The Comeback Kid: Meek Mill Has Lost Many Battles, But He Just Might Win The War (Video)
Hip-Hop Heads will soon see whether or not Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. will hold the #1 spot on the 200, or if that distinction goes to Tyler, The Creator’s Flower Boy, or Meek Mill’s Wins & Losses. Projections favor the latter two, which would be a first for the Odd Future front-man and a second consecutive pole position album for the Maybach Music Group MC.
While 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money scored a #1 (last year’s DC4 mixtape reached #3), it does not tell the full story. Since June of ’15, Robert Rihmeek Williams lost his high profile girlfriend Nicki Minaj, he lost a battle with Drake (which he aggressively) initiated, and he may have lost some dignity in spillover conflicts with the likes of The Game, Beanie Sigel, Safaree Samuels, and Joe Budden.
Newly 30 years old, Meek Mill’s recent press interviews have a recurring theme: maturity. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania MC whose delivery can often mimic the sonic intensity of the dirt bikes he rides, decided to name his album Wins & Losses. Using his songwriting and a change of direction, he then decided to usher in a comeback season.
In this week’s TBD, Justin “The Company Man” Hunte looks at the most critical week of Meek Mill’s career since those defining MMG days. Rather than bring “Tupac Back,” Meek found what the people wanted inside himself, and some of what he never previously offered. On top of what is simply on the Warner Bros.-distributed album, Meek had some fanfare help.
“[Meek Mill] even found himself as the soundtrack to the week’s top NBA beef. After news broke that Kyrie [Irving] no longer wanted to play with [Lebron] James, many took Lebron’s snap of him rocking to Meek’s ‘Heavy Heart’ as a subliminal response to the all star point guard,” explains Hunte.
“Maybe that’s awful for [Cleveland Cavaliers] fans, but that’s awesome for Meek. All week’s he’s seemed to be at peace. And there’s a real chance he pulls out a #1 debut for album #3. He’s essentially tied with Lana Del Ray and Tyler The Creator, who both dropped new releases this week. But now Fader reports Meek may take the lead due to Tidal allowing fans to stream Wins and Losses for free. Bars.”
Hunte continues, “For too long, Meek Mill’s seemed like ‘Captain Can’t Get Right.’ As if an inevitable air of ‘This Ain’t Gonna End Well’ followed him everywhere he went.” Rolling through footage, Justin details, “He gets into an Insta-beef with Game in 2016, that somehow turns into an actual beef with fellow Philly legend Beanie Sigel…He jeopardizes his entire career by accusing Drake of using ghostwriters, but shows up to the Rap battle with his Twitter fingers instead of his bars.”
Those aforementioned interviews revealed Meek Mill’s head-space about past transgressions and missteps. “He talks about how his beef with Drake is actually a W because at the time he was living in Beverly Hills, and he was getting soft and weathering a Canadian storm turned him into a monster. The narrative around that whole conflict is being challenged, really. Meek’s always had his loyalists. There’s always been a vocal minority screaming how he actually did more damage than it seemed. The ghostwriter stigma is absolutely plastered all over the OVO head honcho. And In its Wins & Losses review, Vulture added:
‘Meek seems destined to be, to some significant degree, misunderstood. The extra dust from the Drake spat hardly cleared things up. Contrary to initial reports, Meek didn’t lose — the beef drove Drake to rebuild his Views album from scratch, delaying its release by a full year, and Views was so inferior no sentient person could overrate it…'”
Further illustrating his point, Justin continues, “In an interview with Philly’s Cosmic Kev on Power 99, Meek said his relationship with Nicki was a W because he’d bagged the girl he’d always had his eye on. He said the breakup was an L because it always sucks getting your heart broken. Real rap. And perhaps his biggest W, detailing how kicking pills, handling his addiction has brought clarity to everything.”
Meek told the Philly mainstay DJ/radio host, “It was a point where I’m getting high. I was doing pills. It’s like a Percocet town, too. And since we’re on the mic right now we might as well address it. All the young bulls riding around taking pills all day and getting high, it’s basically a form of dope. When you stop taking the pills, it breaks your body down, so they gotta keep on taking the pills. I’m not knocking you if you do it because I did it at one time and I know how hard it is to get off it, but, that’s for suckers. When we came up straight hustlers, we made money. We tryin’ to win. We ain’t tryin’ to escape reality. It’s already really real out here: people dyin’ or going to jail. What you sitting around for, high off pills? I’m talking to myself, too. I used to be high. I used to have my own little [moment in the mirror] like, ‘You get high everyday? You a clown. What you getting high for every day? You signed. You blessed up. You running from reality. For what? You dreamed about being on this level. What you running from reality for?’… I know [there is] somebody [who is listening] to it that’s caught up in the middle of it tryin’ to get off Percs, but it’s killing their body. They may be on probation. Their freedom’s on the line. It may be straying them away from their family. Or just slowing them down in life. Turn it up. We’re tryin’ to get this money… I’m telling—from a person that’s on his way to success—you never reach a higher rate of success if you’re full time doing drugs.”
“Fall Thru,” “Glow Up,” and “Never Lose” are the musical extensions of this point on Wins & Losses. “Meek’s weathered poor decisions, personal humiliation, the loss of freedom, the loss of his homie Lil Snupe, addiction and bounced back with a brand new step and his best project in years,” says The Company Man. “He’s like Obamacare. Attacked from seemingly every angle for years and is somehow still standing.”
Making that topical comparison, TBD then looks at some of the actions this week in the District of Columbia, including a failed attempt to “repeal and replace.” As Meek Mill seemingly found his awakening and did the things that made him great in the first place, politicians and everyday people ought to take heed. Meanwhile, Hip-Hop Heads, “Ball Players,” and pop culture followers will see if Meek can take his record to the playoff round of his career.