Posted on August 6th, 2015 (10:00 am) by Lucy Xiong

Meek Mill has been getting a lot of press since accusing Drake of having a ghostwriter. But I’m not mad, he needs the attention. The hype has been ridiculous considering songwriting is generally a collaborative process especially for major studio albums. To equate having another artist in the album credits with having a ghostwriter is an exaggeration. Whether Drake single-handedly wrote all the lyrics on his incredible 2015 album in complete solitude with no input or not doesn’t change the fact that he’s consistently come out with game-changing albums and solid response tracks hella fast. Since all of this pettiness was started because Drake didn’t tweet Meek Mill’s album (the pettiest reason possible), I finally listened to the album.

The best tracks on Dreams Worth More Than Money are the ones with features. Yeah, this review is going to be like that, so if you want affirmation that Meek Mill as one of the greatest rappers out right now, this is not that. Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd and Drake killed it on this album. Diddy wasn’t bad either which raises the question— how are you going to snitch on Drake for using ghostwriters while featuring Diddy, who definitely uses ghostwriters on your outro track?

Meek Mill’s shouting style of rapping gets exhausting pretty quick, making it easy to tune out and miss what he’s saying. It works on some tracks, though in small portions. For example, on “Classic (featuring Swizz Beatz) when he tones it down a little, the bravado and passion that everyone is always attributing Meek with comes through. However, rapping about cars and fucking bitches next to Swizz’s verse about tension between police and young POC during a time when racialized police brutality is front and center comes off especially superficial and pointless. The beats on this album are amazing but Meek Mill’s flow teeters between “bravado” and abrasive while his lyrics are simple and stay within the familiar. Now, fans often come to the defense of his lyrical style by calling it “gritty” or “direct” (call it what you want), but tell me if he’s saying anything new or critically important. He’s rapping about pretty cliché topics like getting money, having money, fucking bitches and being real. When he does introduce a more substantial topic, he winds it back to being about material accumulation. So what exactly are the dreams that are bigger than money? Like his previous album and most of his work, Meek is inconsistently good.

As an album, Dreams Worth More Than Money is great but not necessarily because of Meek Mill. It’s great because of the artists that he collaborated with. It’s great because Maybach Music has phenomenal producers and his features roster is made up of some of the best artists in music— including Drake. So let’s talk about Drake real quick since Meek Mill sure likes to. How is Meek going to try to undermine Drake for having help with his lyrics when Meek needs help with his lyrics, understanding how the internet works, annunciation and has an entire album carried by other artists? Just to go in all the way, Drake has made music that has influenced every aspect of music, not just hip-hop — and he blew up because he’s a great artist bringing necessary and new elements to the game. Maybe Meek Mill should spend less time hating on Drake and acting like they’re on the same level, and more actually getting on his level.

For one, Drake’s verses are incredibly memorable — lyrically and melodically. Yet, my favorite track on Meek’s album is “All Eyes On You” but I only remember Nicki and Chris Brown’s parts. “Pullin’ Up” featuring The Weeknd is a gorgeous song but The Weeknd definitely carries the bulk of it. In fact, Meek Mill’s shout-y aggressive rapping, that seems to particularly lack annunciation on this track, actually detracts from the gorgeous vocals The Weeknd laid down. On “Lord Knows,” what’s memorable is the Mozart and the melodic hook not the verses.

Meek Mill’s greatest weakness is that he sticks to the familiar — sonically and content-wise making his songs feel shallow because he doesn’t go outside set bounds. Meek Mill almost gives something with substance with “The Trillest” when he’s talking about where he came from, but then it becomes about accumulating material things which is a really boring sentiment at this point. Again, at a time where hip hop is lending its platform to vital social movements attempting to combat the causes of the very conditions that Meek Mill is describing, talking about Rolexes and champagne as if they symbolize some heroic achievement is just continuing the legacy of commercial hip-hop using the platform to market a largely unobtainable lifestyle and distracting audiences from what hip-hop originated from. Also, his self-comparison to Tupac with “Ambitionz” is annoying because Tupac’s version was three heavy-hitting verses of lyrical genius and I just don’t feel that Meek Mill has earned the right to compare himself to one of the most, if not the most, lyrically innovative and impactful artists of all time.

Meek Mill’s little publicity stunt has clearly worked and catalyzed some intrigue. However, I think we can call a spade a spade. Throwing an artist who is clearly bigger than you under the bus at the same time your album drops is about creating hype. But be about it, don’t talk about it — and it is beyond immature to pull some malicious moves like that just because someone didn’t get around to tweeting your album. Lastly, where’s your comeback, Meek?

Track List:

  1. Lord Knows
  2. Classic feat. Swizz Beatz
  3. Jump Out the Face feat. Future
  4. All Eyes on You feat. Chris Brown & Nicki Minaj
  5. The Trillest
  6. R.I.C.O. feat. Drake
  7. I Got the Juice
  8. Ambitionz
  9. Pullin Up feat. The Weeknd
  10. Check?
  11. Been That feat. Rick Ross
  12. Bad For You feat. Nicki Minaj
  13. Stand Up
  14. Cold Hearted feat. Diddy
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

64 / 100
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