Why Meek Mill is criminally underrated

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.

#BBAR #BoomBapisBack #BoomBapAndAcidRap

 

Twitter – @peter_tomlinson / @boombapacidrap

 

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/boombapandacidrap

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The Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards, Pt. 6

TRACK OF THE YEAR:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • KID CUDI (feat. PHARRELL WILLIAMS) – SURFIN’
  • SCHOOLBOY Q – THAT PART (BLACK HIPPY REMIX)
  • DESIIGNER – PANDA
  • ANDERSON .PAAK – COME DOWN
  • D.R.A.M. (feat. LIL YACHTY) – BROCCOLI
  • KANYE WEST (feat. CHANCE THE RAPPER, KIRK FRANKLIN, KELLY PRICE and THE-DREAM) – ULTRALIGHT BEAM
  • CHANCE THE RAPPER (feat. 2 CHAINZ and LIL WAYNE) – NO PROBLEM
  • DRAKE (feat. WIZKID and KYLA REID) – ONE DANCE

THE WINNER:

  • CHANCE THE RAPPER (feat. 2 CHAINZ and LIL WAYNE) – NO PROBLEM

Chance the Rapper cemented himself this year as music’s hottest free agent and if this song is anything to go by, he doesn’t see that changing for a long time. Flexing about being independent, he aptly calls on the Collegrove duo who have both had label issues in the past. Both Wayne and 2 Chainz delivered probably their best verses of the year which only helped this become such a behemoth of a song. Seeing out huge tracks from the likes of Drake, Kanye West and ScHoolboy Q, Chance went from the next big thing to an indisputable megastar this year. Long may it continue.

SIDENOTE:

While it has been a good year for rap music, we have had our fair share of trash too… Here’s the Worst Track of the Year award too:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • ZAY HILFIGERRR & ZAYION McCALL – JUJU ON THAT BEAT (TZ ANTHEM)
  • G-EAZY – ME, MYSELF AND I
  • MACKLEMORE AND RYAN LEWIS (feat. ANDERSON .PAAK AND IDRIS ELBA) – DANCE OFF
  • LIL YACHTY – ALL TIMES
  • MACHINE GUN KELLY – BAD THINGS

 

THE WINNER:

While I don’t recommend any of these songs, I don’t know if I’ve ever hated a song as much as this. I actually like everyone involved in this, Macklemore is usually pretty inoffensive, Anderson .Paak had a great year and you can’t hate Idris Elba. Somehow, though, this is a totally detestable abomination of a song. The concept of it is terrible, the lyrics are cringeworthy and the instrumental sounds unforgivably like some sort of 80’s synth rock impersonation.  I said my piece about the video before and I feel pretty much the same way about the song. Horrible.

The Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards, Pt 4

LYRICIST OF THE YEAR:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • J COLE – FOLDIN CLOTHES
  • CHANCE THE RAPPER – ULTRALIGHT BEAM
  • DANNY BROWN – DOWNWARD SPIRAL
  • KENDRICK LAMAR – THAT PART (BLACK HIPPY REMIX)
  • JAY Z – I GOT THE KEYS
  • JAY ELECTRONICA – HOW GREAT

 

THE WINNER:

kendrick-lamar

Even if Kendrick Lamar didn’t release untitled unmastered or any of his guest verses apart from the one on the Black Hippy remix of THat Part, we’d probably still be looking at him as lyricist of the year. Lamar’s dexterity with words has been common knowledge since his arrival on the scene, however he surprised even his most ardent fans with the complex rhyme patterns and content in that verse. To put it context, in just 24 bars, he fits 87 rhymes and they all make sense. He addresses the fact that despite the fact he was a straight-A student, he was still denied higher education because he was a black kid from the ghetto, among many other topics, including a callback to a Jay Z deep-cut we all forgot about. In about 45 seconds, Kendrick did what many rappers struggle to do in a lifetime – be real.

 

SIDENOTE:

The worst lyricist of the year is nearly impossible to crown so I decided to choose the worst lyric of the year instead. It could’ve easily gone to Drake for “Got so many chains, they call me Chaining Tatum (they do, they do)”. For a start, no they don’t. And also, wow, that is hilariously lazy. However this highly prestigious award goes to Kanye West. On The Life of Pablo, there are a few lines that could’ve taken it. The infamous Go-Pro lyric, the open fridge line, the bleached a****** line…But the winner has to be from Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1, when the GOOD Music mogul said “Now if I f*** this model/And she just bleached her a******/And I get bleach on my T-shirt/I’mma feel like an a******”. Just an ignorant and stupid line from an otherwise good song.

The Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards

2016 has been an upside down year across the board. We’re talking losing greats such as Prince and Bowie and of course Phife Dawg. We’re talking police brutality happening throughout the world. We’re talking Brexit, numerous terrorist attacks and Trump as president for crying out loud.

Musically, however, it has been one of the most distinctive years in recent memory. We had new verses from OGs like Nas, Jay Z and Andre 3000 and albums from GOATs like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. On the other hand, emerging forces like Migos, 21 Savage and Lil Yachty had their best years to date. The stars we’re accustomed to came back looking strong too, with stellar projects from The Game, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Drake and so many more. It’s fair to say that the hip-hop of 2016 helped us to escape from the real world for a bit at times.

Here’s the first installation of the Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards!

VIDEO OF THE YEAR:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • YOUNG THUG (feat. QUAVO) – F CANCER
  • LIL YACHTY – 1NIGHT
  • FRENCH MONTANA (feat. NAS & KANYE WEST) – FIGURE IT OUT
  • SCHOOLBOY Q (feat. KANYE WEST) – THAT PART
  • 2 CHAINZ – WATCH OUT
  • FRENCH MONTANA (feat. DRAKE) – NO SHOPPING
  • SKEPTA – THE MAN

THE WINNER:

  • SCHOOLBOY Q (feat. KANYE WEST) – THAT PART

Despite stiff competition from two very different French Montana efforts, a hilarious 2 Chainz video and the characteristically weird Young Thug ‘F Cancer’ among others, Top Dawg’s resident gangster from Hoover Street wins this category by the skin of his grillz. The Colin Tilley-directed video features Q getting dropped off at Kanye’s house, before West stumbles around the house in one take, wildly rapping lines such as “walkin’, livin’ legend, man I feel like Kobe”. All the nominations are worth a watch but this video is just so trippy and captivating, it would be hard to give this award to anything else.

SIDENOTE:

The worst video of the year, if you’re interested, was comfortably Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Anderson .Paak and Idris Elba’s ‘Dance Off’, which made close to 9 million people cringe on YouTube this year. If you can sit through this, you can sit through anything. Don’t be surprised if this track pops up again…

A Year to Remember’s Greatest Albums: Pusha T

Darkness Before Dawn: The Prelude – Pusha T (GOOD Music, Def Jam) – December 2015

Intended to serve as a prelude for the GOOD Music president’s third studio album, Darkness Before Dawn has set the bar excitingly high for the long-awaited King Push, due in spring of this year. For a start, the first single released in anticipation of the album, Untouchable heavily samples The Notorious B.I.G.’s iconic guest verse on Pudgee’s 1995 Think Big. In this verse, Biggie claims to be lyrically “untouchable, uncrushable”, which is clearly a recurring theme for Pusha on this project where he is consistently in a very self-appreciative mood.

The Metro Boomin-produced intro to the album sets the signature shady tone which Pusha T has utilised all through his solo career. Happily, this is followed up on in the majority of the next nine tracks.

One of my favourite tracks on the album is Crutches, Crosses, Caskets. A few curious lines (“Old n****s slapping young n****s, ha imagine that, where you from n****?”) on this song allude to the alleged Drake and Diddy altercation at a nightclub in December 2014. This is made more intriguing by the fact Diddy has production credit on this song. Pusha has cited this song as his favourite on the project, understandably.

Despite other masterful performances, the standout track must be M.P.A., an acronym for Money, Pussy, Alcohol, featuring his frequent collaborator and GOOD Music associate – check out New God Flow, Mercy, Runaway and So Appalled – Kanye West, A$AP Rocky and The-Dream. Sounding reminiscent of Blame Game by Kanye from his critically acclaimed (and one of my personal favourite) album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, M.P.A. has a star-filled feel about it that makes you sit up and take notice. And in the current era, a lot of hip-hop, although being good, doesn’t do this.

The Virginia-born and raised coke merchant continues to flow slickly over luxury beats crafted by top-tier producers such as Timbaland, Boi-1da, J Cole and Q-Tip. This album has a grandeur about it, polished to the point of excellence.

Pusha has a rare gift of being able to elaborate his grim images to the point where you finish listening to one of his projects and feel like a character from The Wire. The dictionary definition of ‘prelude’ is an event serving as an introduction to something more important. If that can’t sell Pusha T’s next album to you, nothing will.

#BBAR

How Hip-Hop Changed My Life: An Introduction

An Introduction to BBAR

 

After much deliberation, I have started a blog for a number of reasons, although mainly to relieve my Twitter followers from my constant outpour of nonsense and to put it into a more orderly form. I hope to update as regularly as possible, however with exams rapidly approaching, you may have to bear with me at times.

Basically, as soon as I heard hip-hop music, I fell in love with the upbeat feeling and the bright, in-your-face, cocky characters. Now, as I approach 18 years of age this year, I find myself getting hooked all over again with the braggadocios attitudes, unique culture and the lyricism in its rawest form. And for this reason, I feel a burning desire to publish my opinions and views so as to possibly inform, entertain and, almost definitely, let out some of my inner rap-nerd.

The first actual hip-hop album I owned was The Black Album by Jay-Z on CD. While I didn’t understand a lot of Jay’s metaphors or wordplay, something about his brash delivery connected with me. Upon hundreds of re-listens, it continues to be an album that shaped how I view music. For example, any hip-hop single that is hot at any given time, to me, is subconsciously compared to “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” or “99 Problems”, both perfect examples of producing a sound that not only captures the ‘pop’ audience’s ear but also manages to keep Jay-Z and hip-hop’s core fans satisfied.

From there I got to the murder-infused, dark bars of 50 Cent, to 2Pac who played a huge part in making it okay for a gangster to talk about his feelings and social issues, to the soul-sampling and self-evaluative Kanye West, to the paradoxical Brooklyn drawl of the Notorious B.I.G., all the way to the marijuana-loving thug that is Snoop Dogg. I was fascinated with all of these extremes and everything in between.

Fast forward to today and I feel, if possible, even more passionate about the art form that is rap. At this point in time, early February 2016, the hip-hop community is waiting with bated breath for Kanye West’s long-awaited follow up to his controversial 2013 album Yeezus, for Drake’s frantically anticipated Views from the 6 and for everything else that the world’s most multi-faceted and conflicting genre has to offer.

I, Peter Tomlinson, creator of Boom Bap and Acid Rap will keep you covered as far as possible.