Label: Maybach Music Group/Atlantic
From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Active Since: 2005
Latest Release: Dreams and Nightmares
Recent Single: "Levels"
Urgency. That's Meek Mill's greatest strength. The urgency in his voice. The way you could practically see his eyes widening, bugging with intensity, and almost feel him leaning into the mic when you first heard him rhyme over the depth-charge beats and click-clack percussion and triumphant fountains of synth that filled his Dreamchasers mixtapes.
Remember the snippet of Mike Tyson ranting that started the second installment? "I'm ferocious, I want your heart, I want to eat his children, praise be to Allah!" Like that. That's Meek's style in a nutshell: hungry, passionate, dangerous. So it was a little disappointing to hear the tamer tones that marked his official debut album, Dreams and Nightmares when it came out through MMG/Warner Bros. last year.
Alongside winners like "Believe It" and "Amen" and, best of all, "Burn" featuring Big Sean, we had to endure a clumsier-sounding Meek trying his hand at Don-Juanism over softer, soggier R&B-tinged material like "Lay Up" and "Who You Around." Here's hoping he sticks to the hard stuff on his next project—the highly anticipated Dreamchasers 3—and leaves the loverman raps to Wale. —Dave Bry