 months.
He came to Houston earlier this year with Drake, but announced he had come previously a year ago. Then, he was still waiting for the bubble to finally pop on "Tupac Back," his and Ross' chaotic reach into the realm of reincarnation. In the year since, it is he who is the most sought--after Maybach Music Group signee that doesn't wield a beard and hefty body mass.
In the numerous occasions I've battled crowds inside House of Blues, never had I literally found myself wanting a spot far away from the madness to hunker down. A throng of fans -- women dressed to their own perceived nines and men flailing their arms trying to get the women's attention -- saturated the standing area and packed the seated section to the hilt. When Meek hit the stage, clearly they responded as if one of their own had made it to the absolute mecca.
Weaving between breakthrough national mixtapes Dreamchasers 1 and 2, along with some MMG fodder, Meek commanded attention with his hypeman, both clad in black and fitteds. Shockingly enough, the Philadelphia native's hour-long set whisked by as if it were absolutely nothing. Even during sections where he yielded the floor to Texas legends and upstarts, Meek has picked up from something he most certainly learned from being an understudy on the Club Paradise tour.
Kirko Bangz joined him for "Drank In My Cup," wearing a bucket hat and looking as if he just hopped off a plane from London after finishing fourth in polo, and the crowd lit up for a moment. Paul Wall leapt up for "Sittin' Sidewayz" and Slim Thug and his towering presence was credited as being a Meek influencer. It definitely didn't go to his delivery, let's just say that.
Being well-versed in the ways of Meek and his now signature "shout raps," the energy cranked to an entirely new level when he let off "I'ma Boss," a vociferous and cagey effort that plain and simple is the musical equivalent of being the Juggernaut and running through everything in your path.
It's gym music personified. The rolling synths and kick drums straight from a battlefield push you places and when Meek ended his initial verse -- the smokey, billowing voice of Rick Ross was matched by his actual presence.
Ever see a wrestler who hadn't been seen in a while come back to a shocked crowd? Imagine that but, given the size of the venue, louder and more mesmerizing. For heavyset men and those who have a gargantuan persona embedded within them -- Rick Ross is their president and Lemon Pepper Emperor, and in one short mini-set he proved why he's such a pleasurable figure to hear in doses.
He bathed in fatalism (one of his favorite themes) for "911" which knocked, the even more engrossing and wildly fun "Hold Me Back" prompted a mini-mosh pit near my section and at that moment - I feared for life hoping not to be trampled by four heavy dudes who could have played offensive line for the Texans.
This played pivotal towards the end of his set, by that time crossing over the hour mark with an interlude from Atlanta upstarts Travis Porter and a drink break to 2 Chainz and Drake's "No Lie."
Once Ross departed, Meek replayed "I'ma Boss" for an encore, only touching his initial verse and turned the last stanza of the second into a bridge of sorts. It still went over heavy. Despite calling the DJ a "dickhead" and berating him with chides for screwing up during a set, Meek had his own fun in the largest city the Lone Star State has to offer.
No nightmares to be had here.
Personal Bias: The MMG Ranking system goes like this: Ross > Meek > Gunplay > Wale > Stalley
The Crowd: Let's see, there were 4'6" girls and 6'5 dudes dressed in so much thrift that it easily made for one of the year's greatest social experiments. Also, I feel bad for short people (myself included) during super-packed rap shows. Your chance of seeing shit is somewhere between slim and not-a-damn-chance if you're not in the front row.
Overheard In The Crowd: "Excuse me miss, your areola is showing," said in the elevator on the way up to the show to one attendee. She fixed it and we proved once and for all chivalry isn't dead.
Random Notebook Dump: Thanks to the absolute-bat-shit-hell that was 59 heading from the Galleria, we missed Black Cobain and a few other openers. It was probably the third rap show all year that started on time, by the way.
MEEK MILL SET LIST Flexin Racked Up Shawty Drank In My Cup (Kirko Bangz) Tupac Back Aye Ladies (Travis Porter) Goin' To Work Sittin Sidewayz (Paul Wall) I'ma Boss 911 (Rick Ross) "Hold Me Back (Rick Ross) Bag of Money Face Down So Sophisticated A1 Everything Used To Be "House Party Amen The Ride Lean Wit It
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I'ma Boss (Encore)