Album Review: Meek Mill ‘Championships’

Meek Mill successfully chases his dreams to ‘Championship’ with new album.

In 2011, Philly-native Meek Mill garnered widespread attention due to the buzz surrounding his breakthrough mixtape, ‘Dreamchasers’. Jam packed with a medley of radio-friendly club bangers, deep cuts, and aggressive swagger, Meek would start to become a household name on the urban market. Records such as “House Party” and “I’m a Boss” remain some of his most popular tunes to date.

The following year, Meek would release the follow-up, ‘Dreamchasers 2’, collaborate with Mariah Carey (‘I did sh*t with Mariah’ — a reference to their 2012 promotional single “Triumphant (Get ‘Em)”), and release his first official studio, “Dreams and Nightmares”. Since then, Meek has been linked to several urban chart highlights over the past six years, however, he’s also found himself in high controversy. He had a very public breakup with Nicki Minaj, and two high profile feuds with Drake and Safarr, respectively. Tie that to an arrest in 2017 and it seems that the star once poised to make his dreams a reality was no longer chasing his dreams at all.

Following his release from prison, Meek began releasing some promotional singles to build buzz for his return. While decent listens, none of them quite took off to the masses, with the exception of Jeremih/Ty Dolla $ign assisted “Dangerous”. That is until this past Friday, November 30 when the dream re-emerged; this time in the form of a dream fulfilled. For years Meek Mill has been fighting to prove he isn’t a fad of the moment or just another Philly rapper. And finally, he has a record that proves that.

Titled ‘Championships’, the album is undeniably fueled by the Super Bowl win for the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this year. In Meek’s regard, the album feels a lot like that win for the Eagles; a victory that has been anticipated for a long time, and has finally prevailed. The title track is evident of that as it aggressively pays homage to old Meek, but still leaves room to show his evolution as an artist over the course of the last seven years since becoming mainstream.

That is not to say that the album is at all focused on trendy fashion to appeal to mainstream. This still sounds very much like a Meek Mill album. The difference is that similar to his mixtape days, Meek is focused on proving that his dream is worthy of being chased. There’s an underlying connection from the production on tracks like standout “Almost Slipped” and Kodak Black assisted “Tic Tac Toe” that are reminiscent of works like “Love Don’t Live Here” and “Ridin’ and Getting It”. Drake’s feature on the track “Going Bad” is a proper payoff to a high profile feud that ultimately saw a downfall in Meek’s mainstream appeal in 2015. Instead of loathing in that, he conquers it maturity and growth.

There’s symbolism between “100 Summers” and classic “Middle of the Summer”. His intro and second track “Trauma” are as close to former Meek intros as perhaps possible. And perhaps some of the most welcoming of tunes are those that replicate his evolution. Over a sexy sample of Beyonce’ classic “Me, Myself, and I”, Meek is assisted by R&B songstress Ella Mai; Cardi B is the ultimate passenger on banger “On Me”. But of course, the talk that everyone is discussing is the Jay-Z and Rick Ross featured “What’s Free”. While everyone may be buzzing about HOV and Ross taking jabs at Trump, Kanye, and 6ix9ine, Meek reminds everyone that he can more than hold his own with the veterans himself. Cap this with a nostalgic banger with Fabolous, the soothing “Uptown Vibes”, and you have one of the most consistent rap releases of the last few years.

For too long, it has seemed like Meek was trying to either regain former accolades or compete with the trends that have confined the rap game since 2015. Instead now, the hungry aggression of a rapper that took the world by storm in 2011, has returned poised with arguably his strongest LP set to date. It is clear that Meek is no longer just chasing his dreams, he is now turning them into championships… and he’s doing so successfully.  


December 18, 2018

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