By Joshua Jackson
Now more than ever, artists are being evaluated for the traits that made them famous in the first place. Kanye West is always under a microscope for his innovation. Fans of J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar have come to expect a certain level of conscious lyricism. For Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill, his energy when delivering his rhymes has become his staple.
In 2012, Meek Mill released his debut album Dreams and Nightmares, which opened with an intense, ever building title track and features from the likes of Drake and Rick Ross. Unfortunately, the week before, Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City was released and pushed Dreams and Nightmares to the back burner for many listeners searching for an album with longevity. Fast forward to 2015, Meek Mill has returned with his sophomore effort Dreams Worth More Than Money and the energy he places in this album is more than enough to encourage over a week’s worth of listening.
As per usual with a Meek Mill project, the opening track tosses listeners straight into the fire. His demands have always been simple and clear as the first line states all he ever wanted was a “new Mercedes.” With this, Meek Mill begins a 14-song journey through parts of his past, present and glimpses into the future.
Accompanying his energetic delivery are Meek Mill’s narrative abilities found in many of the songs on DWMTM. While the tropes of gun bars, women and how much money one has acquired has filled a large part of hip hop, the way Meek Mill presents these from such a personal standpoint makes the songs much more believable and connectable to his audience.
Songs such as “Jump Out the Face” and “The Trillest” are made for a certain group of people. Those who have known the struggles of life or are still struggling while keeping sight of their goals will find common ground with these tracks.
Meek Mill does try something new with more pop and R&B tracks and a few references to iconic rappers Tupac and Biggie. Even when trying to show a softer side of himself, Meek Mill manages to come out tough.
Certainly there are a few tracks that can be forgotten or get repetitive, but there’s a whole lot of good on DWMTM to cover for the bad including a wealth of features.
Collaborations from Drake, Chris Brown, Diddy, The Weeknd and two appearances from girlfriend Nicki Minaj all show up on the album. But it isn’t the collaborations that make this record his best project thus far.
What really makes Meek Mill a star is his confidence in himself and his knowledge of what works best for his brand. He appears to be on an upward trend of perfecting this. Between recognizing that he’ll always have a hunger for the top and telling his life story, Meek Mill has garnered many fans and received the praise of fellow rappers. But even this level of fame, his own record label and a relationship with Nicki Minaj are enough for him and each project continues this trend.
In a summer where most major rap releases have been a little slower and gloomy, Meek Mill has dropped a project that doesn’t require a whole lot of thought but results in a lot of fun for the listener. Sometimes that’s all anyone needs.