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Meek Mill - Tony Story (2013)

When you listen to this you wonder why Meek doesn’t spend more time telling stories and less times yelling in a high-pitched voice that starts grating on you like a nagging wife until you want to murder him and burn down your entire farm-house. At least I do. On a related note, 50’s recent Animal Ambition album was decent IMO, but the excellent "The Funeral" track - a gloomy ghetto narrative - made me yearn for a Fiddy that did more picture-painting and less bank-account flexing in his raps. If anyone can point me in the direction of some good story-telling rap songs of recent years, I would shower them with a short sentence of acknowledgement. Holla.

Meek Mill feat. Shy Glizzy, Lil Durk - Chiraq (2014)

Leave it up to a limey to point out that this beat/song resembles not only grime but that the bassline on it vaguely reminds a wigga of a fairly obscure remix Skream did back in the day of a tune by Mark Ashken (he’s Ashken you’re danshing). No fucker will care about that comparison, I suppose, but OTOH the Skream tune is a belter so I reckon I’ve done alright.

Meek Mill feat. Rohypnol Ross - Off That Corner (2014)

Will anything Meek does ever be as anthemic as “I’m A Boss” was? That tune sounded like a theme tune for Captain Rapmerica and Meek went off like he’d been bitten by a radioactive Jack Russell terrier. Rozay was a bit of a drag on it, a foot off the gas, a stop at the drive-thru, but he had some lines worthy of being boomed out like a Biblical prophet - “And when I die that casket better cost a hundred thouuu!”, anyone?

On this new single the fat controller is running train with his young protege but he’s definitely the sloppy seconds getter, wanking frustratedly at the sidelines as Meek thrusts away at that flute loop niceness like a woodpecker on a tree trunk. I haven’t heard a Ross verse since Rich Forever which couldn’t have been better replaced by just about anybody else on MMG barring of course Stalley. I’d rather hear your mum rapping than Stalley.

Still pretend Ross isn’t even on this (and that isn’t hard) and this is a banger. Weirdly the beat reminds me of Squadda B productions a little, that fusion of high pitched sample with pounding bass and rickety snare fills. Dunno who made it, great though, and the hook kills.

Meek Mill - Dreams Worth More Than Money (2014)

This is a freestyle over ASAP Rock’s ”Ghetto Symphony” beat. This beat was tailor made for A Mafia or Cam really but Meek kills it as you’d expect him to. I’m looking forward to whatever album/mixtape Meek drops next. “Know No Better” with Yo Gotti has become my go-to bench press 20 kg tune.

Meek Mill feat. Yo Gotti - Know No Better (2014)

As soon as this Cardo beat plays, you want to hear Meek Mill rapping on it. Its dark and dramatic and rumbling - like a storm-cloud in need of some lightning. When are MMG going to do the decent thing and release a Meek-meets-Gunplay mixtape? 

Meek Mill - Hip-Hop (2013)

Boring title, great track. ‘Dreamchasers 3’ is aight you know.

Meek Mill - Lil Nigga Snupe (2013)

Meek’s yell-rapping can become difficult to take over the course of a whole album but in short, concentrated bursts like this its a cathartic primal scream of a style like no other. In the case of this track in particular, where Meek pays angry, outraged tribute to his young friend, shot dead (“and all he wanted was a Coupe!”), Meek’s energy seems exhortative, defiant and vital - more demonic exorcism than technical exercise.

Meek Mill - Make Me (2013)

Is it me or are the best bits in Meek’s latest ‘Dreamchasers’ tape the bits where he stops rapping like he has something very important to tell you before he dies from these gunshot wounds and straight up opportunistically bites Future instead? Autogoon rap is giving me so much joy this year, what with ‘Dis Aint What U Want’, ‘Type A Way’, that Z Money tune etc… Long may it live. Or at least for the rest of the year before it becomes unbearably fucking dull and fourth-rate.

Meek Mill - Lil Nigga Snupe (2013)

Meek Mill’s one of those rappers that goes so 110% in that it does my head in within the space of a single track and sometimes in less than that space. His talent cannot be denied but I still feel like a little kid is yelling in my face when I listen to some of his stuff. See also: Danny Brown yowling like a cat constantly.

Meek Mill feat. Shizz Nitty - Ballin’ (2010)

I’ve never listened to ‘Dreams And Nightmares’ and until somebody who hasn’t got the ethical strength to try and cap Hitler goes back in time and forces Meek to make it an entire album of collaborations with Jahlil Beats  I outright refuse to.

Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross - I’m A Boss (2011)

This will go down as one of the classic rap songs of this decade. Hopefully. No better tune to be a bawse to. No better tune to pretend you’re a bawse to.

Gunplay - Take This (2012)

Gunplay reminds me of Redman - just all that loud rowdy attitude, the voice alone (with the authority of Rawse plus the energy of Meek) dominant and flava-filled enough to cause a ruckus even without a hype beat to back it up.

Just substitute coke for weed, though Reggie’s lyrics were similarly threatening, swaggering with near self-parodic delinquent glee, Gunplay just amps it all up a little, as befitting his self-conscious embrasure of the ‘coke-head maniac’ image that became attached to him via some online videos - “Lost five pounds in the last four hours, And got a photoshoot still sniffin’ chowder, Look at me wrong and I’m gonna shoot the whole crowd up!”

106 and Coke is a disappointingly (or brilliantly) witless name for a mixtape, and hopefully Gunplay hasn’t forgotten or abandoned his more serious, even ‘conscious’ side in favour of pure lunatic tomfoolery, though he does that better than anyone, since the ‘conscious’ (or RIGHTEOUS) is something else he does brilliantly.

N.B. Editing this post cos the “in-studio performance” (i.e. Gunplay getting fucked up on MDMA/something similar and miming along to this tune like a living cartoon - and in the process proving infinitely more visually entertaining than any other rapper you’d care to mention, even though he’s basically doing what I do when I get home after a rave just before I load up the first lesbian porn clip and after that its a wrap) has dropped. As with most Gunplay tunes/mixtapes, this is maddeningly short and I think I underestimated its brief-candle brilliance on first listen - at the very least, there’s some great lines in there: “wash a niggas dreads, clean out a nigga dandruff! My nuts sweaty but she licked ‘em already, new buggatti still pupping 87 unleaded, I’m a hog on my money take it all with me to heaven”. Shallow stuff, true, but shallow stuff done peerlessly. The lyrics are outrageous but its really the way he raps them that elevates him - pacing, snarling like a big cat in a cage, king in his domain.

The beat sounds like a 90’s throwback (no doubt someone will inform me it IS a 90’s beat - I love the little funk-bass riff that comes in from time to time over the suspended strings) and Gunplay is really one of the few contemporary rappers around that I’ve heard who doesn’t sound out of place or superfluous on hard boom-bap beats from the 90’s. It’s the sheer force of his personality/voice mixed with the tight, strict rattle of his flow.

Comparisons keep leaping to mind when listening to Gunplay - classic comparisons, yer Redmans and Bustas and even Scarface (‘Straight Up Menace’ - that OHLORD passion), and I think that’s because he seems as titanic, larger-than-life but with the ‘real’ feeling that accompanies your humble ears coming into contact with raw and undeniable talent.

Meek Mill feat. Gucci Mane - Audemars (2012)

Beat on this goes harder than a necrophiliac stumbling across a mass grave. Meek smacks it as usual. For several horrible seconds Gucci sounds like Wiz Kalifah and then he goes into mumbly substandard mode, which is a bit of a disappointment. Shoulda got Gunplay to do it.

”Dream Chasers 2” drops tomorrow and I canna wait. 

Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross - Body Count (2011)