Dreamville Festival 2023 concluded its weekend-long celebration in Raleigh, N.C., and Hip-Hop Wired took in the festivities on the grounds. Much like the inaugural event which we also attended, the Dreamville team once again provided a safe and enjoyable experience for the attendees while packing the stages with plenty of star power.
As we noted during our first time attending the festival, the Dreamville organizers have figured out how to stagger performances that ensure fans get to hear their faves unencumbered.
From acts like Houston spitter Marqus Clae and his passionate performance, the soulful crooning of SiR, the City Girls, and the always energetic EarthGang duo, fans got more than their money’s worth before acts such as Sean Paul, the beautiful Ari Lennox, and day one closer Usher took to the stage.
Omen, who was also among the day one list of performers, showed and proved that while it’s been some time since he’s released a proper project, his conviction and confidence are unwavering. We spoke with Omen briefly backstage at the event, and he promised that new music was on the horizon.
“It’s always difficult to put yourself back out there because I’m naturally shy and introverted but I try to put all I can into the music and I think this new project will showcase Omen at my best,” the Chicago native explained. Omen said that the album should drop in either the third or fourth quarter of this year.
Omen added, “My focus on this new album is that I want the music to mean something and to live beyond me. While Chicago influences almost everything in my art, this is also about my journey of me as a man. Being away from the scene for these years was hard but trust me, we got something to be proud of and I’m glad to be doing this with Dreamville behind me.”
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to speak to many of the performers on the festival’s first day, but the second day provided grander opportunities.
Waka Flocka Flame
Before the interviews, the performances from Reuben Vincent, Cozz, Mario, and Baby Tate, along with a rousing set from both J.I.D. and Waka Flocka Flame were mindblowing as evidenced by the roars from the crowd. Of course, most fans packed themselves early in front of the Shine stage for the event’s closing set of J. Cole and Drake, more on that in another post to come.
Backstage, we chopped it up with Jamla Records artist Reuben Vincent fresh after his set. Vincent, who hails from the city of Charlotte, explained to us that his purpose is grander than being a famous musician, especially after releasing the excellent album, Love Is War.
“I created Love Is War to honor my Liberian heritage and what my parents survived during the Liberian War but it’s also just about the fact that love truly can be war at times,” Vincent shared in a quiet tone, a stark contrast from his stage performance.
Vincent continued, “Having the legacy of Liberia within the body of my music and having strong mentors like 9th Wonder and the Jamla team is amazing. I’ve been chasing this dream since I was a teenager and now it’s all coming together for me at the right time. I’m glad I got to share my art with the crowd and that they seemed to get it.”
Baby Tate also delivered a stirring performance at this year’s festival, which was her first and she spared a few minutes of her time to talk about the experience and the resurgence of her track “Hey Mickey!” via TikTok.
“This was my first time rocking this festival but I’m so glad people were vibing with me, especially because I haven’t put a whole lot of music out but that’s about to change,” Baby Tate shared.
“And that’s why “Hey Mickey!” coming back around because of the kids on TikTok is so dope because I know some artists get hate for making songs for [TikTok] but if the kids are vibing with it, why not? That’s why we locked in with Saweetie for the remix. Because of that, we have a lot of stuff in store for y’all,” Baby Tate concluded.
Waka Flocka Flame, another artist who has kept a low musical profile lately, shared with us that he’s got a ton of new music in the can. While Waka says we can expect more of his stadium-rocking anthems, he’s also concerned with continuing his I Can’t Rap mixtape run as well.
“My whole thing right now is putting other people on but not just with music, but also the spiritual aspects of life because this industry will try you if you let it,” Waka explained, exuding the most positive energy of all the entertainers we met during the festival.
“I have so many blessings that were given to me that I have to do more for the people and it’s always more than just music. Yes, we got new music coming, and I’m coming back with that I Can’t Rap series. So many things. I can’t share too much but trust me, a whole lot of Waka is coming to the people and I can’t wait to hit the road,” Waka stated.
Hip-Hop Wired wishes to extend its thanks to Omen, Reuben Vincent, Baby Tate, Waka Flocka Flame, and the entire Dreamville Festival team for sharing a bit of their time with us.
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