Why is Meek Mill yelling at me? For one hour, on his debut album, Dreams and Nightmares, the MMG affiliate does nothing but shout about his past. Is this how he talks as well? He rolls with Ross, why doesn’t he talk about similar luxuries? No yacht rap to be seen on this flop. Is he like the Pusha T to Kanye? Then where are the clever lines?
And what do we know about Meek Mill? We know that the Philly native has dealt with drugs, guns, and a little prison time in the past, but what do we know about him now? What does he have to say? Does the listener know any things that he enjoys doing? When he first starting going off on Rick Ross tracks, he came across as new, fresh, and clever, a solid contrast to the smoothed-out King Ross. But now, a few years later, he has nothing to show for it. The self-titled, introductory track has the most lyrical content on the entire album. It’s no doubt that Meek Mill can rap, but even at his finest on the album, he talks about nothing but his past. I’m not sure if Meek knows who he is. A few singles with the Bawse and a really enjoyable back-and-forth track with a shining Big Sean (a bonus track on this album) doesn’t make the greatest portfolio.
This album runs like a typical big label debut hip-hop album. Numerous big names to attract the unfamiliar listener (see: Rick Ross on three tracks), the radio friendly track with Drake (see also: Kendrick’s debut, 2 Chainz’s debut). Throw John Legend on a chorus, have a Nas feature that is a throwaway, and you have Meek Mill’s album. Thanks, Warner! We can also thank Warner for allowing Wale to open Curren$y’s otherwise enjoyable debut album, The Stoned Immaculate.
The Maybach Music Group has a respectable lineup, but nothing really overwhelming to show yet. This is unfortunate, because Rick Ross is the man. Wale has done nothing to blow me away. French Montana is huge right now, but where’s his album? Even the Self Made 1 & 2 were mediocre and uneven. It is pretty obvious that they have label problems. With Ross, look at the masterpiece mixtape Rich Forever and the major label slightly above average God Forgives, I Don’t. Now look at Meek Mill’s pretty enjoyable Dreamchasers 2 (with an amazing Kendrick verse, as well as introducing the Drake song “Amen” and the Big Sean song “Burn”) and the major label disaster Dreams and Nightmares.
Every song wants so badly to be a hit single. To sound like everyone else. The production is expected, the lines are dull. This album does nothing to move the hip-hop world forward. Meek even gives auto-tune a shot. Really? The only strong part of this album (despite the big time features) is the track “Tony Story, Part 2”, mainly because it sounds different the rest of the album. It has a distant Meek Mill and a thunderstorm of a Boi-1da beat. But at this point in the album, about 2/3 through, the dream is already lost. In this wonderful hip-hop era of progression and artistic creativity, forward movement and freedom is what it’s all about, and that’s damn near non-existent here.