Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A 'Dream' And A 'Nightmare'

I want to start with being completely honest for a second: I, at first, didn't think much of him. Granted, I am a die hard fan of fellow MMG artist and label boss (insert guttural grunt here) Rick Ross. But I thought that Meek Mill would be relegated to the sort role that has befallen every artist on Young Money (provided you're not Drake, Nicki, or Tyga)-a background rapper who is just in the music videos inexplicably.

It was Dreamchasers 2 that opened my eyes to his talent. That and the banger "Amen" with the aforementioned Drake.

I also fell in love with the features.

This led me towards Meek's debut syudio album Dreams And Nightmares. The Philadelphia native tells the stories with a delivery and a gravitas I previously thought impossible of him. That was foolish of me.

"Dreams And Nightmares" is the title track of the album and begins the album well. It is gritty and has a certain reality to it that is present for the rest of the LP. It begins with a soft piano playing and Meek telling what I imagine is a personal indictment of his rise from rags to the riches. I've always been a sucker for these and this is no different. Wait, it is. Where it differs is the moment where the bass drops and grows into a heavy hip-hop track. That caught me off guard based on the first minute.

To be honest, I don't like "Young And Gettin' It". It's nothing Meek or Kirko Bangz did. I liked it once but popular hip-hop radio killed it for me. Shame, really. The track is rather fun.

"Traumatized" is...wow. I know I'm usually more eloquent than that but here I have no words to describe it. Then again, I could say how the refrain of "I know..." invades the track and accents the pain of what Meek is saying about his life. Or I could maybe say how Meek's furious delivery is on full tilt here. I'd say that if I had the words.

"Maybach Curtains" is a must for your listening pleasure. That sweet sound of John Legend on the hook does something to you from the first night. Don't even get me started with the music itself. It is soul, hot jazz, and hip-hop in an audible orgy that keeps you coming back for more. It's a story of being wealthy and looking back at where you've come from. Assisting Meek on this one is the everpresent Rick Ross and Queens native Nas.

My favorite track of them all would have to be "Who You're Around". Here Meek is joined by the fabulous vocals of Mary J. Blige on the hook. The story here is taken from that old adage that has proven right over and over again. You know the one-"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." The hook manifests it perfectly:

Somebody who you're around/Wants to clip your wings/And shoot you down/But it's OK to keep enemies close/As long you know, just make sure you know/Who you're around

Meek goes on to speak of friends he lost to fame and fortune, a story that happens when anyone finds a certain measure of sucess.

A few more standout tracks include "Lay Up" and "Tony Story (Pt. 2)".

All and all Meek Mill brings a powerful debut and makes me hungry for what's next.

written by

Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine

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