By Elise Brisco
NEW YORK – If streaming Meek Mill’s “Expensive Pain” album wasn’t enough, the rapper upped the ante by performing the project live and bringing a ton of friends along.
The packed house at Madison Square Garden roared as the “Going Bad” rapper emerged from a cloud of purple and blue smoke about two hours after the announced showtime. As soon as he was in clear view, he immediately began rapping the intro track.
Mill’s outfits of the night included a cobalt blue jacket, pants with a diamond-studded tuxedo stripe and a white fitted suit. Just like his revolving outfits, the stage quickly changed scenes as the 34-year-old rapper invited several collaborators to execute their “Expensive Pain” verses in person.
Lil Baby and Lil Durk were present for their verses on Mill’s “Sharing Locations,” as was Lil Uzi Vert for “Blue Notes 2” and A$AP Ferg for “Me (FWM).” However, some of the album’s other notable artists were missing, including Kehlani, Moneybagg Yo, Young Thug and Brent Faiyaz.
While the concert included a long list of guest stars, the Philadelphia-born rapper’s event turned out to be more personal.
“Sold the garden out on my dad bday,” Mill tweeted early Sunday morning. The rapper’s father was killed when he was 5.
“Expensive Pain” is Meek Mill’s fifth studio album following 2018’s “Championships.” He ended the show with his club hymn “Dreams and Nightmares,” the title track for his 2012 debut.
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The album cover for “Expensive Pain” features art by Nina Chanel Abney and was plastered across several U.S. landmarks ahead of the October release. Soon after the image was publicly displayed, it faced backlash for its sexual depiction of Black women. https://649c76f6da1d9429ebcf1f0849ba2573.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
“This album cover not cool bro, and then I seen a video with this album cover on a bus in some cities. Like bro ain’t no way this what you promoting in our neighborhoods,” one user tweeted on release day.
Mill defended the art and the artist in an interview with Complex News.
“People are really dying every day in Philadelphia,” he said. “The topic of a wrap of a bus is not a real thing.”