Meek Mill got next. After turning Maybach Music Group’s Self Made Vol.1 compilation into his coming out party, the XXL Freshman is on the cusp of stardom.
With two Rick Ross-featured heaters (“Tupac Back” and “I’m A Boss”) still steaming, Meek’s DJ Drama-hosted mixtape, Dreamchasers, is poised to push the Philadelphia MC’s buzz into overdrive.
The tape opens fittingly with the A One-produced “Intro”—a making-of-a-legend-feel track that chops up Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” composition previously sampled on Nas’ “Hate Me Now” and Cam’ron’s “Get ‘Em Girls.” The streets-approved MC wastes no time assuring his newfound visibility hasn’t lessened his pedigree. “Monday, it’s probably 106 & Park/Tuesday, probably in the hood where it get dark/Wednesday, probably catch me swimmin’ with the sharks with blood drippin’ from my shoes,” he spits.
The inspirational “Get Dis Money” finds a hopeful Meek reliving his down-bottom days over All Star’s triumphant soundscape. “I used to smoke my little L/Thinkin’ bout my master plan/Tryin’ to get a million fuckin’ dollars out of half a man/Dead broke, got a nigga feelin’ like I’m half a man/We gon’ get this money, though/We just in a traffic jam,” he recalls.
Aside from a brief slump midway through, Meek’s ability to swing his audience using various moods without disrupting the project’s cohesion makes for a compelling listen. He pops bottles with Young Chris on “House Party,” chefs up cookout music on “Middle of the Summer” and talks superior shit alongside Rick Ross on “Work.” Through all the cameos, Meek firmly stands on his own two, never using the guest stars as a crutch. The poignant title track—a bridging of Philly’s generational gap of sorts—features Meek and Beanie Sigel recounting the hardships they’ve endured while chasing their dreams. Despite a 13-year difference between the two MCs—who offer different perspectives on the cut—the message is clear: same struggle, different day.
Clocking in at 75 minutes, Dreamchasers could stand to lose a few songs, but the 21-track tape never feels like a drag—primarily because of Meek’s perpetually urgent delivery. In addition to a seemingly never-ending array of high-energy verses, the disc also shows Meek’s growth into a capable conceptual songwriter. In enlisting Drama, it’s clear what Meek’s objective is here—to add Chasers to the select list of breakthrough mixtapes (see: Young Jeezy’s Trap or Die, Lil Wayne’s Dedication) that Mr. Thanksgiving has helmed over the years. Calling Dreamchasers a classic may be a bit of a stretch, but it undoubtedly precipitates anticipation for Meek’s eventual debut. —Carl Chery