Meek Mill Takes Phil Collins’ Classic To Make His Latest Underdog Anthem
Since he transitioned for acclaimed mixtapes to major label albums, Meek Mill has become a master of introductions. Six years ago, Dreams & Nightmares opened up with the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania bursting with emotion, angst, and letting it all go on a track that showed his intent. After becoming a video single, that song got a second life, five years later, as an anthem to a city, a football team, and a class of people wrongfully head behind bars.
Going into last month’s Championships, Meek Mill was keenly aware of that knack. The introduction to his latest Maybach Music Group/Atlantic Records LP takes its beat from Phil Collins’ 1981 hit, “In The Air Tonight.” The original record builds to a crescendo, not unlike “Dreams & Nightmares.” The track is no stranger to the Rap community, either. Tupac & Tha Outlawz famously used it on “Staring Through My Rearview.” Nas used elements of the song in his epic, “One Mic.” DMX, Krayzie Bone, Lil’ Kim, and Joe Budden are some of the others who have channeled the moment.
However, few artists in any genre can say that they’ve used Collins’ classic as effectively as Meek. Although the song begins playing to the Philadelphia Eagles’ faithful, it gets far more personal as the Papamitrou-produced rendition builds.
“They ain’t have no sympathy for me when I was broke / Amen, amen Lord forgive me for all my sins / Took so many riches just to get a Benz / Pray for my n**as, all my friends / In the trenches, warring with killas, we been getting it in 32 shots in my new Glock / Ni**as wanna hit me like I’m Tupac,” raps Meek, highlighting the drama in his whirlwind life, adding, “Your favorite rapper a mumble rapper / Walk up in this b*tch, a bunch of killers and humble trappers / I can go to Hollywood, to court in this jungle action / With ni**as that’ll smoke you go and murder your brother after / Whoa, big dog, ni**a, I’m a big dog / Streets said they need that dope, they having withdrawals.”
For the video, the Philly MC keeps it simple. He raps in a dimly lit industrial room surrounded by fellow Dreamchasers. For added measure, there’s also a four-wheeler sequence, a nod to one of the star’s favorite pastimes. The light and sincerity in the delivery are the ideal accents to the song’s vibe.
The song builds to exemplify Meek’s environment, a place where the good die young, the cowardly rat on their friends, and every breathing moment on the outside warrants champagne-soaked celebration. The track sets the tone for Championships, which has captivated audiences late this year.