Meek Mill - DC4 Album Review
We been waiting on this project for some time now. Finally, Meek decided that after a pretty barren year release wise, the next installment in the Dreamchasers mixtape series was to be dropped.
Considering Drake single-handedly erased any memories of just how good Meek’s major label debut release ‘Dreams Worth More Than Money‘ was, the gloss that was so hastily removed from the success of that album needed to be replaced with something that not only matched, but obliterated that masterpiece, and resurrected the decomposing bones of what has been threatening to become an emaciated skeleton of a career so far. DC4 marks a return to the mixtapes Meek and his early fans are so familiar with.
Nothing screams a dramatic return more than the high-pitched, X-Factor-esque sample drawn from Carl Orff’s ‘O Fortuna‘ to lay the foundations for the beat on the opening song, ‘On The Regular‘. The booming MP808 production is a vintage Meek instrumental, allowing him to showcase his trademark Philly yell, lyrically confident as ever rapping;
“I do not see no competitors/Hating cause we got ahead of them,”.
The theme is set from the outset, a listing of the hustler’s way of living, the only way Meek knows how to rap. Inadvertently however, the opening verse of the mixtape outlines a symmetry of a certain Drizzy verse from years gone by;
“Fuckin’ on the regular/Drippin’ on the regular/Trippin’ on the regular/Count it on the regular/Sippin’ on the regular’/Never smokin’ regular,”
These lines are in stark contrast to Drizzy’s version of flexing on his ‘Nothing Was the Same‘ cut ‘Furthest Thing‘ in which he speaks of ‘Drinkin’ on the low/Mobbin’ on the low/Fuckin’ on the low/Smokin’ on the low,”. Whether a deliberate attempt at dividing a line between Drake’s seemingly mellow approach and his own gangsta lane is possibly, at best, sceptical to assume, but fascinatingly similar lyrical messages are too hard to ignore.
‘Blessed Up‘ is similarly hard, albeit a rather safe second track, a tried and tested Meek flow, something which is a constant throughout this tape, a reverence back to keeping things in line with the exact flow, delivery and production which has propelled Meek to where he sits in the game today. ‘Litty‘ is the standout track. Mad! Tory Lanez, an obvious feature choice, such is the shared disdain with Meek towards Drake, and also frequent collaborator, the styles of the Toronto spitter and Meek’s fiery Philly twang compliment each other brilliantly. Sound M.O.B’s devilishly thunderous production is as powerful as it is straight up G.
The most impressive aspect of the mixtape is the versatility in beats. Meek has defined his own style, and very rarely veers from his aggressive 110-miles-per-hour delivery, but the way he can translate this one-dimensional flow atop beats laced with pummelling 808s, to angelic, motivational beats such as the Street Runner produced ‘Shine‘ is a gift in itself. “Wasn’t for this music, I’d prolly be dead,” the opening gambit to a deep track that symbolises the fine line between making it, in the game and being another death statistic, a problematic aspect of rap and the US in general.
Some features on DC4 are rather lacklustre, aside from Tory’s contribution. ‘Froze’ and ‘The Difference‘ definitely feel like throwaway tracks, included to pack the tape out a little in numbers. ‘Lights Out’ sees Bronx favourite Don Q channel his inner-Jadakiss flow, one of the stronger feature verses on DC4. The hook by Meek is a catchy, typically rip-roaring yeller, that incorporates his love for the ‘Wraith’, a common theme throughout the whole mixtape and indeed lots of Meek’s music.
The catalogue of industry affiliates that Meek can call upon is impressive. Young Thug and 21 Savage feature on ‘Offended’, crafting three different but current flows to create a nice club banger feel that epitomises the now classic Trap sound of Atlanta.
The stop-start effect of DC4 however, is the one major downfall of the project. One great song is followed by two rather tepid affairs; a frustrating feature but one that is just overridden by the quality of the stronger tracks.
‘Two Wrongs‘ is a real late night track, with the exceptional vocals of Guordan Banks on the chorus, delivering a haunting, echoey feel that is similar to that of Jeremih. The inclusion of Pusha T on this track adds a further unexpected dimension, not a collaboration that you would’ve had down as being a successful one, but the mellowness of the track compliments the sheer powerfulness of the subliminal message behind the song.
A killer Outro brings the curtain down on DC4, featuring the late but never forgotten Lil Snupe and the veteran French Montana. Snupe’s lyrical content provides a somewhat accurate account of how he was eventually killed. A depressingly familiar harsh reality of the troubles making it big in Hip-Hop can bring, but nevertheless, Meek’s continuation of his music is something which we can all still rejoice about.
Overall, the project has been put together using consistencies that Meek is synonymous with over his past successes. His ‘back to basics’ mantra which is rather obvious throughout the whole Dreamchasers franchise, is a testament to Meek now focusing his efforts on creating hard-hitting street music, rather than becoming a peripheral figure on the skirmishes of the rap game, been swatted aside in petty beefs by so called heavyweights like Drake and The Game. Meek Mill’s ability to craft his lyrical prowess upon tenacious beats is what helped him develop a huge fanbase in the initial stages of his career.