Before the start of the NFC Championship Sunday, Meek Mill's "Dreams and Nightmares" blasted on the speakers at Lincoln Financial Field, and the Eagles and their home fans could not get any hyper as they sang along to the first record of the Philadelphia rapper's debut album.
After the Eagles picked up a 38-7 win over the Vikings to secure the team's third trip to the Super Bowl, "Dreams and Nightmares" was back on the speakers, but this time in Philadelphia's locker room as coach Doug Pederson looked around at his excited players rapping along in celebration of their demolition of the NFL's top defense.
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Since Mill's debut album "Dreams and Nightmares" dropped in late 2012, the title track has become an unofficial anthem for people throughout the Philadelphia area. Whether at sporting events, concerts or any other place with large crowds of people looking to have a good time, there is a good chance that record will be played and the crowd will sing along.
Recently, the song has carried even more weight in light of the rapper's legal troubles. In November, he was sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating probation in relation to a 2008 gun and drug case.
"I’m so proud of my Eagles for making the Super Bowl and representing the city of Philadelphia," Mill said in a statement sent to SI.com. "It really lifted my spirit to hear the team rally around my songs and that’s why I make music—to inspire others and bring people together. But the Eagles have also motivated me with the way they’ve overcome tough situations and injuries to succeed this year. That’s why I’m confident my guys are going to beat the Patriots and bring the Super Bowl trophy to Philly."
The rapper has received support from from many who view his punishment as excessive because the prosecutor called for no prison time. 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin testified on his behalf, Colin Kaepernick met with him in prison and former 76ers star Julius Erving and Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins were present at a rally to protest his imprisonment.
Mill is currently in a medium-security prison in Chester, Pa.