On the back of the first two tapes in the Dreamchasers series, Meek’s carved out a very strong position in the mainstream hip-hop scene, and certainly ranks as one of MMG’s more recognisable names. Credit to Meek then for sticking with the mixtape scene, despite the fact he could have probably put half of these tracks onto an EP and made a lot of money; clearly, he just wants to get a lot of product out there, and that’s to be appreciated.
Features on this are big-name heavy, as you’d expect, with Diddy, Nicki Minaj, Fabolous, Future, Jadakiss and Ma$e appearing alongside MMG leader Rick Ross, whilst the producer lineup boasts Cardo, Boi-1da, Key Wane and even the massively-forgotten Scott Storch. Meek’s proven himself a very versatile rapper, so expect a couple of club hits, speaker rattlers and maybe a more introspective track or two. Either way, mainstream heads will be grabbing this one- do so for free below.
The backlash when Luda ‘turned pop’ last year was pretty strong, and he’s back with this offering, compiling tracks he’s been releasing every Friday for the past few weeks with some new, unheard efforts.
He’s definitely cashed that Fast and Furious 6 money early here, as a raft of big names are out with assists. Features include Young Jeezy, Chris Brown, Meek Mill, Swizz Beatz, Pusha T, Mac Miller and French Montana; essentially, a who’s who of guest artists in hip-hop over the last 18 months. There are some strong names behind the board too, with recent Roc Nation signee DJ Mustard, Mike Will Made It and Bangladesh amongst the contributors, and the signs point towards a solid mainstream hip-hop release, and hopefully it’s one that comes without the dance-pop work he’d previously released.
Get Dough or Die is the mantra coming out of T.I.’s Hustle Gang camp, with this 20-track effort being the first collective release he’s put together from his rather well-known stable of artists.
Iggy Azalea, B.o.B, Chip(munk), Travis $cott, Trae the Truth, Young Dro, and T.I. are the bedrock of the tape, with a couple of lesser known artists from the team also involved, in addition to features from French Montana, Meek Mill, Problem and several others. Essentially, it’s full to the brim with massive names in hip-hop, and that extends to a producer list that includes David Banner, Young Chop, Nard & B, whilst there are also several self-produced efforts from within the Hustle Gang camp. If Tip’s recent form is anything to go by, this should have at least a few gems on it, and you can grab the whole thing for nothing below.
Fair play to Funk Flex for this though, as the lineup is unbelievable and essentially a snapshot of mainstream hip-hop at this moment in time. Appearances include A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Childish Gambino, Fabolous, Action Bronson, Slaughterhouse, Young Jeezy and many, many more; for a full list, check out the back artwork over at Funk’s place. Many of the tracks from this tape have leaked out individually in the last 24 hours too, and thankfully they’re tagless versions, with one notable example being the Joey Bada$$ effort on the mixtape. If you’re after any of the other individual tracks, I’m sure a quick Google search can help you there, otherwise grab the bumper project for free below.
It’s been a very, very long time in the making but Cassie finally comes through with a full-length project, her first since her 2006 debut album. Hard to believe given the steady stream of loose material that’s emerged from her camp in the interim period, but it’s good that in that time she’s evolved and refined her sound into the laidback electro R&B stylings that this mixtape is expected to be filled with.
Features are plentiful here, with appearances from Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Jeremih, Pusha T, Fabolous and more, whilst I’m sure the production credits (which aren’t listed) won’t be lacking either. Datpiff seem to be having problems, but expect the download to be available at the below link shortly.
Whilst Drake’s contribution to the original wasn’t great, the production found favour with many and despite its obvious plus points it seems very few of note (Wiz aside) have taken it for a spin themselves.
Meek gives it a go though, and does a good job. No-one’s expecting lyrical wizardry or syntactical brilliance, but Meek’s ever-present enthusiasm contrasts nicely with the bleak production, and his general commitment to the track shines through with a consistent flow that packs in a confident and fun set of raps. Again, nothing new but a good refresh of an instrumental that’s crying out for someone to dominate. Dreamchasers 3 lands on 6th May.
View MMG as a sliding scale. If Stalley is at the end that true hip-hop heads can appreciate, then Rick Ross is probably at the other end, that being mainstream focus and acceptability. Meek Mill is usually on the Ross end, but from time to time he lets loose flashes of nearing the Stalley side of things, and this is one of those times.
Set to be the opener on his upcoming debut LP, Dreams and Nightmares (released a week today), and let’s be clear- many albums have had great intros and lacked anything beyond that. This could very well be the same, but Meek’s put together an desire-filled starting point that plays to his positives: he’s allowed to be intense, he’s displaying the hunger associated with those much worse off than he is, and he’s wrapped it all in a motivational delivery and production that makes this very endearing. Good listening, and I hope the album has more of these.
Many enjoyed this collaboration between the MMG and G.O.O.D. rappers, taken from Meek’s Dreamchasers 2 mixtape of earlier this year, and it’s a decent choice for a buzz video before Meek drops off the Dreams and Nightmares album.
The production is intense and slightly dark with flicks of liveliness via the bell-like melody that consistently chimes throughout the track, and that relationship is capitalised on well with a dimly-lit environment boosted by bursts of fire. It’s far from a complicated, intricate video but it works closely enough with the audio to embellish its intensity and show off the energy of each artist, whilst giving them the now-expected opportunity to display their lavish goods. It’s not a video you’ll remember 2 months down the line and think ‘oh, I really want to rewatch that’, but it’s a decent refresh of the audio.
The MMG clan almost come together in their entireity on this one, and there’s always a sense of trepidation when seeing a line-up this strong from the group, usually because it results in tired flows on repetitive beats.
Not this time. The production is funky, upbeat and packed with an infectious energy, elements which are excellently recreated by every rapper on the track. Torch lays down the gauntlet with a speedy delivery that sets things off nicely, before Meek Mill jumps in with quick raps of his own that amp up the track’s intensity, helped by an energetic performance in the video. A smooth vocal hook eases things off briefly before the ever-crazy Gunplay gets going with a very active performance of another in-your-face verse, followed by Wale who comes close to getting the highlight verse with a watertight flow delivered with an unflappable cool. Breed makes a decent account of himself next, and Stalley’s on last with the standout verse, combining razor-sharp flow with lyricism that’s different enough from his colleagues to command a little more attention. A surprisingly enjoyable posse cut. iTunes is your friend.
Talk about label craziness. ABN representative and Grand Hustle-affiliated Trae Tha Truth drops a brand new tape for the hip-hop heads, hosted by Maybach Music Group’s DJ Scream. Any other labels want in here?
Clearly, everyone wants to be associated with Trae. It’s easy to spot why as his very unique delivery makes him instantly stand out from the crowd, and clearly Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, T.I., Young Jeezy, R. Kelly and many more agree given that they all makes appearances on the tape. Almost every track has a big name attached to it, and here’s to hoping Trae can hold his own and prove he belongs up with those names. Grab the enormous 20-track mixtape for free below.
I think Sterling Simms has finally got one. After years of plugging away in the R&B scene, it looks like he’s picked up a track here that could really gain some traction in mainstream circles.
Anyone with even a slight familiarity with Simms’ very R&B-focused style will be surprised with this. For all intents and purposes it’s a reggae track, with the minimal, bouncy production of the genre and Sterling’s vocal style on the track adapting to infuse the reggae style into it. His innate R&B sensibilities give this one a little gloss too, making it slightly more polished from a vocal perspective, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on your preference (mine being the rougher, more natural reggae style), and hence giving it a more mainstream appeal. Meek Mill coming along for the assist certainly doesn’t hurt, and his verse is surprisingly excellent, opening with an incredible rapid fire delivery that we’ve not seen from him, before settling into a slower flow with a hint of Caribbean style of his own.
Snoop Dogg isn’t the only one going reggae it seems. The genre’s on for a comeback!
For many, this was the standout track from Meek’s Dreamchasers 2 mixtape, and I’d probably consider it one of the highlights too. It’s a lighthearted, positive track, and for all of Drake’s faults his simple’preeeacch!’ on the hook is incredibly infectious and will surely be a big factor in this having a club impact over (what’s left of) the summer.
The popularity of the track suggests it may find a home on Meek’s upcoming debut LP, Dreams and Nightmares, and if that’s the case he’s got a solid, mainstream-ready video here as his first single. The video opens with the usual themes, staring with ‘the morning after’, moving to nice cars and private planes, before throwing in scenes of the club. The highlights visually are the addition of a little live and backstage footage from what I assume is Drake’s recent OVO Fest, which provides a couple of nice cameos from J. Cole and others, and whilst the video isn’t anything new thematically, it’s a feelgood, lively clip that’s sure to find plenty of favour in the mainstream.
Drama always brings heavy-hitters together for his singles, and he’s picked up two of the most wanted rappers in the mainstream scene right now (along with perennial hook maker Jeremih) for his latest effort.
Truthfully, it’s pretty average. It’s not clear whether the song is trying to be motivational or relaxing, and instead lands in a pretty cloudy area in between that really affects the execution of the hook and beat. With that said, Meek Mill definitely steals the show here with a passionate, hungry delivery that plays up the motivational aspects better than the rest of the vocal work, though 2 Chainz’s Southern drawl is still as magnetic as ever. Jeremih’s hook is very disappointing though, and the song being built so heavily around it unfortunately diminishes the replay value. Worth a listen for the entertaining Meek verse.
As far as brash, listenable mainstream rappers go, Meek Mill’s really grown on me in recent months. What helps is that there’s genuine talent there and you know that when he’s done with the ‘street anthem’ lane, he’ll still have a great career in the game.
Having heard 4 or 5 tracks from this tape prior to its release, I can honestly say I’m looking forward to giving this a full playthrough. Alongside head-nodding street anthems such as Burn, there are more solemn, lyric-centric efforts such as the fantastic Ready or Not, sampling The Fugees song of the same name, and I’m sure there’s plenty more diversity to enjoy across the rest of the tape. Features include Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Fabolous, Rick Ross and more, and with his debut album is set for release this summer, Meek will be hoping the assists from that group will further help to set him in good stead for that release. Free grab below.
That sophomore album keeps getting delayed or re-titled. Set to be the lead single from Is This Too Orange?, despite various other ‘lead singles’ being released, and hopefully we’re finally getting Asher’s second LP.
An energetic one with a dance-influenced beat, blended with a sampled hook of Eddie Murphy’s Party All The Time, and I’m not entirely sold on this one. The sample is annoying, and the thudding electro-style bass in the verses feels like an unnecessary addition, whilst the mainstream vibe of the track causes Asher to take his clever raps down a peg to match the production, and hence what brings are somewhat diluted raps by his standards. The Meek Mill feature doesn’t quite come off either, with his style not a great match for this style of production both from a flow and vocal perspective, which leads to an awkward-sounding verse. I’ve always supported Asher, but this isn’t a good release by his standards and strikes me as a label-enforced single.
The undisputed highlight of Wale’s Ambition album, this motivational number is an excellent choice to restart the Wale/MMG buzz.
As one of Wale’s better tracks to date, there’s pressure on the clip to deliver, and thankfully it does. The video opens with, and is mostly anchored around, a nightime cityscape, capturing the dark and moody elements of the audio very well, ensuring the true essence of the track is visualised appropriately. The verses contain some excellent semi-biographical sections too, with Meek Mill reflecting on his time back in his neighbourhood and Ross offering a rare glimpse of his personal life with some brief clips of life as a young upcomer. Wale closes things off with a mix of isolated and studio scenes, and it becomes apparent that his verse is incredibly thin subject-wise, in comparison to the more personal styles Meek and Ross go with, with his arrogant bars not quite fitting in with the general introspection of the song/video.
An enjoyable watch nonetheless, and a real standout track in Wale’s back catalogue. Grab it on iTunes now.
This all star cast ensemble to bring us visuals for their recent remix of Tyga’s Rack City. Nothing really special to see, fairly basic hip hop video, but for a song like this, that’s all it needs. It’s just good to see such names get together and do something like this; as you all know, I love my collabos.
Originally I said my favourite verse of mine on this strangely addictive track is T.I.’s, but I’ve really warmed to Wale’s opening verse.
The remix to the massive hit that was Rack City sees Tyga, Wale, Fabolous, Meek Mill, Young Jeezy and T.I. all team up; what a lineup. Along with this official remix a video has been shot too. Best verse? For me it goes to T.I. who is really starting to come back into form after his latest jail stint. Download below.
Nothing to really recap on in the world of R&B this past week, it’s been a rather slow one.
Wait, what? Why is Indi in charge of this week’s R&B Friday and where the hell is Ajay? Well folks, he went overboard on his pump level this weekend and he’s been locked up for everyone’s safety (don’t worry though, with his legally entitled one phone call, he hand-picked this week’s tracks for me to review anyway).
Click on below to get hold of this week’s holy trinity of R&B goodness.
My opinion on B.o.B. spans both extremes. Sometimes he will blow my socks off, then he releases something which frustrates the hell out of me because of his unrealised potential. This, it has to be said, falls somewhere in between. The beat itself takes inspiration from numerous directions, ranging from that dramatic crunk music to 1980′s video gaming. I’m not ashamed to claim I am unfamiliar with either of the features, but all involved here seem to do a reasonable job. It’ll get lost in my shuffle but it’s more one for the B.o.B. fans out there. Get below.
“In celebration of our 4th annual Freshman issue, we linked up with DJ Whoo Kid for the 2nd year in a row to release a mixtape showcasing the up-and-comers’ talents. XXL’s 2011 Freshman Class: The Mixtape features brand new music from Kendrick Lamar, Yelawolf, Lil B, Meek Mill, Mac Miller, Lil Twist, Fred the Godson, YG, Cyhi the Prynce and Big K.R.I.T. as well as some welcomed, surprise collaborations.”
Can’t say I agreed with some of this list when it was released, but we’ll see if my mind is changed by what those I doubt put forward on this tape. Aside from that, it’s always good to grab new material from the likes of Yelawolf and Kendrick Lamar, so this should definitely be one to add to the collection.
Wale’s been spouting about this track all day on Twitter, and it seems to all but confirm his association with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music label.
Ross’ work ethic has to be commended, as he never seems to be out of the limelight, and continues delivering mainstream-friendly hip-hop with this effort. Despite being a solid production, this goes to the well one too many times (as Indi stated earlier), as he goes with a beat and lyrical style that sounds identical to everything else he does. Having said that, Meek Mill and Wale’s raps make for nice listening on this production, and if his intention was to showcase these guys he’s done the job well. In particular, Wale comes with much more passion and aggression than he usually does, which is a refreshing twist on his regular laidback delivery.
Meek Mill is T.I.’s latest signing to his Grand Hustle label, and has enlisted some big features for his first song (in my world anyway) in the form of T.I. himself, Camron’s best buddy Vado and a man who looks like he smells like a sweaty bear, Rick Ross. Could be either good or bad, but T.I. does have good taste (having signed B.o.B) so I’m willing to give this guy a go.