Meek Mill, “Dreams & Nightmares” – Album Review

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The hype around Meek Mill has been humming since the rapper signed with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group last year.  Mill’s debut, “Dreams & Nightmares,” shows he has great potential as a storyteller, but his lyrical flow is not consistent.  His wordplay is subpar especially on songs like “Believe It,” “Young & Getting’ It,” and “Lay Up.”  Those of you familiar with Meek will know that he is a passionate rapper but I find that on some of the tracks his voice is too loud, making the words difficult to digest.  In my opinion the Philadelphia-bred rapper thrives more when he takes it down a notch and delves into his backstory.

Meek’s 14-song full-length, released on Maybach Music Group, covers both the heaven and hell that he has had to walk through.  This latest album release does not flow as well as his previous projects, but still includes a few gems that make it worth the listen.  Undoubtedly “Dreams & Nightmares” will be making noise on radios near you.

Rating 5/10

Mumford & Sons, "Babel" - Album Review

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A few years ago Mumford & Sons emerged from London with banjos blazing.  “Babel” is projected to go gold in its first week, a rare rock commercial success in an era dominated by pop, hip hop, and electronic dance music.  They bash away on mandolins, fiddles and dobros like a string band on steroids.  The band has not changed much.  Songs like “Below My Feet” and “Lover of the Light” have become familiar staples of the band’s live show, Babel has been road tested for nearly two years.

Most of the tracks on this album start off slowly, often with singing over acoustic guitar and gradually build with banjo, keys, bass, and vocal harmonies, the folk rock equivalent of a dubstep drop.  It’s tough to fault Mumford & Sons for sticking with a successful algorithm.  But it’s also tough to embrace a new album so reminiscent of its predecessor.  The biggest surprise on the album is the nearly hard rock arrangement of “Broken Crown.”  The hard rock arrangement of this track gives hope that the band can expand and grown in the studio.

I believe the Mumford formula is something to expand on rather than destroy, I am feeling a 4 out of 10.

Slaughterhouse, "Welcome To Our House" - Album Review

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Eminem and the super-group Slaughterhouse have appeared to hit a home run today with the new album titled "Welcome to Our House."  In a recent SiriusXM radio interview Eminem said that "hip hop really needs this album," and I would have to agree.  Each member of Slaughterhouse exercises their lyrical clout. They are like the hip-hop Avengers.  According to Slaughterhouse, Eminem took on a lot of the mixing, mastering, and directorial duties himself as well as featuring on a few tracks.

The pressure on Slaughterhouse to create a masterpiece is high, and no one knows this more than Eminem.  Hip hop has gone far too long without the gritty lyricism that laid the groundwork for rap's explosion in the '90s. Thankfully, the Hip Hop Avengers bring it back in force.  I think Eminem strikes the correct balance of allowing Slaughterhouse to maintain the underground feel on some tracks and the inevitable tracks that beg radio spins.  The good news is that the crew doesn't dumb down their lyrical content in an attempt to go mainstream.  Be sure to purchase the Deluxe Edition, which features four tracks that, honestly, should have made the album in place of some of the radio-pandering efforts.  I am feeling a 6 out of 10.