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Meek Mill – Dreams Worth More than Money – ALBUM REVIEW

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Meek Mill has had my attention since the release of Dreamchasers 2. That was when I first encountered his established formula: a Philadelphia MC who came from the bottom, who has now reached the top, and who still hungers for more, and he’s brought a hip-hop who’s-who gamut of MCs and producers along with him.

Meek’s bars are the least important thing about him: he’s here to let the fire in his eye rage outward and upward; his rapid-fire, high-volume delivery is deployed to engulf and consume all haters and disbelievers in sight.

Whichever track he’s on more often than not bangs and rattles like no other; while Meek has mostly left the streets, the streets haven’t left him.

The listener is invited to bear witness to the splendor of his hard-won kingdom within Maybach Music Group’s empire. On Dreams Worth More than Money, Meek continues to refine his patented sound with mostly enjoyable results.

The album’s runtime is comprised of clattering drum kits, twinkling synths, tasteful bass lines, and a handful of Jessica Gomes “Maybach Music” drops. The Meek formula is once again churning at full force: the skeletal sonics serve to platform his bleak brags of dominance and solidarity with his MMG cohorts.

Show opener “Lord Knows” is an abstract summary of this philosophy: “Remember I prayed I really wished for this / To get the crib with the maid and with the picket fence / I with some niggas that remember we took some risks for this / I’m talkin risky business, flick the wrist.” The Mozart sample is well-executed, and Meek goes hard as usual.

Tory Lanez has an alright hook; I prefer the part where “Lord Knows” isn’t being repeated ad nauseum.

While it’s not on the level of 2012’s “Dreams and Nightmares,” it’s a fitting opening to Meek’s latest chapter of dream chasing.

Note: the uninitiated Meek listener should be prepared to enjoy to triplet-based flows, because this technique turns up all over the album. When Future appears on “Jump Out the Face” it’s triplet overload.

Neither Meek nor Future depart from their respective tropes of yelling and AutoTuned spitting / talking about trapping, D-boy jet-set, Rolex’s, Rolls-Royce’s, and diamonds. It’s a well-done track, if redundant when the Meek and Future oeuvre is considered.

I was fully expecting a triumphant “DJ Khaled” DJ drop on “All Eyes on You,” but it never arrived. The track is so poppy and bouncy that I’m almost certain it was about to drop on Suffering from Success sequel.

While my DJ drop disappointment intensity has faded with time, my distaste of this track in general hasn’t. Meek and Nicki don’t use the track space effectively; instead of proving why they’re the baddest, releast, flyest, illest by actually spitting, they instead wax upon meeting in the club. It’s just not for me.

“Ambitionz” flounders once the hook appears. Meek has alluded to famous lines before (Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” is interpolated on “Maybach Curtains”) and I’m not sure why he continues to do so here on “Ambitionz.” He doesn’t change anything about 2Pac’s original hook and it’s a weak attempt to bring energy to the track’s rattling booms and bangs. Boi-1da did this thing well enough, but I’ve heard better from him before.

Drake does his thing on “R.I.C.O.” While I find his “sensitive” side to be more credible than his recently omnipresent “putting shots on all my enemies” persona, he makes his appearance entertaining, especially on the hook. This is another solid collaboration that rests alongside “Amen.”

“Been That” has a great airhorn, and it bounces with classic MMG panache. Unfortunately, the hook quickly gets tired, and it doesn’t help the track’s energy levels. The obligatory Rick Ross verse is business as usual, with Rick propping Meek up. Rick doesn’t do much of anything special here, and neither does Meek, so this track isn’t essential in enjoying the album.

“Bad for You” takes the worst parts of “All Eyes on You,” and makes those the main ingredients. I do enjoy the AutoTune on the hook, and the track’s soft production enjoys sonic details not found on the other cuts on this record. However, I’m not a fan of the lyrics, and it’s pointless to have another song about this subject. This track is just too soft and self-involved to have any type of replay value.

Where the softer production really works is on the closer “Cold Hearted.” Diddy’s contribution doesn’t rhyme at all, but I don’t think he’s going for that. In my opinion, he’s speaking as a mentor to Meek, vindicating the Dreams Worth More than Money title itself. Diddy’s success speaks for itself, but that success has arrived at considerable cost, with some sacrifices and losses being more covert than others. In a rare self-conscious turn, Meek affirms his commitment to staying at the top: “Niggas is jealous / fuck can they tell us / with them dreams they try to sell us? / probably why I'm rebellious.” This is the best track on the album, in my opinion. Meek's self-appraisal concludes splendidly with: “when it was hard, the coach told me to get the ball / I step back for three, watch it go 'swish' and fall / and that was and-one, they thinking how we get this far?” I appreciate the fact that Meek slowed down and went into detail with his trials and tribulations here.

Overall, Dreams Worth More than Money is a solid, if non-essential, contribution to the Meek catalogue. The beats are well-crafted and remorselessly bang, and Meek’s delivery remains one of the game’s most assured and vibrant. His subject matter is still enjoyable, but it wears thin across the album's runtime, and moments like his verse on “Cold Hearted” are welcome lyrical refreshments. While Meek isn't going to dazzle anyone with lyrical pyrotechnics, he's not after that; it's about the emotion of grinding to the top, basking within the hard-won riches and the misfortunes of now-vanquished enemies.

While he has found considerable success in this particular neck of the woods, I am wondering where Meek can go next. He has always been hungry to finally reach that distant star of making dreams come true. That star fills his eye, his voice. That hunger drives everything about him.

If this record is any indication, that star, that flame, is still burning bright within Meek’s eye.

[read-more Click here to read the review!]

Album review score out of 10

Meek Mill has had my attention since the release of Dreamchasers 2. That was when I first encountered his established formula: a Philadelphia MC who came from the bottom, who has now reached the top, and who still hungers for more, and he’s brought a hip-hop who’s-who gamut of MCs and producers along with him.

Meek’s bars are the least important thing about him: he’s here to let the fire in his eye rage outward and upward; his rapid-fire, high-volume delivery is deployed to engulf and consume all haters and disbelievers in sight.

Whichever track he’s on more often than not bangs and rattles like no other; while Meek has mostly left the streets, the streets haven’t left him.

The listener is invited to bear witness to the splendor of his hard-won kingdom within Maybach Music Group’s empire. On Dreams Worth More than Money, Meek continues to refine his patented sound with mostly enjoyable results.

The album’s runtime is comprised of clattering drum kits, twinkling synths, tasteful bass lines, and a handful of Jessica Gomes “Maybach Music” drops. The Meek formula is once again churning at full force: the skeletal sonics serve to platform his bleak brags of dominance and solidarity with his MMG cohorts.

Show opener “Lord Knows” is an abstract summary of this philosophy: “Remember I prayed I really wished for this / To get the crib with the maid and with the picket fence / I with some niggas that remember we took some risks for this / I’m talkin risky business, flick the wrist.” The Mozart sample is well-executed, and Meek goes hard as usual.

Tory Lanez has an alright hook; I prefer the part where “Lord Knows” isn’t being repeated ad nauseum.

While it’s not on the level of 2012’s “Dreams and Nightmares,” it’s a fitting opening to Meek’s latest chapter of dream chasing.

Note: the uninitiated Meek listener should be prepared to enjoy to triplet-based flows, because this technique turns up all over the album. When Future appears on “Jump Out the Face” it’s triplet overload.

Neither Meek nor Future depart from their respective tropes of yelling and AutoTuned spitting / talking about trapping, D-boy jet-set, Rolex’s, Rolls-Royce’s, and diamonds. It’s a well-done track, if redundant when the Meek and Future oeuvre is considered.

I was fully expecting a triumphant “DJ Khaled” DJ drop on “All Eyes on You,” but it never arrived. The track is so poppy and bouncy that I’m almost certain it was about to drop on Suffering from Success sequel.

While my DJ drop disappointment intensity has faded with time, my distaste of this track in general hasn’t. Meek and Nicki don’t use the track space effectively; instead of proving why they’re the baddest, releast, flyest, illest by actually spitting, they instead wax upon meeting in the club. It’s just not for me.

“Ambitionz” flounders once the hook appears. Meek has alluded to famous lines before (Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” is interpolated on “Maybach Curtains”) and I’m not sure why he continues to do so here on “Ambitionz.” He doesn’t change anything about 2Pac’s original hook and it’s a weak attempt to bring energy to the track’s rattling booms and bangs. Boi-1da did this thing well enough, but I’ve heard better from him before.

Drake does his thing on “R.I.C.O.” While I find his “sensitive” side to be more credible than his recently omnipresent “putting shots on all my enemies” persona, he makes his appearance entertaining, especially on the hook. This is another solid collaboration that rests alongside “Amen.”

“Been That” has a great airhorn, and it bounces with classic MMG panache. Unfortunately, the hook quickly gets tired, and it doesn’t help the track’s energy levels. The obligatory Rick Ross verse is business as usual, with Rick propping Meek up. Rick doesn’t do much of anything special here, and neither does Meek, so this track isn’t essential in enjoying the album.

“Bad for You” takes the worst parts of “All Eyes on You,” and makes those the main ingredients. I do enjoy the AutoTune on the hook, and the track’s soft production enjoys sonic details not found on the other cuts on this record. However, I’m not a fan of the lyrics, and it’s pointless to have another song about this subject. This track is just too soft and self-involved to have any type of replay value.

Where the softer production really works is on the closer “Cold Hearted.” Diddy’s contribution doesn’t rhyme at all, but I don’t think he’s going for that. In my opinion, he’s speaking as a mentor to Meek, vindicating the Dreams Worth More than Money title itself. Diddy’s success speaks for itself, but that success has arrived at considerable cost, with some sacrifices and losses being more covert than others. In a rare self-conscious turn, Meek affirms his commitment to staying at the top: “Niggas is jealous / fuck can they tell us / with them dreams they try to sell us? / probably why I'm rebellious.” This is the best track on the album, in my opinion. Meek's self-appraisal concludes splendidly with: “when it was hard, the coach told me to get the ball / I step back for three, watch it go 'swish' and fall / and that was and-one, they thinking how we get this far?” I appreciate the fact that Meek slowed down and went into detail with his trials and tribulations here.

Overall, Dreams Worth More than Money is a solid, if non-essential, contribution to the Meek catalogue. The beats are well-crafted and remorselessly bang, and Meek’s delivery remains one of the game’s most assured and vibrant. His subject matter is still enjoyable, but it wears thin across the album's runtime, and moments like his verse on “Cold Hearted” are welcome lyrical refreshments. While Meek isn't going to dazzle anyone with lyrical pyrotechnics, he's not after that; it's about the emotion of grinding to the top, basking within the hard-won riches and the misfortunes of now-vanquished enemies.

While he has found considerable success in this particular neck of the woods, I am wondering where Meek can go next. He has always been hungry to finally reach that distant star of making dreams come true. That star fills his eye, his voice. That hunger drives everything about him.

If this record is any indication, that star, that flame, is still burning bright within Meek’s eye.

Production
7.1


Lyrics
6


Features: Swizz Beatz, Jeremih, Future, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Drake, The Weeknd, Rick Ross & Diddy
7


Hype
7.5


Pros
  • Meek’s charisma is replete with energy, making him a star worthy of the album’s reach.
  • The album isn’t bogged down with features, unlike Meek’s other albums and mixtapes.
  • Many tracks are instantly gratifying.
Cons
  • Redundant ideas and sonics abound.


6.9
Overall Rating

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