"Dreams Worth More Than Money" by Meek Mill
Meek Mill was supposed to release "Dreams Worth More Than Money" around a year ago, but after violating his probation, was forced to return to prison.
Now he is back, dating superstar Nicki Minaj, and has released his long-awaited sophomore effort. On June 29, Meek Mill’s 14-track album was released on iTunes containing features from Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, The Weeknd, Rick Ross, Drake and more.
"DWMTM" shows that Meek has grown into a more dense and effective rapper, while sticking to his quick, witty style, packing as many lyrics into three minutes as possible. Drugs, guns, women, fashion—all of these common topics are present on this record, but Meek has also pushed himself more towards rapping about his life struggles, love stories and the future that he wants for him and his city Philadelphia.
Instrumentally, the album is mostly made up of distorted samples or short, catchy leads repeated over a booming 808 bass with a mix of rapid hi-hats and snare drums. "Lord Knows" is a stand out opening track, sampling a Mozart movement to make for a very epic hip-hop beat. The collaboration with Drake, "R.I.C.O," is the highlight of the record with two great verses from both of these talented rappers over a very unique and hard hitting beat from Vinylz.
Rappers usually show their true colors and potential with their second album. Meek Mill was successful in this, and has reminded listeners to not count him out of the race yet.
"Free Weezy Album" by Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne has released a lot of music this year, but it seems it has been difficult for him to release any valuable work of his own until Independence Day. It was fitting that he released his new album independent of his label Cash Money on July 4, and also because the album is entitled the "Free Weezy Album."
Released exclusively on the music streaming service Tidal, this album is a breath of fresh air for Wayne fans who have endured less popular works like "I Am Not A Human Being 2" and "Sorry 4 The Wait 2" in recent past. Wayne touches on some of his older styles and also experiments with some surprisingly attractive new ones, as he raps in a much more cohesive and sober manner than we have become accustomed to. Sampling on this album is both shocking and also enticing, as listeners are brought in by a memorable James Brown sample on "I Feel Good" as well as a great chorus and Kane Beatz instrumental on "He’s Dead."
With fifteen tracks, this album contains some of Wayne’s best beats ever, and in some cases some of his best lyricism to date. He gets introspective on songs like "My Heart Races" and "London Roads," which is something we haven’t seen from Wayne in years and was one of his better abilities as a rapper. If you were a Lil Wayne fan but fell off the bandwagon because of his newer changes in style, give "FWA" a listen and decide if you’re ready to recommit yourself to the Martian.
"Work It Out" by Lucy Rose
Lucy Rose is another up and coming English singer/songwriter with a beautiful voice and fervor for success. She is a unique blend of folk rock and progressive indie, with a mix of backing synth broadening the sound of live instruments.
Rose sounds a lot like a young Adele on her album "19," and crafts music similar to Bon Iver. Both are very talented and popular musicians, so Rose has a future ahead of her if she can slide in o the right markets. "Work It Out" is her second album, her first having been released three years ago, and may be the push she is going for.
The album is a mix of upbeat songs with a lot going on, many different sounds meshing together for epic choruses, and also calmer, slower campfire songs. "Nebraska" is a stellar track. It gave me chills on the first listen, and is a darker song from the album. Rose’s songbird voice is her greatest strength—she has a very large range that includes breathing out soft falsetto notes and also belting out notes at the top and bottom of her register. "Work It Out" is simple and beautiful, and is a wonderful soundtrack to an early morning.