Meek Mill is a 31 year old rapper from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who started out as a battle rapper & then became a Rick Ross protege at the beginning of the decade. He’s had a series of ups & downs throughout his career from his critically acclaimed Dreamchasers mixtapes to his beef with Drake & an unjustful conviction last November (for which he was freed in April of this year). Meek made his official return to the music scene with his 5th EP Legends of the Summer but as the end of November has approached, he’s coming back with his 4th full-length album.
The intro cut on here ferociously claps back at those who prayed on his downfall over a flawless sample of the classic Phil Collins song “In the Air Tonight” while the next track “Trauma” touches down on racial injustice over an ambitious trap beat. The song “Uptown Vibes” with Fabolous & Anuel AA talks about people who try to steal their waves over a latin-infused beat while the track “On Me” with Cardi B gets raunchy over a generic trap beat. The song “What’s Free?” sees Meek alongside Ross & JAY-Z explaining what freedom is to them over some strings & hi-hats while the track “Respect the Game” is essentially about how becoming rich has impacted him personally over a trap beat with a prominent piano sample.
The song “Splash Warning” with Future, Young Thug & Roddy Ricch is a nondescript party anthem while the title track talks about beating the system over a jazzy beat. The song “Going Bad” with Drake sees the 2 flexing for old times sake over a bass-heavy keyboard instrumental from Wheezy while the track “Almost Slipped” is an awkward ballad about how he almost fell in love with a hoe. The song “Tic Tac Toe” sees Meek charismatically bragging over a triumphant Tay Keith instrumental while the track “24/7” is a smooth sex anthem with a clever sample of Beyoncé’s “Me, Myself & I” throughout.
The song “Oodles O’ Noodles Babies” recalls his upbringings over a soulful beat while the track “Pay You Back” with 21 Savage sees the 2 talking about how they have shooters over an apocalyptic Wheezy beat. The song “100 Summers” talks about his mother & his friends over a mellow Hit-Boy instrumental while the track “W.T.S. (With The Shits)” with Melii is a concept joint about this girl frontin’ on him over an instrumental that sounds like it could’ve landed on Lil Pump’s self-titled debut. The song “Stuck in My Ways” talks about how he’ll always be chasing that paper over a spacious trap beat from Cardo while the penultimate track “Dangerous” with Jeremih originally appeared on Legends of the Summer & it still sounds as corny as it did when I originally heard it back in July. The album then finishes with “Cold Hearted II”, which serves as a fantastic sequel to the closing track off of Meek’s 2015 sophomore album Dreams Worth More Than Money with a sample of “I Was Never There” off of The Weeknd’s latest EP My Dear Melancholy,.
I’ve been a little harsh on Meek’s recent output, but I have to be fair & say that this is his best project in a while. Sure there are a small handful of filler tracks, but Meek is at his most mature for the good amount of the time on here.