Meek Mill is back less than a year removed from his October mixtape, DC4 (although it felt like more of an album to me) with his third studio album, Wins & Losses. Personally, I enjoyed the DC4 project as well as his first official studio album, Dreams & Nightmares.
I felt that Meek was at his most passionate and personal on those two records. However, that same determination was eventually absent on his second album, Dreams Worth More Than Money. Despite that lackluster project, his beef with Drake took the rap game by storm, and officially put Meek on the map (maybe not for the right reasons).
Nonetheless, he has developed a loyal fan base, and part of the reason for that is, the blood sweat and tears he puts into his verses. While they might not always be the best, people certainly appreciate him as an artist.
I was one of those people who really was excited for Wins & Losses just because it’s been awhile since Meek has put out a full length album. I was really hoping he could create a cohesive theme and sound for the entire 17 song track-list.
While there were many highlights and stand-out performances sprinkled throughout the record, I found the production to be quite underwhelming. Much of that issue is because of the ridiculous amount of producers that contribute to each single. We have Papamitrou, StreetRunner, Maaly Raw, and Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E all getting their hands on at least one of these tunes. In all honesty, I didn’t really get a feel of Meek’s state of mind currently because of the countless number of producers working on this with him. I wish he was more like Tyler, the Creator on his recent release Flower Boy, where he would just make his own beats so we can have more consistency within the album.
The production and instrumentals weren’t even that exciting to begin with. In fact, most of the beats sounded like shitty Garage Band sounds that were thrown together with a hard base. Rarely was their any risk taken with the sound, which is a shame because I actually believe that there are some memorable lines here.
On the song “Wins & Losses,” Meek has his usual gigantic introduction where he addresses his personal life and talks about how he started with “oodles and noodles and now (we) eating lobster.” While it’s not his most impactful start to an album, you could still feel his confidence in his cadence. “Heavy Heart” is a gorgeous song about learning how to cope with his past life, and it’s also one of the few times where I feel like the production has some merit with regards to the song.
Despite the pretty decent start to the project, where Meek really falters is on the third track, “Fuck that Check Up” with Lil Uzi Vert. This single is severely misplaced and probably would have worked better as a bonus at the end. Again, I think part of the problem has to do with the wacky production and the inconsistency at times surrounding the album. The R&B inspired tune, “Whatever You Need” is riddled with cliched lyrics especially from Chris Brown, and really this is not Meek’s type of music.
Although it seems like I’m giving this album a hard time, I still really do like many of these tracks even though a lot of them would probably be better as stand-alone releases rather than added to a full length album. For example, “These Scars” is actually quite tremendous, and is by far the stand-out single for me. Singer Guordon Banks (who was featured on DC4) is stunning with his hook, and I think Future puts out his best verse in quite a awhile. The theme of materialism and how it can hide pain is extremely well-executed, and Meek drops some really memorable lines (Dime in the crib, tip-toeing on the marble/Rockin’ all this ice I’m just trying to hide my scars tho). The same can be said about “Connect the Dots” as well. Rick Ross is phenomenal, and even Yo Gotti holds his own here.
Again though, Meek tries to go R&B again on “Open” with Verse Simmons, which dismally falls apart with a really boring beat and hook. “Never Lose” is equally as dreadful, where lyrics include, “I’m fucking models on the daily,” and “my bitch trying to play me, she crazy.” It’s a shame because, I actually kind of enjoyed Meek’s verses on this song where he opens up a little more about his past troubles.
Anyway, this album was all over the place tonally, and although many of the focal points peppered throughout the project were really good, I think this would have worked better as a mixtape. I see albums as a story, and I’m kind of confused after listening to this, especially what Meek’s current state of mind is. It’s disheartening that he couldn’t create something more close-knit because a lot has happened to him over the years and the media has made a huge impact on him as well.
I loved some songs on here, but I also was bored on some tracks as well. And while I’m mixed on Wins & Losses, the one huge thing that we should be celebrating is the fact that Meek only addressed his situation with Nicki Minaj once. That’s a huge win for all of us.