Photo courtesy of Revolt
Story by Isong Maro / Contributing Writer
Philadelphia artist Meek Mill’s has released his fourth studio album, titled “Championships.” The album follows his mixtape (EP) released earlier this year, “Legends of the Summer,” and both projects come off the back of his well publicized run-in with the law that saw him incarcerated after an incident involving himself and a crew of friends “popping a wheelie” on their motorbikes in public. This deemed enough to charge him with being in violation of a probation verdict he was given close to 10 years ago.
“Championship” features a close up shot of Meek’s face as the projects official album artwork. The previously released single, “Dangerous,” featuring Jeremih and PnB Rock, is included on the album and served as promotional material.
The album stands at 19 tracks, and the beats are orchestrated by a mixed bag of producers: Don Cannon, Hit-Boy, Bangladesh and, even, MTSU’s Tay Keith. The album also has a strong line up of featured artists, including Jay Z, Rick Ross, Cardi B, Ella Mai, Young Thug, Drake, Future, 21 Savage along with a slew of others.
The opening track on the project, aptly titled “Intro,” features Meek Mill rapping over a sample of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” produced by Papamitrou.
The follow-up track, “Trauma,” crafted by Don Cannon, is another smooth sample-based track in which Meek talks about his legal tussle with the judge on his probation case and the subsequent emotional distress he suffered after being incarcerated.
A highlight on the album is the track “What’s Free.” It features Meek, Jay Z and Rick Ross rapping over a sample of The Notorious B.I.G’s classic “What’s Beef.”
The track “Respect the Game” comes after “What’s Free” and samples another classic: Jay Z’s “Dead Presidents.”
The album’s eponymous track as well as the track “Oodles O’Noodles Babies” feature Meek in his element, speaking motivationally, over some silky smooth production.
“Cold Hearted II” is the album’s closer track and features production which contains a sample of The Weeknd’s “I Was Never There” off his “My Dear Melancholy” EP released earlier this year.
Lyrically, Meek tackles a range of subjects on this album, including his feelings on his recent incarceration and the resulting mental strain it put on him.
Meek’s fourth studio album is a well put together body of work from the production to the featured artists. It is, for the most part, very well thought out. At 19 tracks, the album doesn’t feel bothersome or drawn out at all. While there are a few filler tracks here and there, Meek’s exerting vocal delivery and cadences keep the album’s energy going for its duration.
More importantly, the album does what it’s supposed to do as it highlights Meek’s better qualities as an artist, particularly his motivational lyrics. Additionally, this project sees Meek breaking somewhat new ground by tackling more RnB infused tracks. “Championships” is, overall, a strong comeback album for Meek and allows his hat to be thrown back in the upper echelon of contemporary hip hop.
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