Silence is golden. The ancient movie theater maxim took on a new meaning during a viewing of the Ryan Coogler-directed Creed, a highly favored spin-off to the Rocky Balboa series. The film is shot in Philadelphia, hometown to Rocky Balboa and also hometown to Meek Mill. In various scenes throughout the movie, music from Meek Mill’s Dreams Worth More Than Money could be heard scoring the trials and tribulations of Adonis Creed. It was more than just being a Philly native; the music matched the bigger message, about dream chasing and perseverance through the most dire of circumstances. Adonis is a fighter, Meek is a fighter; there are parallels you can draw between the two, and it made sense to bridge the worlds together. It was in those brief, but fitting moments, that I was reminded that Meek is capable of making good music.
Creed came out in the winter of 2015, after the climax of Drake and Meek’s calamity. Within the eye of that mighty storm, people awaited the release of Meek's DC4. The tape never came, just more snippets, and more promises that it was coming soon. Meek continued to make headlines for small, petty foolishness. Between Drake, the memes, and all the social media shenanigans there was a lot of noise surrounding Meek, and very little of it had to do with music. In the silence of the movie theater, when his music wasn’t eclipsed by trolls and absurd actions, it was easy to see his promise as an artist again. It was possible for him to bring the same golden silence, but only if he could present a project that once again proved his prowess as a rap star.
Good music has always been the cure for any missteps in an artist's career. Meek’s sin was underestimating how outing Drake’s ghostwriter would affect his career. Drake didn’t kill Meek, but he completely murdered his momentum. He stole the spotlight when it was shining the brightest, snatched his flag right before planting it at the mountain top, and stole the volume from his voice just when it was at it’s loudest. DC4 gives Meek a chance to reset, and possibly regain all that he lost.
The Dreamchasers series is what put him on the map initially, and it has the chance to return him back into the good graces of the people. The music has to be good, but hopefully he’s striding for great. They say pressure makes diamonds—and Rollies—but mostly diamonds.
Per usual, following the traditional 1-Listen review rules, I must listen from start to finish without stopping, editing, rewinding or fast-forwarding. Everything I write will be based on my gut reaction. One day I’ll listen to Meek with a Rollie on my wrist. Today is not the day, but a boy can dream. Let’s get inspired.
1. "On The Regular"
Starting heavy and cinematic. The music of a villain arriving from the darkness. Gunshots. The drums just kicked in with the sample sounding demented in the background. Meek with a Lil Uzi Vert flow, I like it. Meek is far from dead, he sounds so alive, this is resurrect-my-career music. There’s a cool bounce to this beat, Harlem shaking through the pressure music. Migo-esque flow in the second verse. Drum pattern just switched up, the flow is sharp as a surgeon's scalpel. Meek Mill might have the best streak of intros in hip-hop. Must investigate.
2. "Blessed Up"
Okay, Meek proved he can write an intro but can he keep it going? There’s a voice speaking about not having to impress anybody. The beat is building up like a cake baking in the oven. I think when this drops my soul might moonwalk. It wasn’t the powerbomb, but it definitely got my neck bobbing. “Really I’m blessed.” This sounds like church on the street corner next to the pastor and the crack dealers. Meek is getting some raps off. He sounds focused, motivated and razor sharp. Nice breakdown at the end, slower, but powerful. DC4 is knocking like boots at the Motel 6 during booty call hours.
3. "Litty" (ft. Tory Lanez)
I hate the word "litty" but my GOD THE BEAT JUST DROPPED AND I MIGHT'VE JUST LOST BOTH MY EARS NO VAN GOGH. OH MY. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. I need to start this over so I can go reclaim my soul. Regaining myself. Tory Lanez never sounds like Tory Lanez but at least he doesn’t sound like Bryson Tiller this time. They could mumble and because of this beat I would still rock out. I hope this is the single just so I can jump on couches. Shoutout to Tory Lanez mentioning his headline. Wait, Tory just mentioned Quentin Miller. On a Meek song!? Yo, I swear Drake enemies are creating a Justice League. THIS IS BY FAR ONE OF THE HARDEST BEATS I'VE HEARD ALL YEAR. R.I.P KIMBO SLICE THIS BEAT SOUNDS LIKE HOW YOU USED TO PUNCH. "LITTY" IS A KIMBO KNOCK OUT. Three songs in and this album is sounding like my weekend. Meek's finding his groove.
I don’t see how you follow up such a monster. WOOOO, this sounds like some vintage J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League Maybach Music. WHY ISN’T RICK ROSS ON THIS? “I was born poor, I'm going to die rich.” This beat has the sweetest piano, with an elegant sample, but the most boisterous drums. Meek is getting these bars off. I haven’t been this motivated to get rich since watching Wolf On Wall Street. “It’s no roof so they can see me shine”—the famous last words of JFK. “The cops killing us like it’s war with niggas.” Heartfelt Meek is the Meek the people need. Impressed wouldn’t do justice for how I currently feel about DC4. The last two tracks could've been intros and that means something. R.I.P. Lil Snupe. “Drop top even with a price on my head.” Bravo Meek Mill, Bravo. We cooking. Sweet piano outro.
5. "Froze" (ft. Lil Uzi Vert & Nicki Minaj)
We go from a spiritual experiment to Lil Uzi Vert wailing, gotta love Philly. Another banging beat, another strong flow from Meek. That bass is sounding darker than a drunk Loch Ness monster. I tend to hate Uzi, hate is a strong word, but I rarely like him. I can see his appeal, that energy is infectious, but all the sound effects are more annoying than Brainy breathing on Helga’s neck. Nicki! Jay Z flow? Okay, Nicki. I’m so glad Nicki and Meek aren’t making corny couple music. We need bangers. Nicki closing the verse with her best Uzi impression, someone close to her please never allow that to happen ever again in the history of recorded music. A very turnt close, this could be a club record. Definitely a potential single.
6. "The Difference" (ft. Quavo)
It’s getting strange how artists really aren’t releasing one single or singles at all. This is an album for the streets, these beats are DIRTY. This is the music that people wanted from Meek. Meek rapping and Quavo ad-libs are the best combination since McDonald’s fries and a McFlurry. Wait, is Quavo doing Desiigner ad-libs or is that Desiigner? LMAO I hate rappers. A fun record, this one would send the roof off a club. Quavo with the ice skating flow. One day we're going to have a discussion about how good this man is at rapping. This is good.
7. "Lights Out" (ft. Don Q)
So far Meek hasn’t had a miss yet. “Just got you a half a brick music.” Meek putting lobster in his noodles? That’s a stunt. Drums feel a bit lackluster, a mid-tempo joint. I don’t know who Don Q is, but he sounds good. This is a much slower joint, less powerful than the previous tracks. Feels like I just came down from a sugar rush. Good song, didn’t blow me away, but it’s good.
8. "Blue Notes"
It feels like there have only been a few moments where it’s just been Meek. I’m liking how this sounds already. Very intimate. A voice, unfamiliar, but you can hear the passion and sadness in his voice. This is the most unlike-Meek song, and then the drums kicked in. This is like trap-blues music. OHHHHHHHHHHHH, more of this please. I need a rewind. This is sounding too good. I need to know if this is a sample or an original composition. I wonder who he’s referring to? Again, heartfelt Meek is the Meek the people need. “I put a brick in the wishing well.” This is a keeper. Seeing a lot of diversity with Meek on this album and I’m impressed. Man, that guitar strumming is tugging at my heart string. This song ended too soon.
9. "Offended" (ft. Young Thug & 21 Savage)
We back to turning up. Young THUGGER. Another conversation we need to have is how Young Thug is a good feature. These ad-libs have me falling out of my chair. I swear Thug’s voice does things that aren’t humanly possible. It bends, morphs and transforms. “Put a swimming pool in the living room.” Meek adjusted the flow, it’s a bit more animated, and this beat is bouncing like a kindergarten class in a moon bounce. I never know where Thug's hook begins and his verse ends. 21 Savage is the most believable rapper since Freddie Gibbs. If he told me he shot Abe Lincoln I would believe him. He’s delivering. I like this, this is Meek’s “Mixtape.” Good joint.
10. "You Know" ft. YFN Lucci
Sounded like Nicki singing… From a woman’s voice to a man. What’s going on with this beat? It’s like a lot of extra noise. I can’t put my finger on exactly what this song sounds like, but it doesn’t really sound like a Meek joint. I hate when rappers call private jets “PJs.” I need to give Lucci an ear, I’ve heard some solid raps. I’m pretty uninterested in this song, but I don’t think I care much for when Meek does the records that are focused on some unnamed woman. Definitely Nicki on the vocals. Uncredited, but that’s her voice. See man, we almost got out the project without the forced couple song. What couple makes the best music in hip-hop? Future and Ciara could’ve been…
11. "Way Up" (ft. Tracy T)
Now we back, Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E. on the beat, and you know it bangs. Meek is skating. Another hustler anthem that we could’ve used during the summer. Tracy T sounds like an aggressive lost Migo but he’s pulling off a figure 8 with this verse. This is a short one, but it’s solid. Really would’ve been something if it was delivered late June, early July.
12. "Two Wrongs" (ft. Guordan Banks & Pusha T)
Oh a soulful voice has appeared. “Is it my life or your life?” Meek is talking that talk. This is coming from a very deep place. Oh man, was that a chill? There’s something very powerful when rappers drop the persona and show their human side. This is a human-ass verse. Something about the singing is good, but off. Pusha T has arrived. “Nancy Reagan raised a monster” woooooo. I don’t care what you say, Pusha T can talk about selling cocaine for the rest of my life and I’ll still listen!
13. "Tony Story 3"
My little brother was a huge fan of the Tony Story series. I can’t remember it for anything, but it really does showcase Meek’s storytelling prowess. We need the Tony Story featured film. He pretty much wrote a movie script in rap form. Need 50 to bring Meek into the writer's room for Power. A plot twist. Yeah, this is good. I need to play all three of the Tony’s together. “If he dies nobody cries for the bad guy.” Part 4 is going to be a movie, Meek says… literally.
14. "Outro" (ft. Lil Snupe & French Montana)
LIL SNUPE!!! Man, tragic what happened to the kid. He raps with so much passion. SNUPE IS GOING IN! That rapid flow is ridiculous. This loop sounds like something that you’ll hear in a horror movie. DRUMS DROPPED AND IT SOUND LIKE THE UNDERTAKER CRIP WALKING. Meek is taking off like a rocket. Oh shit. Every now and then I forget French Montana is a rapper. French delivers the Jay Z on “Pop Style” feature. Meek came back in with the flying kick like when you switch characters on Marvel vs. Capcom. Sheeh. These horns and these drums are a terror together. This is how you close out an album.
Meek Mill is back and better than ever. It’s the best possible way to describe DC4—an album that highlights all of his greatest strengths and dims the weaknesses. It never occurred to me how important production was in setting the ambiance for Meek’s music. He needs a sound that’s hard-hitting and pulsing with vigor to match his style of rapping. Meek knows his sound, DC4 is him finding the best of that sound and delivering it back, to back, to back. This is where Meek really shows his Rick Ross ear for beats. There’s so much life in the album that you as a listener will feel lively. There are very few moments where you don’t feel like the music is kicking you in the chest.
I would say this is Meek’s most complete, and best album. This is the project I wanted from Dreams Worth More Than Money. Out of all his past projects, nothing has ever sounded this polished and refined. It’s like he’s been training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and returned as Super Saiyan Meek. This is the strong project he needed to really reinsert himself back into the rap world. DC4 was worth the painful wait and all the nonsense that came along with it.
I only need one listen to knight this the return of Meek Mill. This is his rebirth, his resurrection and possibly the beginning of his reign.
By Yoh, aka Yoh Without The Rollie, aka @Yoh31.