In this day and age, an artist is never new anymore with the release of their first album. It takes months, and even sometimes years, between when someone is introduced to the general public and when his or her first full length album becomes available. And, it requires a lot to stay relevant in that time period.
With this week’s release of Meek Mill’s Dreams and Nightmares, AllHipHop.com takes a look at five musical moments (in chronological order) in Meek Mill’s career thus far that have helped him go from a relative Philly unknown to Nas co-signing him by saying, “I got my eyes on him. He’s the next one to take this sh*t over.”Quite possibly, Nas. Peep game:
1. “Tupac Back”: In April 2011, the first single from Maybach Music Group’s (MMG) compilation entitled Self Made Vol. 1 dropped. The song was called “Tupac Back” and featured Meek Mill with an anchor by Rick Ross.
While the successful record spawned numerous remixes by other artists, Ross told the press their ultimate goal was to show respect to Tupac. Said Ross, “Just showing love man and shout out to all the G’s, Greg Street, and everybody else who showed love and embraced the video and embraced the homies as we paid homage to the legend.” What better way to introduce his new artist Meek Mill than by paying homage to an old one?
2. Dreamchasers 2: On May 7, 2012, Meek dropped his highly-anticipated mixtape, Dreamchasers 2. The project was originally scheduled to come out a month prior, but the delay only built anticipation. Upon the mixtape’s release, it was downloaded in record numbers - in fact, in one day, it tallied over 2.5 million downloads.
The project was met with a decent response and, in addition to showcasing Meek’s skills, it also highlighted Hip-Hop's current class of rappers on the rise. Guest appearances on Dreamchasers 2 include, but aren’t limited to, Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, and Big Sean. Game recognize game.
3. Club Paradise Tour: Right alongside the release of Dreamchasers 2, Drake set out on the second leg of the "Club Paradise Tour" in support of his Take Care album. This move helped "take care" of Meek Mill, as he was showcased as one of the opening acts. That particular leg of the tour took him from large venues in California to ones in North Carolina - prime expoure.
And, even with the fight between Drake and Chris Brown in New York near the end of the tour - during which Meek claimed to be a bystander - it did little to slow down the momentum that he had been building while on tour in Spring 2012.
4. “Amen”: This past June, Meek Mill put out “Amen” as a single featuring Drake that first appeared on Dreamchasers 2. Controversy soon followed, however, when a pastor from his hometown of Philadelphia, Rev. Jomo K. Johnson, called for a boycott of the song because of its use of religious language. Meek addressed Johnson directly in a call to Philadelphia radio station Hot 107.9 in July.
After Meek Mill later apologized, the boycott was called off. The controversy itself wasn’t the best look, but it proved that people were paying attention to Meek, and was a sure sign that he was making captivating music.
5. Dreams and Nightmares: This week, on October 30, Meek Mill’s proper debut album, Dreams and Nightmares, finally hit shelves. With icons like Jay-Z and Will Smith in attendance for the album’s preview earlier in the month, expectations were certainly high.
And, with a cut like “Who You’re Around” alongside the incomparable Mary J. Blige, and “Maybach Curtains” featuring Nas, John Legend, and Rick Ross generating attention, Meek is in a prime position to do even bigger things for himself and MMG. Undoubtedly, this album is something that fans and critics will closely follow.
Purchase Meek Mill's Dreams and Nightmares on iTunes.