So many times I thought it was the end of Meek Mill as a credible rapper. Famous incidents like his beef with hip-hop all-star Drake and MMG label-mate Wale have led to situations where I though he’d get blown out the water and forgotten about.
Yet time after time, Meek rises like a phoenix from the flames and comes through with stellar projects such as DC4 and Wins and Losses.
Controversial, confrontational and abrasive, Mill has continually thrown shots at people and been shot back at. His storied legal history has been well documented and his prison sentence would’ve held back countless artists. Not Meek Mill though.
The memes he was hit with following Drake’s Back to Back diss track could’ve put him in a position where no one would ever take him seriously again. Sure, he was a trending topic for a while as the “take this L” thing caught off and he looked out for the count. But his rebuttals were all criminally overlooked and I’d even argue his responses matched Back to Back or even bettered it.
Post-Drake beef life has been good for Meek, he seems to have recovered a lot of his reputation, settled down and hasn’t had a lawsuit for what feels like forever. His last two full length projects have been excellent and his lyrical prowess continues to be undeniable.
People like to shut down Meek as an ignorant rapper with gang-heavy bars but with a past like his, what would you expect? It would be hard to take him seriously if his music didn’t reflect the narrative of his life. Besides, he has his more poignant, introspective side too with hard-hitting songs such as Young Black America and Heavy Heart. He is seriously undervalued as a lyricist and his freestyle skills are up there with the elite few in the hip-hop world who can still go in off the top.
His uncomfortably public break-up with Nicki Minaj was awkward for everyone involved as she immediately took Drake’s side in what was seemingly a closed case until she attempted to reignite it on the Young Money reunion No Frauds. However, when asked about the lines (“‘Back to Back’? Me and Drizzy laughed at that”) in a radio interview, Meek was respectful and dodged saying anything too untoward about either Drake or Minaj. The Philadelphia-native seems to have matured a lot in the last few years and he appears to want no issues with rap heavyweights like he used to.
Throughout his career, Meek has been put on tracks with some of hip-hop’s big hitters like Jay-Z, Nas and even Jadakiss. Despite being placed beside some of rap’s undeniable legends, Mill has always held his own and in some cases (2012’s Maybach Curtains with Nas where he channeled The Notorious B.I.G. to deliver an excellent verse) topped the big names. This alone should put Meek on a pedestal with some of hip-hop music’s young kings.
Somehow though, it feels like he’s still a laughing stock. Twitter loves to laugh when Meek stands on metaphorical rakes – there has definitely been a few. But when you look at the actual problems Meek has run into, actually most of them have troubled a large percentage of the internet’s favourite artists.
A lot of guys who are frequently placed in the top-five current rappers conversation and the like can’t make full length projects like Meek can. Most of the artists placed above Meek can’t touch his freestyling ability. More to the point, Meek has been better than a lot of internet darlings on the same song as them.
For all these reasons (and I’m sure a lot more), you have to think that most of the rap community clown Meek unfairly. He’s an easy target, the jokes are there for the taking but you can’t discredit his artistry and ability to overcome obstacles that a lot of other rappers throughout history have succumbed to.
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