All eyes have been on Meek Mill since the Philadelphia rapper signed to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group imprint in February 2011.
With seven mixtapes under his belt before signing, it’s evident Meek has built a foundation for himself. But with the assist from Rick Ross, the student not only has come face to face with fame more quickly, but has developed the potential to surpass his own teacher.
Meek’s passion has always been present throughout the rapper’s career. He spit-yells frantically as if every song could be his last. But it’s what his signature vocal punches are coming with on “Dreams and Nightmares” that make the rapper’s debut album worthwhile: brutally honest storytelling mixed with boastful glimpses of the good life, the latter as the most promising.
Meek’s 14-song full-length, released on Maybach Music Group/ Warner Bros. Records, covers both the heaven and hell he’s had to walk through to become MMG’s MVP. “Dreams and Nightmares” features noteable guest appearances (Mary J. Blige, Rick Ross, Nas and more) and heartfelt, treacherous stories laid under meancing soundscapes, such as that of the revenge and anguish of a father’s death (“Traumatized”), betrayal and mistrust amongst once-friends (“Who You Around,” “Polos & Shelltops”) to deserved celebration of success (“Young Kings”).
Four days before releasing “Dreams and Nightmares” into the wild, Meek proved the streak of success is effervescent when he announced the birth of his record label, Dream Chasers Records and its artists/producers (Lee Mazin, Louie V, Goldie, Jhalil Beats), at Philly’s Power 99 Powerhouse concert. Check mate.
Check out our track-by-track breakdown of Meek Mill’s debut album, “Dreams and Nightmares.”
1. “Dreams and Nightmares”
The title track sets the overall tone: “Dreams and Nightmares” opens with the story of Meek’s beginning before the boastful rhymes and threatening soundscapes kick in. “I used to pray for times like this to rhyme like this/ So I had to grind like that to shine like this,” Meek raps.
2. “In God We Trust”
“I got a bullet with your name on it,” Meek spits on the steady, synth-heavy, Black Metaphor-produced track before he goes into the dealings of a snitch.
3. “Young & Gettin’ It” feat. Kirko Bangz
Lukewarm wordplay and the pungent auto-tune production, courtesy of Jahlil Beats, makes Meek Mill’s second single quite unbearable.
The Boi-1da-produced track features Meek at his most honest, speaking on the feelings of revenge and overall strain his father’s death has left him with: “When I find the ni**a that killed my daddy, know I’mma ride/ I hope you hear me, I’mma kill you ni**a/ To let you know I don’t feel you ni**a / You ripped my family apart and made my mama cry/ So when i see you ni**a it’s gonna be a homicide.”
5. “Believe It” feat. Rick Ross
What better way to describe how deep your pockets are with guap than comparing them to those of Justin Bieber. “I got that Justin Bieber, please believe it,” Rick Ross begins the menacing Young Shun-produced collaboration.
6. “Maybach Curtains” feat. John Legend, Nas, Rick Ross
Meek, Nas and Rick Ross reminisce on their rags to riches journeys on the glorious DJ Infamous, The Agency soundscape.
7. “Amen” feat. Drake
Meek continues to toy with his abundance of riches on his Key Wane, Jahlil Beats produced summer hit. Originally off Meek’s “Dreamchasers II” mixtape, “Amen” quickly became Meek’s first R&B/Hip-Hop Songs top 5 as a lead artist.
8. “Young Kings”
“Get the money and fuck fame,” Meek proclaims on the celebratory Lee Major-produced cut, that gives a peek of Meek’s then (drug dealing) and now (success).
9. “Lay Up” feat. Trey Songz, Rick Ross, Wale
“This one’s for the ladies,” was the first thing Meek yelled out about “Lay Up” at the NYC listening session for “Dreams and Nightmares.” The mid-tempo Kane Beatz, Ashanti “The Mad Violinist” Floyd produced song gives ladies a seductive concoction which includes Trey Songz’ trembling vibrato and Wale’s love-making proclamations.
10. “Tony Story Pt. 2”
Meek puts the brutal story of Paulie, Tye and Tony from “Dreamchasers'” “Tony Story Pt.1” under the magnifying glass, as he digs into one of album’s underlying themes: betrayal for the love of money.
11. “Who You Around” feat. Mary J. Blige
“One night I prayed to God. I asked could he please remove my enemies from my life. And before you knew it I started losing friends,” Meek begins the lyrically sinister story of a friendship gone awry because of jealousy.
12. “Polo & Shell Tops”
Meek continues to speak on the mistrust amongst him and on those who once called themselves friends: “I used to load my gun before I went to school first/ It’s crazy ni**as wanna kill me, we was cool first/ And when it comes to friends you can’t let ’em close/ That’s why they call ’em close friends, you turn your back they move first.”
13. “Rich & Famous” feat. Louie V
Meek lends salvation to a long-time “lust” interest, who posseses a love/hate relationship of her own towards his success.
14. “Real N***** Comes First”
“Dreams and Nightmares” closes with a roll-call of those who are significant in his plush lifestyle, ranked by importance from camaraderie to competition.