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Meek Mill - Championships (Album Review)

Friday, 14 December 2018 Written by Milly McMahon

Fresh from his release from prison, Meek Mill’s fourth studio LP, ‘Championships’ is a dynamic, uncensored body of work that signals a fresh change of direction.

Having stepped out as a leading voice in the calls for criminal justice reform in the US, the Philly native’s recent incarceration also informs the line up of collabs on this album and represents a reflective moment. Meek has spoken about his time in jail serving as a chapter that highlighted those who were there for him and cared about his future. The mood of 'Championships' feels very rooted in reality.

Meek is not rapping about money and status with the arrogance he showed on previous albums, but on trust issues, anger, love, injustice, hope and purpose. A higher vision for his successes resonates here. Almost Slipped notably marks a boring return to his former style, standing out as a forgettable, superficial bop that only takes up space.

Having broken ties with long-term girlfriend Nicki Minaj, Meek pairs up with his ex’s recent nemesis Cardi B for the standout track on the album On Me. It’s a bold move, while Drake features on Going Bad to symbolise both artists burying a long-running beef.

24/7, with Ella Mai, feels very Beyoncé and Jay Z circa '03 Bonnie & Clyde, and Oodles O' Noodles Babies is a touching and affecting anthem, a missive from Meek’s childhood in poverty on a dangerous block. This is him at his best.

“I think it's funny how we used to go to school, play Segas, and then, next thing you know, you runnin' 'round with Glock .40s,” he raps. “We ain't never believed in the police, they was shootin' us.” “When I went to court, the judge said Meek, you a menace to society,” he continues. “Huh, you said, you would give me a chance, your honor, why would you lie to me?”

This is deep, gut-wrenching and original material. Meek is highlighting issues that deserve wider attention. Far more talented than those with only material wealth to discuss on record, 'Championships' sets a precedent for the music he should, and likely will, be making down the line.

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