Meek Mill, "Dreams & Nightmares" (Warner Bros. Records/Maybach Music Group)
The hype machine around Meek Mill has been humming since the rapper signed with Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group imprint last year. Mill has produced two respectable mixtapes and a few singles, including "Ima Boss."
On his debut, "Dreams & Nightmares," Mill shows great potential as a storyteller, but his lyrical flow is not consistent, ultimately setting back the 14-track album.
His wordplay is subpar on songs like "Believe It," featuring Ross, "Young & Gettin' It" with Kirko Bangz and "Lay Up," with Ross, Wale and Trey Songz. On those tracks, the diction of Mill's lyrics is too weak for his standards, and his voice is too loud, making the words difficult to digest.
Another example is on the album's title track. The song starts off like a dream with Mill reflecting on his rise in hip-hop and former street life in a calm demeanor, but then it turns into a nightmarish struggle to listen when he switches gears into his intensely unbearable high-pitched voice.
The Philadelphia-bred rapper thrives more when he takes it down a notch and delves into his backstory, venturing into his dubious past as someone who sold drugs for special recognition and to support his family.
Mill does that well on "Polo & Shell Tops" and "Maybach Curtains," with Ross, Nas and John Legend. On "Traumatized," he goes on a verbal rampage, seeking revenge for his father, who was murdered when he was a child, and rhymes about how he was almost killed near the area of his dad's funeral. These are special songs that showcase Mill at his best, though half the album lacks that flare.
CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: "Amen," featuring Drake, is an entertaining club banger.
Follow Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mrlandrum31