Backed by the memorable shot of him boarding a helicopter with 76ers owner Michael Rubin right after his highly publicized release from prison back last April, the Phil Collins-sampling Championships opener “Intro,” sent the crowd of 3,500 into a frenzy.

Before moving into “Trauma,” a wholehearted clip from a classic 1994 Tupac interview with BET’s Ed Gordon became the sole focus of everyone’s attention. Pac emphatically speaks on issues with police brutality he’s experienced in life and the unfair portrayal of him by the media, which Meek’s life’s journey emotionally connects with 25 years later. After trucking through his pain, Meek called on his New York brethren Fabolous for a second night in a row, as the duo slid their way through the Spanish-tinged “Uptown Vibes. [Billboard]

Meek Mill's tour supporting his great 2018 comeback album Championships came through NYC for a pair of shows at The Hammerstein at Manhattan Center on Tuesday (3/12) and Wednesday (3/13). Lil Uzi Vert came out of "retirement" to make a surprise appearance on night one, performing "XO Tour Llif3," which you can watch a video clip of below. We caught night two, where Meek brought out Fabolous, and which featured opening sets from Lil Durk and Kash Doll. Check out pictures in the gallery above.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia officials declared this weekend, March 15-17, "Meek Mill Weekend," The Philadelphia Enquirer reports:

Born Robert Rihmeek Williams, he is being celebrated for his contributions to hip-hop and for bringing national attention to criminal justice reform ahead of his two shows at the Met on Friday and Saturday.

Dressed in a gray sweatsuit designed by the North Philly-based fashion brand Milano di Rouge, Mill thanked his family and numerous city officials including State Sen. Sharif Street and City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson. Mill said his 7-year-old son, who stood quietly at his side, is one of the main reasons for his philanthropy and recent focus on criminal justice.

“I think we deserve better. I’m trying to fight for young kids that I’ve spent time with and sat in prison with," Mill said. “I’ve been to prison a few times for probation violations, but the one time my city of Philadelphia showed me support is the one time I came out of prison.”

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photos by Eric M. Townsend