This weekend, the highly anticipated Dreamville Festival, organized by J. Cole, made its triumphant return to North Carolina, exceeding all expectations. The event boasted an impressive lineup of top hip-hop artists, providing a dynamic display of talent and culminating in an unforgettable co-headlining act featuring both Drake and Cole. The festival in Raleigh was truly an exhilarating experience filled with surprises that will not soon be forgotten.
The historic Dorothea Dix Park hosted a variety of rappers and singers on Saturday for an entertaining performance. However, the event faced some delays caused by high wind speeds that pushed the gate opening and set times back by a few hours. Unfortunately, Key Glock had to cancel his set due to travel issues, but the organizers managed to save the day by replacing him with Toosii and adjusting the schedule. Once the show began, fans were treated to incredible performances by some of the most captivating female artists in hip-hop and R&B, such as Ari Lennox, the City Girls, and Jessie Reyez. Additionally, there were performances from renowned names in the music industry such as Usher, Sean Paul, and Lil Durk.
On Saturday, Usher’s headlining set was an incredible spectacle as the R&B icon delivered an electrifying performance consisting of 22 songs. The packed crowd in Raleigh danced and sang along to his endless catalog of hits such as “Yeah,” “My Boo,” “Burn,” “U Got It Bad,” and many more. Although Usher played a cruel April Fools prank on the audience by pretending to bring out Beyonce, he made it up by continuing to perform his popular hits. Despite almost three decades passing since his self-titled debut, Usher still effortlessly wins over crowds with his music, and his classic hits from the 2000s continue to be loved today.
On the second day of the festival, Sunday, the huge crowds persisted, gathering early to witness electrifying performances from Waka Flocka Flame, Cozz and Bas of Dreamville, Mario, and several others. As the sun set, the entertainment didn’t wane, and the festival concluded with remarkable sets by JID, Summer Walker, Burna Boy, and an extraordinary collaboration from J. Cole and Drake, that Dreamville enthusiasts will reminisce about for years to come.
The lifelong buddies and creative partners put on an unforgettable show, delivering an impressive lineup of their greatest hits. J. Cole took the stage first, treating the audience to a mix of his chart-topping tracks and lesser-known B-side records. To make the night even more special, he brought out fellow artists from his Dreamville label, such as JID, Earthgang, Bas, and others, for a number of exciting collaborations.
Cole wasted no time in introducing Drake to the lively Dreamville crowd, as the Toronto-born rapper opened the show with his hit collaboration with Travis Scott, “Sicko Mode”, setting the tone for a high-energy performance. However, Drake had some surprises up his sleeve, as he not only delivered a string of his top tracks but also brought out unexpected guests, including Lil Uzi Vert, Glorilla, 21 Savage, and Lil Wayne. Despite this, the night was far from over as J. Cole made a triumphant return to the stage to bid farewell with a memorable rendition of his classic track from “Forest Hills Drive,” “No Role Modelz.”
The rap stars showcased their extensive body of work at the festival, taking fans on a nostalgic journey back to their early days in the industry and highlighting their growth since their debut albums, “The Come Up” and “Thank Me Later.” Although either artist could have headlined the event solo, their collaboration was a game-changer, coupled with the unexpected surprises that made the entire experience priceless. It’s unlikely that any other festival this year will be able to match the electric atmosphere they created.
Not only was Dreamville Festival an amazing musical experience, but it also served as a hub of cultural and communal celebration. It’s hardly shocking that this festival, organized and led by artists, has grown to become one of the world’s most prominent music festivals, with millions of dollars being pumped into the local and North Carolinian economy each year.
Check out our some clips from Dreamville 2023 below.