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Meek Mill’s Solo Album Displays Attitude, But Lackluster Overall

Associate Arts & Review Editor

Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

Dreams and Nightmares—yet another MMG artist album—is rapper Meek Mill’s first solo album, his first big jump from accompaniment to the big time solo career. His fans have been highly anticipating the fruits of his labor. In typical MMG fashion, the album features a repertoire of artists (mostly the same as the last three MMG artist albums), including Drake, Rick Ross, and John Legend, a seemingly out-of-place character that has over time solidified his position as a go-to random addition to the MMG crew’s work.

The album’s most widely praised track is “Amen,” featuring Drake. Its poppy (enough) vibe makes it an obvious choice for a first single, and as of late, anything that Drake touches reaches Top 40 radio in some way, shape, or form, whether with full air time or being a feature in a hip-hop radio station’s custom mixes. The interesting, subtle instrumentals that have a little Mase-meets-Welcome Back Kotter vibe (think Mase’s track “Welcome Back” instrumentals) add an interesting dimension to a track that could be perceived as just your average rap song. While there’s nothing impressive about the rhymes in this track, each successful rap song needs at least one marketable and wide-reaching track. “Amen” is certainly that for Dreams and Nightmares. Drake’s prophetic, quick “Preach!” at the end of each of Meek Mill’s verses is catchy.

“Believe It,” featuring Rick Ross, is certainly the most aggressive track on Dreams and Nightmares, also making it the standout track. This is undoubtedly Rick Ross at his absolute best. The rhymes that he spits over throbbing beats are delivered to near perfection on this track with raw attitude that he exhibited in his early days. Perhaps it has gotten a bit watered down as of late in the majority of his tracks. The rap team of Meek Mill and Rick Ross is, as we all know from other projects they have under their belt together, fantastic, and this song may be the apex of that harmonious artistry. Hats off for Rick Ross supporting Meek Mill on his first solo pursuit.

The decision to include Mary J. Blige as an accompanying artist is entirely out of place on “Who You’re Around,” a story that presents the difficulty of the thug life and the ever present threat of enemies constantly wanting to “cut you down.” Her voice is beautiful as always, but the song just doesn’t work for the plain fact that it’s been done before: a raw rapper paired with the soulful, angelic voice of an R&B princess. The last and most notable example of this would be “I Need a Doctor” by Eminem and Dr. Dre featuring Skylar Grey, and frankly, it should end there. Not every rap album needs this archetypical track.

In one of the few tracks that Meek Mill has the spotlight on him alone, “In God We Trust” serves as the album’s example of what Meek Mill is about in his essence. While the track does touch on the arguably overdone topics of rap, it’s one of the album’s strengths. Meek Mill is a rapper with an aggressive (yet extremely appreciated) delivery. He can’t really be watered down despite being paired with others. Even alongside Mary J. Blige, he maintained his own. The album needed more of Meek Mill alone in the spotlight, since it is his solo album. This track is a spot-on hit. While it may not get air time on Top 40 pop radio or be the track that everyone remembers off of Dreams and Nightmares, if Meek Mill’s next album features more “In God We Trusts”-type rhymes and almost borderline exhausting delivery, there may be good things in his solo future, making him another MMG power.

For fans of Dreams and Nightmares, Meek Mill or the MMG crew in general, the sure to be over-the-top and entertaining MMG concert tour will be making a stop in nearby Providence, R.I. later this month, and will definitely to hit on all the MMG chart-toppers.

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