“‘Dreams and Nightmares’ is not a poor debut album, but considering that Meek has been hailing it as a classic, it fails to live up to expectations.”
Meek Mill’s debut album “Dreams and Nightmares” was released on 30 October, and it’s been quite a journey for the Philly-rapper to get to this point of his career. Meek signed his first major deal in 2008 when he joined T.I.’s Grand Hustle label but the deal eventually fell through due to T.I.’s stints in prison. This allowed him to sign with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group in February of 2011.
A few months later, Meek was featured as a 2011 XXL Freshman on the Cover of XXL, and after the release of his critically acclaimed “Dreamchasers” mixtape, he was named as one of MTV’s “Top 10 Hottest MC‘s In The Game for 2012”. This was followed by an artist management deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Not bad for a rookie. The only question that remains now is whether or not Meek delivered on his debut studio album release.
The intro titled “Dreams And Nightmares” has a cinematic feel, with Meek rapping some of his most heartfelt bars over beautiful piano strokes and chords. But halfway through the track the beat switches up to ignorant levels and Meek follows suit as he starts screaming and boasting about his money and cars. If ignorant beats and lyrics are your thing, you will be begging for more after the intro.
“Dreams and Nightmares” comes across as a very personal album with Meek opening up about his past on a couple of occasions; none more so than on “Traumatized”, the stand-out track of the album. On the Boi-1Da-produced track, Meek raps about the friends he lost in the drug game and he addresses the death of his father with brutally honest lyrics. “Lord knows I got a lot of homies in the dirt / Niggas spraying metal trying to take you off the earth” raps a heartbroken Meek before revealing that he plans on murdering the person responsible for his father’s death. “When I find that nigga who killed my daddy know that I’ma ride / Hope you hear me I’ma kill you Nigga / To Let you know that I don’t Feel you Nigga/” a brutally honest Meek opens up about how the death of his father tore his family apart and forced him into becoming his family’s provider.
Meek also delves into his drug dealing past on “Polo & Shell Tops” revealing how he sold cocaine as a teenager because he saw it as his only means of making money; which eventually lead to him going to prison. “I remember nights I used to sell rock, posted on the corner like a mailbox / First class ticket to a cell block, just to get some Polo & some shell tops”. It’s difficult not to relate to Meek on tracks like these, and it’s not surprising that these are the tracks where he shines the brightest.
Other stand-out tracks include “Tony Story 2”, “Young Kings”, and “Maybach Curtains” which features a godly verse from Nas. The ladies-inspired single “Lay Up” which features Wale, Trey Songz and Rick Ross works well, but the same cannot be said about the lead single “Young And Getting It”; which features a horrible autotune-assisted chorus from Kirko Bangz over what’s starting to sound like the blueprint for disappointing MMG beats. “Real Niggas Come First”, “Believe It” and “Who You Around” doesn’t sound much better either as they show Meek’s vulnerabilities as a rapper – which is a lack of variety in subject matter and an over-dependence on guest features. Rick Ross is featured on three of the 14 tracks, in addition to appearances from Drake, Wale, Nas, Mary J Blige and John Legend.
“Dreams and Nightmares” is not a poor debut album, but considering that Meek has been hailing it as a classic, it fails to live up to expectations. The production which was handled by Boi-1da, Key Wane, Jahlil Beats, Cardiak and Tone Bully is great, but Meek’s content and lyrical ability still leaves a lot to be desired and ultimately spoils what could have been a very strong debut album from the MMG lieutenant.
Written By: Ashraf Stakala (@ASHownsCHEKA)