Review : Meek Mill - Dreamchasers 2
PitchforkMeek Mill had a few big singles and a breakthrough mixtape in last year's Dreamchasers, but now comes the hard part. With expectations comes pressure, and pressure in rap means to repeatedly prove one's commercial potential in a genre largely starved for continuous hits. Meek is a street rapper who's beginning to answer to executives, and the new Dreamchasers 2 is his first mixtape that reflects that. Gone are the first volume's guests like Beanie Sigel and Young Chris, stylistically similar rappers from Meek's hometown of Philadelphia that have instead been traded for the likes of Drake, Trey Songz, and Big Sean. The connection to the latter group doesn't go far beyond occupying the same tax bracket, but the strength of D2 is that in collaborating with those artists (and guys like Wale) Meek is still able to tip the scales in his favor. He doesn't so much step out of his own world as merge it with the one that he's about to enter, and the result is a mixtape that will continue his forward momentum even if it doesn't fulfill the wild expectations of some fans.
Not that everything here goes smoothly. "Take U Home" and "Face Down", both of which sport a Wale verse to go along with help from Big Sean for the former and Trey Songz for the latter, roll off the assembly line and into the trash heap. The good news is that those are the exceptions, and the frontloaded first half of the mixtape lays out the blueprint for what a great Meek Mill major-label debut album would look like. Most notably there's "Amen", a track that uses gospel and the soft coos of singer Jeremih to spin 2012's version of Kanye's "Good Life". Meek's celebratory hook is perfectly left-field, and it's here that he shows that he's potentially capable of taking his sound back to the radio without veering straight into predictable soft-serve R&B. There are also two tracks where Meek pulls outside rappers into his world and draws out top-notch work. The first, "Burn", is maybe the best song on the mixtape-- it should be noted that this is the other Big Sean song, and if Big Sean is on the best song of Meek's pretty good mixtape, that means Meek is doing something really right. The other is "A1 Everything", where Meek calls in Kendrick Lamar for an atypically cocky, swaggering verse....full text
XxlmagMeek Mill is closing in on his moment of truth. The 2011 XXL Freshman is set to drop his highly anticipated solo debut, Dreams & Nightmares, in August. The LP will reveal whether or not Meek’s success through mixtapes, smash singles and guest appearances can actually translate into record sales.
Before that, though, the vocally animated Philadelphia MC unleashes the sequel to his celebrated 2011 Dreamchasers mixtape, with Dreamchasers 2, again hosted by DJ Drama. The tape gets off to a blazing start on “Intro”—with Meek using a classic quote-monster-of-a-clip from Iron Mike Tyson, in which the former heavyweight champ preaches his unmatched authenticity. Meek does exactly the same, separating himself from studio street rappers with lines like, “Realest nigga in it, all you gotta do is say it/If a nigga rap dissin’ when I see him I’ma spray him.”
Tinkering with rap classics has historically been bad for business, but the 25-year-old makes “Ready or Not” his own on the All Star-produced revamp. Sampling Enya’s “Boadicea”—just as The Fugees did for their blockbuster single of the same name 16 years ago—the track features Meek offering I-told-you-so bars and rhyming about betrayal in the wake of his newfound fame.
The MMG MC takes listeners to church on “Amen”—a sultry Drake and Jeremih-assisted track that’s sure to garner spins through the summer. The tape falls into a momentarily lull with “A1 Everything” and “Use to Be,” but the slump, expectedly, doesn’t persist. More standouts abound, including “Flexing,” “Big Dreams,” the star-studded “House Party (Remix)” featuring Fabolous, Wale and Mac Miller, as well as “Str8 Like That.”...full text
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