Over the last eight months, Meek Mill’s body of work has been remarkable. His Dream Chasers 2 mixtape was one of the most downloaded projects in history with over 3 million downloads on Datpiff.com. Plus, he’s been co-signed by some of industry’s best, Jay-Z and Nas. With that, it’s not surprising that his debut album Dreams & Nightmares, was one of the most anticipated releases this year.
The album starts out with the piano-driven-yet bass-heavy title track, then transitions to “In God we Trust” and “Young and Gettin’ It.” All three on which Meek sticks to his script: semi-autobiographical street tales of slanging and selling, braggadocious rhyme stanzas about getting money and women basically living the “American Dream” hood life of an up and coming rap star.
Not until “Traumatized” does the listener begin to get somewhat of a glimpse into Meek’s struggles, as he details the deaths of family members. After the 808 club rocker “Believe It,” “Maybach Curtains” is the second time his boss Rick Ross shows up, but he decided to give this beat to Meek. Instead of Ross keeping ‘Maybach Music 5′ for his album, Meek Mill just gave it a different title, because it seemed to be the theme like the past “Maybach Music” songs. “Tony’s Story Pt. 2” is a finer example of impressive storytelling continuing from where he left off on the original track on the Dream Chasers mixtape, Meek paints a vivid picture of Philly’s grim reality. His storytelling isn’t as descriptive or genius as Kendrick Lamar’s work on Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, yet it works for Meek’s specific content.
Meek’s debut album is reflective of his transition from rags to riches. The buzz factor has been nonstop since he was announced as being part of the label Maybach Music Group, under the helm of everyone’s favorite C.O.(Correctional Officer) turned crack rapper, Rick Ross. Along with a stable of emcees that include D.C.’s Wale and Ohio’s Stalley, among others.
Dreams and Nightmares isn’t a classic or a failure. It’s consistent with what Meek has delivered; gritty street tales over tenacious production. The album features big names including Drake, Mary J. Blige, Nas, John Legend and fellow MMG labelmates Wale and Rick Ross. Production is provided by the likes of Boi-1-da, The Renegades, and Jahlil Beats.
Meek Mill’s main strengths as an artist are that he knows to stay in his lane, playing it safe and sticking to the street rhyme fare that many fans seem to be craving again.
Sadly, the hype machine has claimed another victim. Still, from prison to major label debut, its not too bad from a kid from Philly. You’ve got to respect any man who’s managed to turn his nightmares into dreams.