Meek Mill has come a long way and at the age of 25 he has accumulated quite the resume. Meek has landed contracts both at his previous home of T.I.’s Grand Hustle label imprint as well as his current home at Rick Ross’s MMG crew, snagged a large amount of high profile guest spots in 2011, acquired nation-wide radio spins, gained over 1 million Twitter followers, received big time industry cosigns, and even got featured on the (semi) coveted XXL Freshman Class magazine cover. But what do we really know about this Philly native? If you have paid attention to the majority of his work, he tends to keep the details personal life scarce, presumably to keep up his persona. In “Lean Wit It”, Mill raps “Call me anything, don’t call me by my government,”. For any other emcee, this would not be a telling lyric by any means. However, for a rapper that rarely speaks on his past beyond the street corner, you get the feeling that he is intentionally keeping his audience at bay. On his most recent mixtape, Dreamchasers, you do get a few moments in which he reveals a bit about his journey to success on tracks like “Middle Of Da Summer”, and “Love Don’t Live Here”. We all know that Mill’s most exciting moments come with hard hitting, bumping production, but in these rarer instances he shows some substance and immediately becomes a more versatile artist because of it.
But you all came here for a reason, and that is to read up on Mill’s latest release, Dreamchasers 2. Let’s be real, it would be a lie if I said Meek Mill threw us a curve ball with this latest project. But really, was anybody asking for that? What makes this artist’s music so exciting and listenable is not his ability to shock the audience or give them some prophetic “future of rap” statement. Meek Mill’s appeal lies in his catchy lyricism, his energetic rapping style, and his knack at giving the listeners what they want.
Starting off with the tracklist, this thing is pretty feature heavy. You have basically all of rap’s current tastemakers here, including Drake, 2 Chainz, Wale, Rick Ross, Mac Miller, Kendrick Lamar, and more. Too many features can often be a hindrance to a project, but for a mixtape that is essentially a precursor for Meek’s debut release, you can chalk it up to Rick Ross trying to market Meek Mill to a bigger audience. On the intro track, we hear Meek spitting some dirty, braggadocios bars over some threatening and epic sounding production. The intro really sets the scene for the rest of the tape, with menacingly dark horns and bass that pierces through the vocal sample in the background. Immediately following the intro, we get “Ready Or Not”, which is Meek’s most concise message yet. He succeeds at tying in the “Dreamchaser” idea into the track, rapping about how fame has already left him feeling jaded over an uplifting yet melancholy beat that lets Meek vent effectively. “And lately I been gettin faded/ Cut a couple homies off cause them niggas hatin’/And all these bitches wanna fuck me cause a nigga made it/ I’m gettin paper, heart cold as the refrigerator”. Not exactly the most original or thought provoking lyrics, but it feels like a breath of fresh air in the world that Meek occupies within his music.
The next two tracks, “Amen”, which features a show stealing verse from Drake as well as some fantastic vintage Kanye-esque production, and “Burn” which has Big Sean and Meek trading off some very dope bars, are two early gems from the mixtape which have potential to become staples for the summertime. I’d be doing a disservice to you hip-hop heads out there if I didn’t mention the next track, “A1 Everything” which features hip-hop savior, Kendrick Lamar. It’s refreshing to hear these two up-and-coming stars on a track together, especially considering the differences in their styles. The production is heavy, effecting, and dark, and it would be hard to give Kendrick’s verse the justice it deserves by simply quoting lines. You really just have to listen for yourself.
One of the highlights of the mixtape comes about halfway through the project in the form of the song “Big Dreams”, which finally evens out the high octane energy of Dreamchasers 2 a bit. Meek touches on his past struggles with his family, the police, and having to sell drugs to chase his million dollar dreams. All Star handles the production here. The sparse but bright keyboard chords and live-sounding percussion kit come together in a way that assist in expressing the rawness of Meek’s tales of the street. “Couldn’t blame us, they were trying to chain us/ We was trying to fix the roof leak when it was raining/ We was trying to keep the house warm when Winter came in/ But they would rather detain us, lock us in cells with strangers”. I wish that Meek tried more often to show this side of his story. It’s clear to see he has a lot to say and that he can easily paint a picture in his lyrics with substance rather than brag-raps.
“Take U Home” featuring Big Sean and Wale, exhibits Meek trying something new by giving an ode to the ladies, which is, admittedly, a decent track, but it doesn’t feel like something Meek really needed or even wanted to do, as the only time he appears is during the first verse. “House Party Remix” which features Fabolous, Wale, and Mac Miller, as well as a slightly altered beat, is definitely an improvement on the original track that is sure to get radio spins in the near future. Mac Miller also comes through with a dope verse, injecting some new energy into the song.
All in all, Dreamchasers 2 will give fans of Meek Mill exactly what they came for, and there are definitely a fair amount of tracks with some replay value here. For those who were either not fans of Meek or were on the fence about him, there unfortunately is not enough on this project to make a compelling argument that will convert them into dedicated fans. Dreamchasers 2 is a fun and engaging listen, but I get the feeling that this mixtape could have had the same effect or maybe even have felt stronger if it was a bit leaner. I felt like the message could have been cohesive and consistent if there were a few less tracks here to break up the ideas that were scattered up into pieces throughout the mixtape. Meek Mill excels when he speaks on things that really matter to him, and by replacing a few of the hectic tracks with ones that slow things down, this project might have done more for Meek’s artistic vision. However, it isn’t as if Meek was attempting to change the game or create a classic with Dreamchasers 2. The project was more of a chance for Meek to gain some attention and hold everyone over until his debut commerical offering, Dreams and Nightmares, drops on August 28th. At the very least, it is safe to say that Meek Mill has provided good evidence with Dreamchasers 2 that he has not only carved out a lane for himself, but that he is improving as an artist, and that he has a lot of potential and room to grow.
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Posted By: Skeeter