Mixtape Monthly No. 5: Meek Mill, Troy Ave, Joey Bada$$, and 50 Cent
Published: Friday, June 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
The summer is well underway, but the season has yet to produce an anthem as it has in years past – last year brought us “In Paris” and “Super Bass,” while the previous one had Rick Ross’ “B.M.F (Blowin’ Money Fast).”
What makes these four summer standout mixtapes so interesting is that the artists seem to be living in that festive, top-of-the-world atmosphere that the youth often desires to be initiated into while still representing where they’re from and who they are.
This is part of the job summer anthems do. Veteran rapper 50 Cent is back, Troy Ave is speaking for his generation and newcomer Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era collective has fans looking from the outside in as they continue to gain hype. The only rapper based outside New York, Meek Mill, is taking no prisoners with his affiliation to “The Untouchable Maybach Empire.”
Even if an anthem doesn’t surface for the summer, the sheer amount of charisma, hype, and, most importantly, quality may just make this a great summer after all.
Meek Mill – Dreamchasers 2
Part of Meek Mill’s charm lies partially in a catch-22.
The rapper is part of the Maybach Music Group, a label that is headed by the seemingly invincible Rick Ross – who performed in last year’s Spring Fest. With the label’s second collaborative album (Self Made Vol. 2) set to be released on June 26, and Ross’ long-awaited God Forgives, I Don’t dropping on July 31, Mill doesn’t necessarily need to continue with his high-intensity delivery he’s known for. The mixtape is called Dreamchasers 2, but he’s already living the dream.
Yet there he is on the mixtape tape with the same high-volume style that grasped fans. It begs the question: Why is there still fire in his voice even though he’s already on top of the world? Perhaps the listeners are wrong for not getting on Mill’s energy level, especially since a majority of them aren’t on major record labels. If a man that’s already at the top still sounds that hungry, why shouldn’t the Average Joe?
That sort of unintentional rhetoric works in Mill’s favor for the duration of Dreamchasers 2. The MMG soldier maintains his energy throughout the whole 20-track playlist – track seven (“Flexing”) sounds every bit as strong as track 17 (the solid “House Party” remix), while Mill sounds as battle-ready on track 18 (“Real”) as he was in track two (“Ready or Not”).
Another aspect of Mill’s performance on this mixtape is that he fits well with every guest that he has on his tracks – and there are a lot of them. The featured artists play straight man to Mill’s off-the-handle persona. The relationship peaks in “Burn,” featuring Big Sean.
Mill is shouting “Let that s**t burn,” while Big Sean slips in with his typical nonchalant swagger.
“My cousin finished school, can’t believe he graduated,” Sean raps. “I threw him 20 thousand dollars, told his ass congratulations/ Cause me? I wasn’t made for that s**t/ But I could probably hire him and who all paid for his s**t.”
The mixtape doesn’t bring anything a listener wouldn’t expect from Mill, so it can get a bit predictable. It also won’t earn him any more fans, either. But Mill and his hits are hard to avoid. Anybody who spits that loudly is hard to ignore.
Troy Ave – Bricks in My Backpack 3
With cities like Atlanta and Miami churning out names like 2 Chainz and Rick Ross, the south has been the overwhelming force in hip-hop in recent years. However, it seems New York City is working hard to become a buzzing city once again. Brooklyn native Troy Ave released the third installment to his Bricks In My Backpack series this summer and reminds hip-hop fans that behind all the gold is hard work.
Troy Ave’s lyrics have always brought the gritty neighborhood in Brooklyn that raised him to light, hence his stage name, but he does it in a manner that doesn’t allow his music to get lost in a world where drugs are a common denominator.
In “Snow,” Troy Ave contradicts his drug-infused lyrics over what would easily be confused as an R&B beat. The track serves as a nod to those hard workers, both in the realm of legal and illegal activities, and a call-out to rappers lying through their lyrics.
“It’s all paper chasin’/So, motivation/At least for real n****s, fake n****s just be hatin’,” raps Troy Ave.
What works as the icing on top to this track is the commencement of the track, which features the rapper singing “ain’t no business like snow business.”
The unorthodox formula of soul beats and dope lines from Troy Ave continue in tracks “Merlot,” featuring Spring Fest 2012 performer Fabolous, and “Wheelin’ and Dealin’,” featuring fellow New York up and comer, Action Bronson.