When I find the nigga that killed my daddy I’ma ride
Hope you hear me, I’ma kill you nigga
Just to let you know I don’t feel you nigga
Yeah, you ripped my family apart and made my mama cry
So when I see you nigga its gonna be a homicide
Catchy flow? Check. Hard hitting bars? Check. Creative lyrics? Check. Street credibility? Triple check. With his meteoric rise to the top, Meek Mill has come from a Grand Hustle after thought, to MMG’s new golden boy. With cosigns from the likes of Nas, 2 Chainz, and Mary J. Blige, his debut album Dreams and Nightmares helps to cement Maybach Music as one of the hottest labels out. The features on this album include Drake, Big Sean, Trey Songz, Wale, Kirko Bangz and the three aforementioned artists. The quality and quantity of these artists on a debut album speaks to Meek’s popularity and Rick Ross’ marketing prowess.
Dreams and Nightmares reveals Meek Mill’s life story, the successes and failures, from the early loss of his parents, to being raised by the streets of North Philadelphia, to his new found fame. This tale is eloquently captured on the cover of the album, a diamond encrusted watch chained to a handcuff, his dreams and nightmares.
From the first track on, Meek is determined to convey his struggle to the listener. He laces the Tone the Beat Bully production with a triumphant expression of his dreams, shouting:
I did it without an album,
I did shit with Mariah, Lil nigga I’m on fire,
Icey as a hockey rink, Philly nigga I’m flyer
From its light piano looped intro, the beat descends into a typical MMG banger, and Meek comes with his standard verbal assault. He describes how his upbrining in the streets and some of the sinister tasks he has completed have brought him to the current situation he finds himself in:
They gon remember me, I say remember me
So much money turn your friends into your enemies,
and when its beef I turn my enemies to memories
Part of Meek’s appeal is that he connects with a variety of hip hop fans; his subject matter appeals to the most gutter of fans, he picks beats that get any club popping, all while his lyrical talent, progression, and potential have begun to attract the interest of many traditional hip hop heads. These skills really shine through well on this album, and are showcased on songs like ‘Traumatized,’ ‘Believe It (I got that Justin Bieber),’ and ‘Young Kings’.
However, this album suffers from an all too common problem that is extremely prevalent in music today: They released too many songs as singles before the album dropped. Similar to a movie trailer containing all the best scenes, 3 (Burn, Amen, and the Intro) of the top 6 or 7 tracks either dropped, or were leaked significantly before the release. While they are all good songs and add to the the album’s marketability, I wish I hadn’t already heard them 20 times already. Yet, even with this issue the album is a very strong debut, and Meek will make tons a new fans with its release.
As an aside, I personally want to thank Meek for making ‘Tony’s Story (Pt. 2)’, a smart move considering how well the original ‘Tony’s Story’ was received. Meek does not disappoint and continues to flesh out the tale, while displaying his own story telling ability on this harrowing track.