The Eagles have their soundtrack: They’ll be running onto the field to Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)” for the Super Bowl.
NFL.com reported the news, speaking to members of the Eagles defensive line. Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham explained the decision this way: “If you’re going to go with a Philly song, that’s the one you’re going with.”
The song was played frequently at the NFC Championships, where many players hyped themselves up to the track between snaps. And after the NFC Championships, streams of “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)” surged on Amazon Music and Spotify. Comparing week to week data, “Dreams and Nightmares” got 150 percent more streams on Amazon Music nationally, and 250 percent locally during the week following the NFC Championship. On Spotify, streams of the track went up by 145 percent in the U.S. the day after the game, and by 286 percent in town. Spotify saw the largest spike during rush hour, with local streams 1,047 percent higher than comparable times from the week before.
For a song that’s more than five years old, these leaps are not the norm.
“Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)” has been a hype song for the Eagles, albeit unofficially, during their run to the Super Bowl. Mill was happy to learn of the song’s popularity for the team. “It really lifted my spirit to hear the team rally around my songs because that’s why I make music. To inspire others and bring people together,” said Mill in a statement last week. “The Eagles have also motivated me with the way they’ve overcome tough situations and injuries to succeed this year.”
The song was first released in 2012, to open the album of the same name. It wasn’t the album’s first single, but it crept its way into widespread popularity, seen as a club scorcher. It achieved an even higher regard among hip hop fans in 2014 when Drake gave glowing praise for the song on Twitter: “Dreams and Nightmares Intro really one of the best rap moments of our generation… .” This was before the rappers became embroiled in their infamous beef.
Dreams and Nightmares Intro really one of the best rap moments of our generation…
— Drizzy (@Drake) April 30, 2014
With the underdogs-rise theme in its lyrics, and bildungsroman-style storytelling, the song has drawn comparisons to both Rocky theme “Gonna Fly Now” and the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” a hip hop classic. After Mill was sentenced to prison time for probation violations in November, a crowd of fans rapped “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)” word-for-word at a local protest.
Not everyone is happy with the Eagles’ appreciation for the song, though. Before its selection for the Super Bowl, Inquirer and Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong decried its status as an unofficial Eagles anthem: “When you celebrate winning the NFC Championship with a song that glorifies murder and sexual promiscuity, that’s beneath you. It looks bad.”
John Morrison, a DJ, writer, and local hip hop expert, is a fan. He said the song now has an enduring place in local culture. “It became a phenomenon for our local culture that is even bigger than the song itself,” said Morrison. “If you live here or move here, you gotta learn the lyrics to ‘Dreams and Nightmares.’ That’s like getting your ID at PennDOT; that’s what makes you official. It’s become this symbol for life in Philadelphia, especially black life in this city.”
Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett also spoke to NFL.com of the choice. “It just gets us going,” he said. “It gives us good energy. Just a little extra juice.”