When it comes to Meek Mill, please, please, please, for the life of me, don’t call it a comeback!! Meek will not let you. Phila-Illa-delphia native Meek Mill is coming off the heat of an undebatable loss in the hip-hop game, but with Wins & Losses he is coming out strong-arming and showing that he is not missing a beat. At all. Ever. I’m not even a long time Meek fan aside from singles and some mixtapes, but this album can definitely make believers out of haters and doubters. Wins & Losses brings the aggressive rap energy that we’ve come to expect from Meek but is still heavy with the heartfelt sentimentality that we love from him and was actually his saving grace amidst the bashing following the fallout from his beef with Drake and others in the recent years.
First and foremost, let’s shout out Meek for the expanse of the album. He’s giving wide breadth of artistry with turnt up club bangers, R&B assisted cuts for the ladies, and contemplative rap tracks for the lyrically deep ears as well over a full 17 tracks. He’s not holding back in the least in this album as he openly discusses the media drama over his relationship with Nicki Minaj on tracks like “1942 Flows” and the airs out any and all rumors about his prior beefs on the album’s title track and songs like “Issues” and “Never Lose”. He’s not giving his rivals much ear attention aside from lines on “Wins & Losses” like “Wins and the losses, it come with being bosses / Shoot a pussy n**** in his head if he cross us” which could be a sneak shot at Drake, simply because he’s got the biggest rep in the rap game for being soft. Meek is not feeding into the conflicts anymore, but instead using that energy as a trampoline point into shooting higher. He is still militant as ever proving that he will continue to be nice with his raps regardless, win, lose, or draw.
Meek is still the lyrical assailant that you wouldn’t want to get in a scuffle with with, but this album shows more of a softened tone. “We Ball”, which features Young Thug, is a surprisingly chill track given the title and feature that seems to accept any perceived losses in a sad to melancholy tone, but brushes it all off to say “Fuck it. We ball.” In the wake of the beef most die hard Meek fans would recal videos of many of his radio freestyles as evidence of his heartfelt sentimentality as a true and serious lyricist. “Heavy Heart” gives more of that openness of emotion in how he speaks on how his experiences with fame and the rap game have left him with a heavy heart. He knows that the heart of a warrior also makes him strong and when he closes the album with “Price” he knows that he has to pay the cost to be the boss and all the struggles are just “the price of being great”.
But forget the sadness. Meek still delivers fresh and feel good party jams like “Glow Up” and the Quavo assisted “Ball Player”. He’s really bringing something for everyone with the classic Maybach Music heavy trap orchestral sound of “Connect The Dots”, which features Yo Gotti and MMG general Rick Ross, and the Lil Uzi Vert accompanied “Fuck That Check Up”. The album sports R&B features from Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign on the Tony Toni Tone remake “Whatever you need”, but Meek still delivers solid romantic sentiments by himself on “Fall Thru”, which feels like his own shot at Drake’s song from Nothing Was The Same album“Come Thru”. “Fall Thru” is a good song, but honestly it feels a bit like a Drake vibe and would be cool if it had a Drake verse on it. It is strong heat, but we could’ve done without lines like “you were with me through my ups and downs like a camel”.
People are still going to talk and give their opinions on rap’s beef and battles. Looking back it feels like Meek said the things he said about other artists because he felt that he had to to stay true to himself. He is not apologetic in the least for his comments on things and we wouldn’t want him to be. Drake did need to be exposed for using ghostwriters, especially when he was openly touting disses about people he had written for. Meek has shown that through it all he has been and will continue to be an artist that will not be shut up nor overlooked. We have to respect him for that. But don’t take my word for it. The summer time heat on Wins & Losses will speak for itself. “Glow Up, Glow Up,” Meek!! We know you will show up!
I may have to do a video review on this one because its just that good!!
If this is your first Big Boi album that you’ve ever listened to then you are what’s wrong with Hip-Hop. Since Outkast’s last studio album as a duo Idlewild, or its predecessor Speakerboxxx/The Love Below depending on technicalities, Big Boi has consistently kept work flowing forward. Most rap heads still have Big’s other half from Outkast, Andre 3000, in their top 5 greatest rappers alive, but to this day Andre 3000 still does not have a solo album project whereas this is Big Boi’s third solo album, not to mention his Purple Ribbon-All Stars collection, his recent collaboration EP with the electronic indie duo Phantogram on their project entitled Big Grams, and the many artists such has heavyweights Janelle Monae and Killer Mike to our upper echelon of fame. With Big Boi’s latest album Boomiverse continues to bring his usual gold standard quality of the Southernplayalistic flavor that you would expect from his ATLien and Dungeon Family heritage. If you’re still sleeping on Big Boi please stop. It is bad for your health and likely the reason why you’re always calling out of work.
Big Boi really is in his own lane. This album shows that through all of the years he has not missed a beat with his raps and production selection. Boomiverse has a lot of features, but it is an all-star cast of his long time collaborators, such as Killer Mike, Scar, Gucci Mane, Pimp C, and Kurupt, that help show off the vibe and brand that Big Boi has always carried. Even the feature by Adam Levine of Maroon 5 isn’t their first time making music together. There is no dick riding of new school artists and definitely no mumble rap. One thing that is cool about Big Boi is that he doesn’t lean on the new school rappers but on the Killer Mike and Jeezy assisted “Kill Jill” he and Killer Mike have a moment where they pay homage to the Migos’ style new school trap rap flow, but just briefly. It even feels expected and respected because the Migos definitely have a southern rap Atlanta vibe so it is really dope that he would show respect to them.
Lyrically Big’s swag and wittiness is still very apparent. He is still bringing the southern cadillac pimptastic flavor that you would expect given his 70s and 80s funk influenced heritage. The production features witty use of vocal ad-libs as well as intricate horns and jazzy bass and guitar syncopation amidst bass booming hip-hop beats. His cleverness at song concepts definitely shines through on songs like “Order of Operations” and “Freakonomics”, both of which are sexy and fun songs without being negative to women. He even has a moment where he speaks on the fact that he still writes his rhymes on paper and outright says that he doesn’t write on a phone. Paying homage to the craft of writing and its importance is a very sought after quality in today’s modern music market where people are more focused on making something for easy consumption. The quality of Big’s writing is even apparent when he raps alongside a veteran such as Snoop who has been freestyling on many of his recent rap verses.
Big Boi has outworked Andre 3000 through the years, but even on this album as a long-time Outkast fan Andre’s vibe is still missed. Andre has been absent from even featuring on any of Big Boi’s solo albums for whatever reasons. We know that they are two separate artists and though they have many times given statements that there is no beef between the two of them at this point a true fan like myself is really wondering what is going on between the two of them. Big Boi has always seemed like the more comical between the duo whereas Andre was the more calm, eccentric, and deep. This album is dope by all means but it would have been nice to hear Andre bring his grounding effect to the experience at least for one song for old times sakes.
Big Boi has been a pioneer lyricist and highly effective flavor maker in the hip-hop game since the 90s. His career has truly been a good example of how to age in the music business possibly even more so than the likes of Jay-Z. Big Boi’s Boomiverse delivers the high quality dungeon family funk that we’ve come to know and love from the Outkast ATLien and is definitely worth the listen. Would “Chocolate” really work as a song for a stripper named “Chocolate” to collect tips to? At the very least it would be a unique groove that would win pocket folds off respect to the lineage alone. Somebody tell Daddy Fatsacks we are still #Outchea putting on for the real.