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Meek Mill, Dreamchasers 2

Meek Mill is closing in on his moment of truth. The 2011 XXL Freshman is set to drop his highly anticipated solo debut, Dreams & Nightmares, in August. The LP will reveal whether or not Meek’s success through mixtapes, smash singles and guest appearances can actually translate into record sales.

Before that, though, the vocally animated Philadelphia MC unleashes the sequel to his celebrated 2011 Dreamchasers mixtape, with Dreamchasers 2, again hosted by DJ Drama. The tape gets off to a blazing start on “Intro”—with Meek using a classic quote-monster-of-a-clip from Iron Mike Tyson, in which the former heavyweight champ preaches his unmatched authenticity. Meek does exactly the same, separating himself from studio street rappers with lines like, “Realest nigga in it, all you gotta do is say it/If a nigga rap dissin’ when I see him I’ma spray him.”

Tinkering with rap classics has historically been bad for business, but the 25-year-old makes “Ready or Not” his own on the All Star-produced revamp. Sampling Enya’s “Boadicea”—just as The Fugees did for their blockbuster single of the same name 16 years ago—the track features Meek offering I-told-you-so bars and rhyming about betrayal in the wake of his newfound fame.

The MMG MC takes listeners to church on “Amen”—a sultry Drake and Jeremih-assisted track that’s sure to garner spins through the summer. The tape falls into a momentarily lull with “A1 Everything” and “Use to Be,” but the slump, expectedly, doesn’t persist. More standouts abound, including “Flexing,” “Big Dreams,” the star-studded “House Party (Remix)” featuring Fabolous, Wale and Mac Miller, as well as “Str8 Like That.”

The tape reflects an evolution in Meek’s subject matter. While Dreamchasers documented Meek’s struggles, its sequel speaks on hardships in the past tense. “Every other month I make a million, “ as he boasts on “Ready or Not,” is more of a familiar theme, here. At 20 tracks, Dreamchasers 2 is sort of a long-player, but it fulfills its purpose in prepping Meek’s fans for the main event. —Carl Chery (@cchery)

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