Dreams. If there’s any word that is most closely associated with Meek Mill, it’s “dreams.” From his Dreamchasers mixtape series to his debut studio album, Dreams and Nightmares, to his most recent release — Dreams Worth More Than Money, or DWMTM — Mill has built his music around the framework of dreams.
But it’s becoming increasingly difficult for artists in the constantly evolving hip-hop industry to stay relevant without constantly evolving themselves. Versatility and experimentation are more heavily valued, and sticking to just one thing can be harmful for a rapper.
In DWMTM, Mill hasn’t changed. The core of the album still points back to his signature rags-to-riches motif. Although Mill never does much to step out of his comfort zone, his newest album is more than just a repetition of one style. Through a strategic use of guest artists, Mill has achieved something that not many can: He has put together a project with all the elements it needs to be a strong and marketable album without Mill himself having to switch up his style.
In DWMTM, Mill uses his features to produce a diversity of sounds. With his guest artists assisting him, Mill gets to stick to doing what he’s good at. The combination of new material from the features and Mill’s pure, signature bars elevates DWMTM to an all-around solid work.
Mill isn’t looking to impress anybody with his wordplay. His strength lies in being direct and using his music to paint a reality. At his best, he pulls out a specific example and takes the listener through his struggles, such as in “The Trillest,” when he says, “Do you know the feeling during Easter with no clothes? / Now it’s stars in the ceiling, bringing ether out the rose / With the curtains on the windows, I’m just peekin’ at my ghost.”
But what elevates DWMTM from a mixtape of well-written bars to a sophisticated, Billboard-worthy product is the variety of styles introduced by the star-power features. Featuring heavyweights such as Future, Drake, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, the Weeknd, Diddy and more, DWMTM has guest artists who are like an ensemble cast in a movie.
And these artists don’t just make cameo appearances. They play impactful roles and change the dynamics of the songs on which they appear. This is seen in “Jump out the Face,” when Future blesses the track with his melodic rapping skills, which are a hybrid of autotuned singing and rapping. Because he recruits innovative artists with strong loyal followings, such as Future, to showcase their abilities, Mill himself doesn’t have to be innovative. Instead, he can do what he’s always done, while his featured artists do all the innovative, game-changing work.
While Mill’s music isn’t for everybody, DWMTM contains all the necessities of a high-quality album. Mill doesn’t change who he is, because he believes that his raw, authentic portrayal of himself is all he needs to carry him to success. And when the features are added, DWMTM establishes Mill as a household name in rap today.
Contact Ritchie Lee at [email protected].