Meek seems like an odd descriptor for a rapper who has been signed to T.I.’s and Rick Ross’s labels—King and Boss both reigning champions of bravado. The latter’s Maybach Music is a stable of braggadocio, and Philadelphian Meek Mill’s current stomping grounds. Amid the familiar sounds of the trademark absurd, RAAAAAAAANDY-esque “M-M-M-Maybach Music” alerts, Mill doubles down on Ross’s testaments to chicks, cars and cash.
The intro to Mill’s stellar Dreamchasers 2 mixtape from last year features a famous, insane ramble from Mike Tyson. The subject? Being “the best ever.” There is, of course, a storied history of hip-hop bombast, and Mill joins the evolving cast with an exclamation point. He backs it up with piquant flow: “Amen,” which appears on that tape and on Dreams and Nightmares, a proper debut album issued in October, costars Drake in a subversion of religious themes. (It’s a close counterpart to the 2011 Drake cut featuring Ross, “Lord Knows.”) “Amen” is Mill at his most controversial, rhyming over crescendoing keys: “Lord, forgive me for my sins / I’m just trying to win… I’m screaming, Oh Lord, that pussy good, that pussy good.”
New free mixtapes arrive seemingly every few months, all well-constructed and featuring an inimitable guest roster. Mill might sound like a throwback to hip-hop’s Cristal-soaked halcyon days, but he’s one of the major forces behind a paradigm shift from studio material to mixtapes—more nightmare than dream for Warner Bros., Maybach’s parent.—Colin St. John
Follow Colin St. John on Twitter: @weneedthedude