Meek Mill has had one helluva time these last few years. Going from beefing with Drake to getting locked up on, pretty much, a technicality that highlights flaws in our justice system, he’s seen it all. That said, it’s no surprise that his latest album, Championships, sees Meek take up the mantle as a sage enlightening the masses to the realities of his situations and those like him.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Meek isn’t suddenly some fake woke revolutionary who’s turned his back on the community. However, there is a maturity—a reinvigorated re-invention, if you will—that drapes over this project that you can’t help but take notice of. Meek still spits with the fire of a hundred suns and still yell-raps like he always has. But, within those yell-raps, there lies even more commentary and knowledge than ever before. This ain’t the Meek we got on “House Party,” not by a long shot.
He’s emotionally vulnerable, wounded even, on some tracks. But what really aids this album and pushes it into AOTY contention, for me at least, is his choice of production. His choice of beats hammers home that this isn’t something you should take lightly. The beat selection screams at us “this is for real. Stop trying to ignore me as a man and an artist.” I mean, Meek’s always been one for amazing intros. However, the intro to this one takes a simple flip of “In The Air Tonight” and turns it into an anthemic piece for the downtrodden.
Additionally, on Championships, we get some of the glitz and glamour we’ve seen from Meek in years—and songs—past stripped away and replaced with a man of the people, one who’s seen life from both sides and is reporting on it. Yes, we get songs like “On Me,” featuring Meek and Cardi B trading bars about (good) rich sex. But there’s more to the album than just baseless claims about money. When Meek is at his strongest here is when he’s speaking truths about the system. Thankfully, he’s able to do that in spades and it doesn’t get boring or overbearing. He’s able to weave in social commentary into songs with topics ranging from freedom to falling in love with a thotty. There’s a wide variety of music here and it’s all, to put it bluntly, beautiful.
Meek Mill was always a rapper I sorta liked. I always thought his yell-rap approach was a bit off-putting, but I never denied that the brother had skills at beat selection, lyricism, and the lot. With Championships, we see a hungrier Meek, but also a humbler Meek. He’s grown since his days of being the Lieutenant of MMG (had to throw a “Dreams and Nightmares” reference in there). Off the strength of this album, I’ve been converted. I’ve seen the light. Meek is, for a lack of a better term, that dude. Like last year’s Philadelphia Eagles squad, Meek takes on the role of scrappy underdog and works it to his advantage, creating an album that is as much a reflection of the times we live in as it is an homage to those who’ve helped to raise Merk as an artist and a person.
I didn’t want to rush this review, because, while I like views on my site, I love processing music and THEN writing about it even more. If you want dope one-listen reviews, my boy Yoh on DJBooth does some excellent ones that capture that feeling perfectly. However, I couldn’t one-listen this one, as I feel that, in doing so, you’re doing the album a grave disservice. Check out the album below and remember to support dope music in all its forms.