Meek Mill, to me, is an artist that you never really know what you are going to get when you listen to him. His latest album “Expensive Pain,” which was released on Oct 1, is a perfect example of that ideology. The album does a great job of keeping you guessing as you progress through the 18 tracks.
The album’s intro song, cleverly titled “Intro (Hate On Me)” personifies what Meek Mill is best known for, fast lyrics and an amazing beat. Of all the songs in the album, this was the perfect choice to lead off with. It’s catchy, it gets your head moving while not overwhelming you.
He keeps this going throughout the album with songs like “Outside (100 MPH)” that all carry a similar flow in his raps. It keeps his high tempo and fast style. Right after that, we get a track with a much slower tempo; something else that Meek Mill is well known for. He can slow it down to an almost J Cole style flow. “On My Soul” lets Mill show off his singing chops with a relaxing piano-based beat that eventually leads into a speed that we’re more used to.
Meek Mill has always been very good at working with other artists, with some of his most popular songs being ones with features from big name artists like Drake. This is also probably why half of the tracks in this album feature another artist. Kehlani brings in smooth vocals in the album’s sixth track “Ride For You.” This is perfect for Meek Mill whose voice and flow is one of the most iconic in rap, an almost aggressive voice that has a certain sharpness behind his words. In days today where mumble rap continues to grow, it’s nice to see Meek Mill keep to himself and his own flow. Bringing artists like A$AP Ferg on the seventh track on the album, “Me (FWM),” who shares a similar style to Meek Mill, allows for the beats to shine.
My favorite of the features on the album has to be in his tenth song on the album, “Northside Southside,” which features British rapper Giggs whose flow is almost whisper rap-esque. The contrast of Meek Mill and Giggs makes this song a joy to listen to.
Now, on the negative side, none of these lyrics are going to blow you away. They stick with traditional rap themes of women, money and respect. However, I honestly do not think this is a major drawback from my enjoyment of this album. Not every rapper is going to have the creativity of a J Cole or an Eminem but it does become evident that a lot of the topics are the same in the songs. This is most evident in two songs I’ve already mentioned, “Intro (Hate On Me)” and “Me (FWM) (feat. A$AP Ferg).” The lyrics, while they may be different, feel like they are saying the same thing, that Meek Mill should be respected.
Overall, this album is what Meek Mill is; good but not great. The beats and flow of Meek MIll and the several featured artists are great. But, if you are looking for something that is going to win a Grammy for lyrics, you may want to look somewhere else. If you are looking for something that will make you bob your head and get hyped up, Meek Mill’s “Expensive Pain” is right up your alley.