11 November, 2012@8:43 am
Philly’s Meek Mill has had quite a breakthrough year, after signing with Rick Ross’ MMG imprint. Over the years, we’ve seen new rappers struggle to keep up with their father emcees, many times just regulated to being another number on a highly populated label roster. Not so for Meek Mill, whom has branched out on his own, thanks to a string of successful singles that have ruled the club over the last year. Each “I’m A Boss”, “House Party”, “Burn” (feat. Big Sean), and most recently “Amen” (feat. Drake) have been on constant rotation in the nightlife scene, suggesting that Meek Mill’s MMG debut, Dreams & Nightmares would be a seminal release for the upstart rapper.
But with so many mixtapes and compilations released from Meek Mill and his camp recently, the problem is that all but one of those scorching hot tracks were not used to push Dreams & Nightmares, leaving the full length largely devoid of the young emcee’s best material to date. The album does in fact still contain a handful of standout moments, such as “Maybach Curtains”, easily his classiest track, as Rick Ross, Nas, and John Legend help Meek take things down a notch, from the rest of the album’s overly agressive tone. The same can be said for “Traumatized”, where Meek Mill reveals the most about his past, professing vengeance on his father’s killer, with bloodlust of his own. This later manifests itself in a metaphorical sense on the fictional account “Tony Story Pt. 2″, that examines a history of violence.
But as mentioned before, Meek’s Scrappy Doo-esque persona finds him all too often blindly leaping into the fray, with lyrical fists swinging, not paying attention to whether or not his punches land. The intro track is the perfect example of this, “Dreams and Nightmares”, which finds him switching the pace midway to abrasive dick-waving braggadocio, while the themes of flossing, drug dealing, and stray bullets are explored ad naseum on each “In God We Trust”, “Believe It” (this album’s “BMF”), and “Polo & Shell Tops”. Unfortunately, he fails when he tries to pull back and replicate the commercial success found on his earlier hits with the autotuned-out “Young & Gettin’ It” or what sounds like the theme to Gangland 35, “Lay Up” (feat. Wale, Rick Ross, and Trey Songz), as four dudes tell one chick how they’ll turn her out.
Meek Mill showed a lot of promise coming out the gate, but sorely lets us down with Dreams & Nightmares. While still young at his craft, he’s found ways to harness his talent correctly in his past, but unfortunately most of those moments were not saved for his debut. While this album is a disappointment, his career is still fresh enough to yield greater results later down the line.
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