Meek Mill Dreams and Nightmares review: Keep on dreamin'

On November 4, 2012

Artist: Meek Mill

Album: Dreams and Nightmares

Release Date: Oct. 30

Grade: B-

Before the Internet became a platform to share music and spoiled today's generation of rappers,the hustle of personally selling music out of a car trunk was the only way people knew who you were. It was the only way to create a buzz. Regardless, the overwhelming theme of struggle that comes with conquering musical obscurity is prevalent in rap music.

Most of these artists don't know what a real struggle is, but Meek Mill does.

The Philadelphia rapper released his solo debut album, Dreams and Nightmares,after previously dropping nine mixtapesand climbing the ranks of Rick Ross' label, Maybach Music Group.

Dreams and Nightmares lays out exactly that: Meek Mill's highs and lows, and all the blood, sweat and tears he saw to get to this milestone in his life.

The introduction and title track, "Dreams and Nightmares," opens with a reflective Mill, a man wistfully recalling the work he's put in to get where he is. Halfway through the track, the soft, melodic piano merges with a heavy bass and an ominous orchestral sound, and Mill's flow changes from grateful to aggressive.

The track sets the tone for the entire album and outlines that although Mill is aware of his humble beginnings, he is more than deserving of the fame, money and luxuries he has now.

"And I'm the king of my city 'cause I'm still calling them shots/And these lames talking that bulls***, the same n***** that flopped/I'm the same n**** from Berks Street with them nappy braids that lock/The same n**** that came up and I had to wait for my spot," Mill raps.

The songs on Dreams and Nightmares that outline Mill's rough past are lyrically more intriguing than their boisterous counterparts. "Traumatized," "Tony Story Pt. 2" and "Who You Around" featuring Mary J. Blige all show the Philly rapper at his most honest moments - moments of betrayal, helplessness and subsequently inspiration.

"They want more than my mother/More than Omelly, and that n**** like my brother, greedy motherf***** /Crazy thing about it, I don't hate 'em, I still love 'em/I might have said things, I never said f*** 'em," Mill raps on "Who You Around."

Dreams and Nightmares doesn't go without its audacious tracks, either. Party anthem "Amen," featuring Toronto rapper Drake, has been one of the standout songs on this album and Meek Mill's introduction into mainstream rap. Despite its religious name, the song follows the radio rap track formula: women, money and a great hook.

Although Dreams and Nightmares shows Meek Mill can balance the braggadocios trends in hip-hop with his storytelling raps,the album doesn'treflect the peak of Meek Mill's career. Mill has been releasing mixtapes consistently since 2008 and was once only recognized in the underground hip-hop scene. Like most artists, this debut album showcases what old fans know, but nothing more than that.

Meek Mill is undoubtedly one of MMG's premier artists, but Dreams and Nightmares shows no progress from the mixtape he released last May, Dreamchasers 2.

With his debut album behind him, rap fans can now set the bar for Meek Mill, and the true test will be when his next project comes out.



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