Album: Dreams and Nightmares

This should come as no surprise to anyone. What Meek Mill did on the title track of his debut studio album, Dreams and Nightmares, will go down in rap history as one of the most memorable intros of all time. “Dreams and Nightmares” is Philly grit distilled into pure adrenaline. It’s one of those songs that you have memorized, even if you don’t realize it, because you’ve heard it played outside so many times. It’s a double shot of espresso that can wake up any function. But it’s also much more than just a club anthem. It’s a call to worship that unites all colors, creeds, and other designations under the unwavering principle to “grind like that to shine like this.” You don’t have to be a rapper, or from the same trenches as Meek, to resonate with the idea that it’s possible to accomplish your goals against all odds. “Dreams and Nightmares” captures that never-quit mentality that lies dormant in all of us and amplifies it to the tenth degree. It’s Meek playing Prometheus, smiting the system that tried to trap him, and escaping the preordained damnation that the streets marked him with. It’s a story of pain, pride, and passion. It served as a paradigm shift for rap intros, raising the bar to the top of the Comcast Center building. Several albums and openings deep, it was clear that Meek was right. This was what we’d been waiting for.