Label: Maybach Music Group
Released: November 30

Meek Mill capped off an absolute roller coaster of a year with one of his strongest solo albums to date. CHAMPIONSHIPS is a sprawling, star-studded affair anchored by Meek’s incisive writing and commitment to using his music to critique the criminal justice system while offering candid thoughts on being a black man in America. “Judge bangin’ that gavel, turned me to slave from a king/Another day in the bing, I gotta hang from a string/Just for poppin’ a wheelie/My people march through the city/From a cell to a chopper, view from the top of the city,” he raps on “What’s Free,” making us feel his anguish and resilience with his trademark fiery flow. The unflinching depictions of his incarceration and difficult past on tracks like “What’s Free” and “Oodles O’ Noodles Babies” make the celebratory moments on CHAMPIONSHIPS feel truly earned, like his Drake reunion, “Going Bad,” or the hard-hitting Cardi B collaboration “On Me.” After #FreeMeekMill became a national rallying cry, the Philadelphia rapper found himself with the largest platform of his career, and he made an album worthy of its own victory parade down Broad Street. —Grant Rindner