Meek Mill – “Expensive Pain” review

Meek Mill is a 34 year old MC & songwriter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who started out in the battle circuit before T.I. briefly signed him to Grand Hustle Records. Once he left, Rick Ross brought him over to Maybach Music Group & has continued to make himself at home over there to this day. Throughout the last decade, we’ve seen a handful of ups & downs in his career. The critically acclaimed Dreamchasers mixtape series, his beef with Drake & who could forget where he was sentenced to 6 years in prison by a corrupt judge only to be released 5 months later? Meek’s last album Championships was seen as his most mature body of work yet despite being a tad bit bloated but after 3 years of singles & EPs, he’s finally following it up with his 5th full-length album.

“Hate on Me” kicks things off with Cardo sampling the Nas joint “Hate Me Now” as well as Meek going at his detractors whereas “Outside (100 MPH)” gets boastful over a more darker instrumental with a bassy switch up during the final verse. “On My Soul” contains a sumptuous Fuse beat with Meek talking about getting everything leading into Lil Baby & Lil Durk going back & forth with him on top of a Bulgarian sample for “Sharing Locations”. The title track has a moodier sound talking about the shit he went through with this money just before “Ride for You” serves as a boring attempt at a lovey dovey radio hit.

“Me (Fuckin’ With Me)” has a skeletal Boi-1da instrumental as Meek & A$AP Ferg saying no one’s on their level, but then Moneybagg Yo tags along for the uneventfully-produced “Hot” bragging about being those dudes. “Love Train” has a more lush sound to it with Meek venting about people switching on him while “Northside Southside” with Giggs murkily gets on their gang shit.

“We Slide” with Young Thug emotionally opens up on the struggles throughout their lives with a perfectly suiting piano instrumental from Tay Keith whereas “Tweaking” almost has a boom bap flare to it saying he’s too rich to pay hoes. I think it’s pretty cool how “Love Money” works in some guitars talking about how he doesn’t love the paper anymore & “Blue Notes 2” with Lil Uzi Vert serves as an average sequel to the Dreamchasers 4 cut of the same name.

“Angels” is an emotional tribute to the late Lil Snupe just before finishing off the “Cold Hearted” trilogy with the hazy “Cold Hearted III”. The penultimate track “Halo” despite it’s nondescript production opens up about knowing too many angels & the 30 Roc-produced “Flamerz Flow” ends the album with a hungry freestyle.

As much of a fiery comeback Championships was, I didn’t really expect much from Expensive Pain given that most of the singles were mid. Lo & behold: That mediocrity carries it’s way onto the album. You got barely more than half of it being straight up bangers & the rest is just completely forgettable.

Score: 3/5

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