Dreams and Nightmares
Maybach Music Group
Here are some facts about Philadelphia: it has a constant air of agitation; bat crime (Louisville, not mammals of the order Chiroptera) is higher than anywhere else in the nation (perhaps related to Fact #1); it ranks 92 out of 100 cities in the nation for adults with post-secondary credentials despite the preponderance of universities there; if you attend a wedding there that ends at 10:30pm and have to be at the airport at 5:30am, New York City is not a reasonable time-killing destination, especially if you fall asleep on the way back and end up in Delaware.
Oh, and it is the little bit of heaven whence Meek Mill’s, aka Robert Williams’, third studio album, Dreams and Nightmares, just dropped. Amen.
“Dreams And Nightmares” opens the vault melodically, placing Meek Mill’s rhymes front and center. The game promptly changes on the short but supremely menacing, “In God We Trust (prod. by Black Metaphor for Nightrydas Productons).” “Young & Gettin’ It (feat. Kirko Bangz)” continues the theme of money, though on a much lighter pop rap note.
“Traumatized” brings it with a soulful backing. We also hear rain sounds, conveying the sadness of friends that are now gone. Less sad but no less reflective, “Maybach Curtains (feat. Nas, John Legend & Rick Ross)” lets the incomparable John Legend do his John legend thing, while Meek Mill breaks down his road of adversity and progress. Don’t miss the slightest hint of trumpet repeating in this song. It is a subtle yet effective nuance.
With “Amen (feat. Drake),” Meek Mill has caught some Philadelphia preacher heat, the fires of which he has deflected reasonably, on the grounds that preachers are not fans of hip hop, in general. I tend to agree, and, were I know to any preachers, I am sure I’d catch some preacher heat myself for any number of my actions. What is less clear is why he would choose to put himself close enough to the Chris Brown vs. Drake debate to have been a witness and possible participant in their nightclub debacle.
“Young Kings” highlights my impending deafness, as I first thought it contained a lyric reading, “All white girls, I call them Cool Whip.” Meek Mill, may I suggest this alteration?
“Lay Up (feat. Wale, Rick Ross & Trey Songz)” is a bouncy number that reminds me of the first warm day of the season in a big city. You know those days, where everyone puts on shorts whether or not they should and drives around like an asshole because they’ve been pent up, captive to months of gray.
Bringing back the rain, “Tony Story Pt. 2” is another sad number, with poignant piano bringing home the point that everyone killed everyone, and it sucks. In other words, a culture of violence and retaliation ultimately brings discontent and heartache for all involved.
My views on the next song, “Who Your Around (feat. Mary J. Blige),” should be stricken from the record, as I am fairly sure I fell in love with Mary J. sometime in the mid-nineties, after a Behind the Music documentary on the fair subject. She just kills it, every time, and this time is no exception. The song is especially apt if you’ve ever seen that Biography Channel show I Killed My BFF.
“Rich & Famous (feat. Louie V)” shines with judicious use of autotune, making this cautionary tale about money lust drip like syrup in your ears before “Real Nigga Come First” closes out Dreams and Nightmares on an aggressive note.
This reviewer would be remiss in not mentioning one thing, which is that, despite his prowess as a dope rhyme factory, Meek Mill lingers a little too long on hackneyed topics: bitches, drugs, guns, crime. Yeah. We have heard it all before. While he does that exceptionally well, this mug clearly has the aptitude to branch out. Let’s see it. You don’t have to don clever glasses and a backpack, but give us a little more to bounce around our little small yet hopefully expanding pea brains. That said, Dreams and Nightmares is pretty great.
Stream Dream and Nightmares in its entirety, courtesy of Grooveshark.