RoyalTy Rating: 6.5 Crowns
Meek Mill’s Dreams and Nightmares album falls closer to a nightmare than a dream. Brief moments of ingenuity and conceptual strengths are heavily offset by lackluster efforts and predictable cadences.
The title track “Dreams and Nightmares” summarizes everything Meek discusses on records. He adequately displays how a young male from the hood has dreams fulfilled by rap successes before the track takes a drastic turn for the worse. Understandably so, Meek attempted to draw stark contrast between dreams and nightmares and sufficiently succeeds. “Dreams and Nighmares” fails after angelic piano keys transitions to a devilish bass drop, and Meek begins shouting at maximum vocal capacities. His voice is already borderline and increasing the volume is far too intense.
The paradoxical title of “In God We Trust” leads listeners to believe it will be structured after his “dream” theme, but he proceeds to paint more pictures of destruction. It seems like Meek fell in love with the title and felt obligated to include it on the album. Once again, thematically, Meek missed the mark, but displays a vicious flow.
“So for 100 keys, think what my click will do/I’m talkin’ clappin toaster, bullets will hit your roof/They hit his body he went in shock, no Pikachu.”
Meek’s subject bank is painfully limited. He’s readily defined by monetary braggadocio statements, bad yellow chicks, drugs and a team of shooters ready to do dirt. There’s nothing more to his lyrics. Given that he raps to the same cadence on almost every song, any one of his verses can be substituted for another with no notable difference. It ruins the quality of songs like “Maybach Curtains” and “Lay Up,” whose star studded casts anchor the tracks.
“Lay UP” or “Maybach Curtains” could have easily replaced “Amen,” “Burn” and “Young & Getting’ It” as radio singles. The feature power of Nas, Wale, Trey Songz and John Legend easily overshadow Big Sean and Kirko Bangz given the song’s industry sound.
One underrated facet of Meek’ style rests in his storytelling ability. Regardless of point of view, Meeks knows how to phrase, and stage events in a climatic fashion. He allows listeners to visualize words. Meek continues to develop the success of his Dreamchasers “Tony Story” with the sequel “Tony Story, Pt. 2,” and relays parts of his own tribulations on “Traumatized.” He discusses personal pain and addresses the man that killed his father with eerie distaste.
“Hope you hear me, I’mma kill you n***a/To let you kno that I don’t feel you n***a/Yeah, you ripped my family apart and made my momma cry/So when I see you, n***a it’s gon’ be a homicide/Cuz I was only a toddler, you left me traumatized.”
Overall, Meek Mill’s project was less than admirable. Lack of versatility, incomplete theming, and a couple of poorly executed punchlines inhibits the maximum effect of his passion and energy. Ironically, his nightmare’s makes the album worth listening to, and his dreams weigh the project down with their ubiquitous placing. A listener can sleep on this Dreams and Nightmares project and not have missed much.