Meek Mill Catches A New Dream

Dreamchasers 4 Album Review

Album cover depicts a younger Meek Mill after he was arrested for drug trafficking.

Photo Courtesy of Maybach Music Group

Album cover depicts a younger Meek Mill after he was arrested for drug trafficking.

Ahmar Rogue Hunley, Staff Writer

For years artists have used music as an outlet to express creative ambitions and life experiences. Among these artists is Pennsylvania born rapper Meek Mill, born as Robert Williams. Known as a critically praised artist and producer working alongside hip-hop greats such as Kanye West and Rick Ross, Mill has seen his fair share of success. Mill has been recently working on a new album that was released on October 29th. The album, dubbed Dream-chasers 4, follows the prior three installments of his Dream-chaser series.

Dream-chasers 4 has been in the works for a year and during that time many fans were led astray by false release dates and conflicting information. Mill has, never the less, used this year of preparation wisely as the album can be summed up as a mix of unrelenting, energetic, wise street-rap. Including an all-star cast of fellow artists such as Tory Lanez and Pusha T, DC4, this current effort is a step up from Mill’s last album Dreams Worth More Than Money which flopped on billboard charts. However, Mill has produced this album very differently from previous Dreamchaser albums, an approach both praised and belittled by fans and critics at the same time.

The first song on the album “On The Regular” is the doormat to our DC4experience. Starting off with a sample of O Fortuna from Mills DC1 album, the song seems to set us up for another heated exchange of words. However, instead of the compacted bar filled lyricism of its predecessor, Mill opts for a more steady composition with a flow more suitable for a night out at the club than a classic Chicago cipher. Not to say it’s not an enjoyable song. The hook is quite catchy and the way he spreads out his lyrics makes it easy to follow and relatable. Yet, it is a bit anti-climatic for fans considering the fact that Mill is known for his aggressive style and jaw-dropping lyricism. This song takes a much more subtle route which is a huge digression from Mill’s trademark style of confronting and enthralling the listener immediately.

In contrast to “On The Regular”, the strongest song on the album is “Shine”, an uplifting song with an over-the-top gospel beat similar to “Graduation Day” by Kanye West. The song includes a piano and percussion combo that lifts the spirit and sets the tempo as Mill raps about the struggle of “the game” and how different his life is now that he is famous. “Shine” shows us the old Meek Mill we all know and love as he is given plenty of room and full control of the song’s pacing. Using strategically sequenced flow transitions and down-to-earth lyricism bolstered by swelling gospel choir backup vocals, Mill clearly delivers his message of perseverance and determination.

However, based on this album’s songs as compared to previous tracks like “All Eyes On You”, “Lil Snupe”, and “The Difference”, this latest project demonstrates that Mill is veering onto a different artistic path. The music is vastly different in contrast to older Dream-Chaser albums when considering the new rhythm styles and emphasis on pure lyricism. Most of the songs on his previous albums include frenetic, deep beats comparable to old-school rappers like Nas or Big Pun. In contrast, many of his new songs follow a steady, slow-tempo beat, which Mill uses to reign in the listener’s attention to more substantial, complex lyrics. Maybe this is because DC 4 has something substantially different to say from previous DC albums. In the past, the most revisited topics included gang warfare, living n poverty and being “raised” in the streets. DC 4 delivers a message to everyone listening that Mill has finally made it big and even though he is now famous, he will always remember his roots.

All in all, Dreamchasers 4 is worth a listen for if you are interested in listening to Mill for the first time. However, if you are a die-hard Meek Mill fan with a dead-set dedication to his past style, DC 4 will probably disappoint you. The album stands on its own, but it suffers by comparison to previous work. The best elements of the project are the plethora of guest artists, intricate beat selection, and a varied tone that has not been seen from Meek before. The fact remains that no matter how important this change of pace might be for him as an artist, the new direction will probably come off as less authentic or satisfying to fans expecting the hard-edged grit and rhyme of past albums.