It’s safe to say the days of the Rick Ross-led Maybach Music Group dominance has ended. Recent singles like ‘No Games’ off Ross’ upcoming ‘Mastermind’ made very little splash and the ‘Self Made, Vol. 3’ album came and went. The end of MMG’s reign was essentially marked by Meek Mill’s presence last year, not that the label’s decline is necessarily his fault.

Last summer’s ‘Dreamchasers 2’ was pretty much MMG’s last claim to car stereo-thumping, chart-topping relevance. While Meek Mill did make a name for himself with hits like ‘I’m a Boss’ the previous year, his obscene amount of energy in cuts like ‘Burn’ and ‘Amen’ was infectious. Kendrick Lamar unintentionally brought Meek Mill’s -- and consequently MMG’s -- momentum to a halt when he released the canonized ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city.’

Meek doesn’t really change up his strategy on his new mixtape, ‘Dreamchasers 3,’ despite the circumstance. Instead, he’s going to pound you with hit after potential hit with the subtlety of a heavy machine gun. Some shots might miss, but when they hit, they hit hard. The Philadelphia rapper trades in the borderline helter skelter energy on the predecessor to 'Dreamchasers 3' for a more focused assault. It all feels darker too, and the vitriol-laced stunting by trash talk extraordinaires Birdman and Diddy on the album opening ‘I'm Leanin’ sets the tone.

A good part about why some of the tracks hit so hard is the heavy artillery Meek Mill brings along on ‘Dreamchasers 3.’ The features include producers Key Wane (‘All Me’) and Boi-1da (‘F---WithMeYouKnowIGotIt’) and artists including Nicki Minaj, Ross and Fabolous.

Some of the production just manages to sound sinful, especially in the first half. Birdman says, “See we started trap, before we was rap” on ‘Im Leanin’; the beat supports his lines to cathartic effect. The threats of those dense keys on the easy mixtape highlight ‘Dope Dealer’ is easily one of Key Wane’s finest productions, and Minaj violently steps on all in her path in this backdrop. “So go get off my testicle, pardon my decimal, bitch / Check up my resume, I'm upper echelon rich,” she rhymes.

The keys on ‘I B On Dat’ sting like daggers and buoys the track to a DJ playlist mainstay. Coincidentally, Minaj has a pretty solid showing here too, declaring herself Nicki DiBiase.

Meek Mill has some good verses on the less club-ready tracks. He leaves the VIP lounge and the iced Ciroc bottles for a trip back to Philadelphia in the fast-paced ‘Hip-Hop.’ “S---‘s getting tow up, as she watch me grow up / Right in front of the kids, she f---ing her nose up / She's thinking like so what,” he raps.

After including a recording of the late Lil Snupe performing a verse, Mill pays tribute to his fallen protégé on ‘Lil N----- Snupe.’ The record succeeds because it shoots to sober rather than be heartfelt: “They killed my lil n---- Snupe, my lil n---- was they truth / And all he wanted was a coupe."

But ‘Dreamchasers 3’ has the same problem as its predecessor: it’s far too long. Plus, it can be hard for some hip-hop fans to listen to a rapper with a high-volume manner of performing over variations of percussion hi-hats for a long period of time. Then again, Meek Mill isn’t necessarily focused on making a cohesive mixtape. He’s shaking you by the shoulders and forcing you to hear him, and if you end up in the club afterward, it’s a mission accomplished.



Listen to Meek Mill's 'Dreamchasers 3' Mixtape

More From