Review: Meek Mill surpasses expectations with “Dreams & Nightmares”

Ryan Morris

Editor’s note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

A lot of hype has been placed upon the releases of major label music groups, such as Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment, and the Rick Ross assembled Maybach Music Group.

After Ross’s career was saved by the ridiculously grandiose 2010 smash hit, “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast),” Officer Ricky has established himself as one of the genre’s most prominent figures.

Ross proceeded to sign a slew of upcoming artists, such as Pill, Meek Mill and even Wale, to his newly established record label.

The label released its debut collaboration album, the highly successful, “Self Made Vol. 1,” in the summer of 2011, with two of the albums most successful singles, “Tupac Back” and “Ima Boss,” being contributed by Meek Mill.

This debut was followed a year later by a less successful and more heavily crit installment to the Self Made series, “Self Made Vol. 2,” with Meek Mill again being the standout performer on the collaboration.

The release of Meek Mill’s mix tapes, “Dreamchasers” and “Dreamchasers 2” only contributed to the hype surrounding the MMG all star, with fans and critics alike begging for the major label debut of the Philadelphia based MC.

With Meek Mill having a style that was historically stripped down to a verse-chorus, verse-chorus style song structure, the expectations for a broadening of said style were close to none. The topics as well, with Meek Mill never getting too personal, and making songs with topics almost exclusively on the subjects stereotyped to hip-hop (guns, drugs, violence and women), the expectations for a personality change in this aspect was slim as well.

The one thing that Meek Mill does surprise with on “Dreams & Nightmares” is expand upon his style, making changes in song arrangement and lyrical content. The hard-hitting beats are typical of his pre-established style, but what Meek Mill says over them is a refreshing glimpse into what he has to offer as an artist.

On “Traumatized,” Meek tells his story of growing up as a child in reckless environments, making the listener feel for his predisposed youth.

“Tony Story, Pt. 2” displays Meek’s capabilities as a storyteller, depicting a hustler, whose namesake is derived from Tony Montana, the main focus of the 1983 crime drama “Scarface,” who ultimately meets his demise due to his life of crime.

The songs that are obviously catered towards the mainstream and club scenes are a bit annoying, but who can blame Meek Mill for keeping with what made him his money in the first place?

“Dreams & Nightmares” shows promise in what is to be a bright future for not just Meek Mill, but MMG as a collective group.

Rating: Three and a half out of four stars.

Story: WILL GREENE, A&E Reporter