Dreamville Fest had its ups and downs, but the vibes still remained superb in its fourth year

 By Hunter Bailey

April 11, 2024

Photo: Sam Shapiro / Dreamville Fest

Celebrations, apologies, mic drops, guest appearances, sunshine, long lines, and 50,000-plus friends. The fourth installment of Dreamville Fest saw upwards of 30 artists take the stage and over 104,000 attendees over the weekend. The event, headlined by Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent, SZA, and J. Cole himself was a huge success for organizers, but it wasn’t without its ups and downs. 

The charming Dorothea Dix Park again served as an ideal venue for the festival and although the weekend weather was without a cloud in the sky, it wasn’t always dream-like for attendees.

The fourth Dreamville Festival saw over 52,000 attendees per day in Raleigh at Dorothea Dix Park. Photo: Drew Cigna

Saturday’s slate went off without a hitch (for the most part), but Sunday saw its share of hiccups. Nigerian rapper Rema’s set was marred with sound issues, leaving both the fans and the 23-year-old Afrobeats artist frustrated– so much so that he ended his performance early and walked off the stage. Following Rema’s 23-minute set on the Shine stage, fans rushed to the Rise stage to catch one of the biggest names of the weekend: Nicki Minaj. The Trinidadian-born rapper, who is currently on her massive Pink Friday 2 Tour, was over an hour late for her set, and only performed mostly snippets of 12 songs. 

Schoolboy Q performing at Dreamville Fest on Saturday night in Raleigh. Photo: Marcus McDonald

Despite the mishaps and technical difficulties, the festival itself still felt like a family atmosphere. Cole, J.I.D, Yachty and SZA, among others, encouraged crowd safety during their sets, looking out for the tens of thousands in attendance. With festival-goers donning a new hoodie or crew neck at every turn, it was evident Dreamville Fest has not lost any of its appeal.

Here are some of our favorite moments and performances from Dreamville Fest 2024:

Teezo Touchdown

Simply put, Teezo Touchdown is a must-see performer and, in one word, eccentric. Sporting an outfit featuring full-sized football shoulder pads with nails protruding from all sides, Teezo entertained the crowd with humor and intensity, keeping eyes glued to the artist throughout his 10-song set.

“You’ve got to take a second in life to laugh at yourself,” Teezo told the crowd with a smile after taking a tumble during his opener.

Texas rapper/singer Teezo Touchdown performing early afternoon on the Rise Stage Saturday at Dreamville Fest. Photo: Shaun Llewellyn

Blending alternative rock and hip-hop, the Texas-born artist has collaborated with Drake, Travis Scott, Janelle Monáe and Tyler the Creator, and released his debut album, How Do You Sleep At Night, in 2023. He opened with the single “5 O’Clock” and followed with “OK” and “You Thought” (featuring Janelle Monáe). 

At the close of his set, he threw the same flower bouquet that decorated his mic into the crowd as he ended with the 2020 hit single, “Social Cues.” Teezo’s infectious energy was just the beginning of a star-studded Saturday evening. 

“5 O’Clock”
“You Thought”
“Third Coast”
“7969 Santa”
“Social Cues”


If you’re looking for bells and whistles or glitz and glamor, you might not find J.I.D’s set amusing. But, if you’re looking for a true lyricist who is going to spit each verse with razor-sharp precision, look no further than this East Atlanta rapper. After minutes of the crowd relentlessly chanting his name, J.I.D’s impressive vocal range and breath control were on full display from the jump. Opening his set with an unreleased song, J.I.D followed with the Revenge of the Dreamers III hit “Down Bad” and “Off Deez,” from second studio album, DiCaprio 2. 

East Atlanta rapper J.I.D performing Saturday evening at Dreamville Fest. Photo: Shaun Llewellyn

For the third year running, J.I.D’s “Stick” was the highlight of his performance, creating what felt like a minor earthquake for those surrounding the stage, complete with an enthralling keytar solo. Aretha Franklin’s “One Step Ahead” and the sample that was made famous by Mos Def’s “Ms. Fat Booty” echoed through the park, setting up J.I.D’s “Surround Sound,” which concluded his thrilling set. 

Unreleased Song
“Kody Blu 31”
“Down Bad”
“Off Deez”
“Off da Zoinkys”
“Crack Sandwich”
“Workin Out”
“Dance Now”
“151 Rum”
“One Step Ahead” / “Ms. Fat Booty” / “Surround Sound”

Rae Sremmurd

It felt like 2016 all over again– in the best way. Rae Sremmurd’s lively performance ensured there were no Mannequin Challenges for the self-proclaimed “Black Beatles’” first appearance in Raleigh since 2018. Brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi reminded the crowd of exactly how many hit songs the duo had under its belt, and the audience was elated with the first beat of each track. Backed by a full band, the duo took the stage with “No Type” and delivered one of the weekend’s best performances during the Sunday 5:30 p.m. slot. It was also the last performance of the day and featured no sound issues. 

Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi of Rae Sremmurd brought the energy during their 13-song set showcasing their deep catalog of hits. Photo: Izzy Nuzzo

Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi played 13 songs, highlighted by the Jhene Aiko and Lee collab, “Sativa,” and the mega-hit, “Sunflower,” from the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack. Lee even walked through the crowd during the set-concluding performance of “Powerglide,” marking one of the highlights of the weekend.

“No Type”
“Come Get Her”
“No Flex Zone”
“This Could Be Us”
“Brxnks Truck”
“Not So Bad (Leans Gone Cold)”
“Black Beatles”
“Throw Sum Mo”

J. Cole

Microphone issues plagued J. Cole’s set from his first line– which was also the first live performance of “Crocodile Tearz,” from his Might Delete Later project. Following the intro, Cole fired off a clip of the classics featuring “Middle Child,” “Wet Dreamz,” “A Tale of 2 Citiez,” “G.O.M.D.,” and “Power Trip.” He then welcomed a slew of guests to the stage including Jeremih, 6LACK, Benny the Butcher, Lil Yachty, and Central Cee, plus the usual cast of Dreamville artists. All joined to play features with Cole, as well as a few select songs from their own catalogs in front of the 50,000-plus fans during the final headlining set. 

J. Cole was joined by several special guests including Jeremih, 6LACK, Benny the Butcher, Lil Yachty, Central Cee, and usual cast of Dreamville artists. Photo: Adolfo Suarez / CLTure

The set design was far more impressive than past years with landmarks from his hometown of Fayetteville as well as Cole’s old black Honda Civic parked in the middle of the stage. 

“I don’t know how many more Dreamville Festivals I got in me,” Cole said on multiple occasions, resulting in an array of boos from the crowd. 

The 39-year-old rapper also addressed his recent release, “7 Minute Drill,” which was a response to Kendrick Lamar’s verse on “Like That,” stating the diss track was the “lamest, goofiest shit.” Cole was vocal between songs throughout much of the 100-minute set, addressing his relationship with each artist to take the stage, including the lengthy apology to Lamar. While the apology has been magnified and polarized by social media, Cole spoke about prioritizing peace and brought the raucous crowd back to equilibrium with a phone-lit performance of “Love Yourz.” As he’s known to do annually, Cole ended with a bang. “No Role Modelz” blared through the park as a lengthy fireworks show lit up the Raleigh sky, signifying the conclusion of the festival. 

“Crocodile Tearz”
“Wet Dreamz”
“A Tale of 2 Citiez”
“Power Trip”
“Planez” (with Jeremih)
“Oui” (Jeremih)
“Pretty Little Fears” (with 6LACK)
“Nonchalant” (6LACK)
“Johnny P’s Caddy” (with Benny the Butcher)
“Rubber Bands & Weight” (Benny the Butcher)
“The Secret Recipe” (with Lil Yachty)
“Strike (Holster)” (Lil Yachty)
“Under the Sun” (with Lute, Bas, Cozz, EarthGang, and Omen)
“Down Bad” (with Bas, Cozz, EarthGang, and Omen)
“H.Y.B.” (with Bas and Central Cee)
“Sprinter” (Central Cee)
“Doja” (Central Cee)
“The London”
“a lot”
“All My Life” (with Lil Durk)
“Back in Blood” (Lil Durk)
“Love Yourz”
“No Role Modelz”


With Minaj’s fashionably late arrival and Ari Lennox’s first absence at the festival, Dreamville 2024 needed a queen. SZA donned the crown with ease, putting on the best performance of the weekend to conclude opening night. In her second appearance at Dreamville Fest (first since 2019), SZA commanded the crowd’s attention with each move, showing off her vocal range, curves and choreography– backed by a stellar group of dancers and a full band.

SZA enchanted the audience with her vocal range, dancers, and live band at Dreamville Fest. Photo: Marcus McDonald

The 34-year-old R&B artist started her set with “Seek & Destroy,” from her Grammy Award-winning second studio album, SOS, seemingly dealing with some technical difficulties. SZA’s dance moves kept the crowd’s energy up, as she followed up with “Love Galore” from 2017’s Ctrl, and “Low,” featuring a ride on a makeshift wrecking ball as she serenaded the crowd. A replica boat centered the stage throughout her performance, complemented by an ocean background visual, which shifted to a sunset as SZA closed day one with fan favorite, “Good Days.”

SZA enchanted the audience with her vocal range and stage presence, featuring various guitar solos and splendid musical moments from her band. Despite the hordes of people that packed the 308-acre park, the New Jersey singer’s set had a small venue feel– intimate and memorable. 

“Seek & Destroy”
“Ghost in the Machine”
“All the Stars”
“Normal Girl”
“Nobody Gets Me”
“Kiss Me More”
“I Hate U”
“Kill Bill”
“The Weekend”
“Rich Baby Daddy”
“Good Days”

Read next: 

In this article