Meek Mill – Dreams and Nightmares

Meek Mill – Dreams and Nightmares

royalT rating: 6.5 Crowns

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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 ya 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, badd 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 know 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 Mills 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.

*Review also hosted at http://rapruler.com/

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Lil Wayne – Dedication 4

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If Lil Wayne’s Dedication 4 serves as a parting gift to fans, some will love it, others will hate it. Instead of lacing his 15-track mixtape with commercial bars that have flooded the radio in recent months, Wayne attempts to go back to the essence of what arguably made him the greatest rapper alive. Whether he succeeded or not will be the topic of discussion in many hip-hop forums and conversations.

There’s no secret to Wayne’s blueprinting, preparation and structuring of Dedication 4. He aims to recapture the conceptual, lyrical beast displayed on the previous Dedications while showing rappers that their beats “aren’t safe,” as quoted on the Drought 3, and it definitely doesn’t hurt to have rap’s most popular mixtape endorser DJ Drama stamping the project.

Wayne never recaptures conceptual depths that appeared on his previous Dedication projects, and his style most resembles what No Ceilings offered. Yet, the Dedication 4 has its strong points: Catchy one liners flood each track, the features actually improve songs (J.Cole, Nicki Minaj, Young Jeezy, etc.), the beat selection is immaculate because it pulls from rap’s best and hottest bass lines, and Wayne actually caters his delivery pattern to mirror the original artist’s style on each beat.

“Same Damn Tune,” delivered over Future’s “Same Damn Time,” exhibits how Wayne structures his flow like each song’s original format. He matches patterns and places rhymes that end with similar syllables in memorable spots. In essence, he mimics the original version and adds a twist to it.  It’s safe to say that Wayne went harder than the majority of the original artists, and that’s something to appreciate because he chose songs like: “Burn” and “Amen” by Meek Mill, and “Cashin’ Out” by Cash Out.

Also in “Same Damn Tune” Wayne addresses the comments he made in his interview with DJ Drama.

“Rap is taking a backseat to skating,” said Wayne prior to the mixtape’s release. On the actual project he follows with this response:

“Im skatin’ and rappin’ at the same damn time/ I said I might retire, but yal know I be high.”

Weezy is setting the stage for a situation that mirrors Jay-Z’s. Instead of completely breaking ties with rap and retiring outright, Wayne has left the door open for reappearances. He wants to spend more time venturing down other avenues like his Trukfit clothing line. In the meantime, he should have spent more time preparing for a potential exit that would leave fans wanting more.

The Dedication 4 fell short of what fans expected, and his topics became redundant prematurely. Delivering tons of punch lines and excessively advertising for Trukfit are the only things Wayne accomplished. The Dedication 4 shows a lack of thought, and effort. It appears that Wayne never sought to raise the bar, and failed to display any versatility. Each song has the same format. Has Wayne really sold out and become a punch line rapper? This project suggests that just may be the case.

7.0/10

*Review also hosted at http://www.pefferreviews.com/ and http://rapruler.com/