Meek Mill, Wins & Losses | Album Review
Energetic rapper Meek Mill returns with his third studio album, ‘Wins & Losses.’ More often than not, the ‘wins’ outweigh the ‘losses.’
30-year old Philly rapper Meek Mill returns with his third studio album, Wins & Losses. Wins & Losses arrives two years after his breakout album, Dreams Worth More Than Money. Even so, he dropped a mixtape in 2016, DC4, which debuted in the top 3 of the Billboard 200, speaking to the popularity of rapper. Wins & Losses has a lot of what you expect from a Meek Mill album, but there are some pleasant surprises as well.
“Wins & Losses”
Per the usual, “Wins & Losses” opens the album energetically with ample intensity. Perhaps “Wins & Losses” doesn’t trump the mean “Lord Knows” (Dreams Worth More Than Money), but it definitely comes close. As always, Meek Mill goes H.A.M. “Heavy Heart” ends up being the better song, finding the MC reflecting on the losses. This ranks among the better songs of his career because he gets personal. Sure, he doesn’t eschew toughness or even tone down his profanity, but there’s definitely more authenticity compared to some of his songs.
“F*ck That Check Up” featuring Lil Uzi Vert seems like a downgrade, due in part because Meek Mill shows more range on “Heavy Heart.” Still, this is a respectable banger for what it is. However, wasn’t it just last album that the Philly rapper was rapping about a “Check?” As for Lil Uzi Vert, his performance is what we’ve come to expect.
“Whatever You Need”
“Whatever You Need” brings Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign along for the assist. At this point, it’s a bit hard to get too excited about features from either artist – they’re ubiquitous. Even so, they both help to make “Whatever You Need” among the best moments of Wins & Losses. This is the pop track on a hardcore rap album.
Meek Mill retakes the reins on “1942 Flows.” If Brown and Ty Dolla $ign dominated “Whatever You Need,” he reclaims his throne with an excellent flow here. He follows up with “Issues,” which sports a beat that recalls both the title track as well as the aforementioned “Check.” He doesn’t tread new territory, but you could say he marks it.
“We Ball” pairs Meek with Young Thug – what a combination. Here, Meek Mill decides to sing with a tropical sensibility. Why? When you can rap like he does, why throw a curveball? Young Thug singing (or whatever he’s doing) is the style we’ve come to expect. He’s a melodic rapper or sorts. Still, “We Ball” is a miss as opposed to a made basket.
Meek Mill rebounds nicely on “These Scars” featuring Future and Guordan Banks. Mill is on his game, while Future is, well, Future. Arguably, the best performance comes from Banks, who has a stellar voice. Excellent production serves as fuel for the fire for this enjoyable record that isn’t scarred in the least. “Connect the Dots” brings along a different set of guests: Yo Gotti and Rick Ross. The result is the banger of the album, hands down. Malicious production, hard-hitting rhymes, and a killer vibe make “Connect the Dots” can’t-miss.
“Fall Thru” changes pace, focusing on love, mostly sex. Meek Mill still has edge, but he is considerably smoother considering the romantic vibes. Full-fledged Milly is back on the amped up “Never Lose” featuring Lihtz Kamraz. Clearly, the losses won’t happen again. Follow-up
“Glow Up” exemplifies a winning mentality, in all its glory. The promo single for Wins & Losses, the banger packs more punch contextually. Again, “Glow Up” isn’t brand new, but there’s still something magical that goes down when he’s ‘all the way turnt up.’
“Young Black America”
As nice as “Glow Up” is, “Young Black America,” featuring The-Dream, is more meaningful. Meek Mill gets socially conscious, focusing on black issues. He’s emotional and energetic, but there’s a relaxed vibe about his delivery, that actually puts more weight on what he’s rapping. The-Dream is a perfectly suited as a collaborator, providing a thoughtful contrast to Meek’s rhymes.
After “Young Black America,” things grow more forgettable. Part of this is due to the length of the album, while part is also due to predictability. “Open,” featuring Verse Simmonds, is driven by sex, hence, it’s not particularly deep. Follow-up “Ball Player” offers the expected with Quavo assisting. It’s okay, but not nearly as accomplished as the very best. Penultimate joint “Made It from Nothing” brings Teyana Taylor and Rick Ross along for the ride. Vocally, Taylor shines here, delivering a powerful, nuanced performance. “Price” concludes Wins & Losses, in winning spirit, of course.
All said and done, Meek Mill has his moments on Wins and Losses. Is Wins and Losses an album that can be considered to be a tour de force? No. At 67 minutes, it’s too long – trimming would’ve boded well in its favor. Additionally, as an MC, more often than not, we are offered familiarity as opposed to something starkly different from Meek Mill. Still, when it’s all said and done, he can rap his butt off. More wins than losses.
Gems: “Wins & Losses,” “Heavy Heart,” “Whatever You Need,” “Connect the Dots,” “Glow Up” & “Young Black America”