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Meek Mill – Expensive Pain (Album Review)

Who knew that pain was expensive… Or had a price tag, for that matter!?


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TOP 5

 

5. Love Train

Behind Meek Mill’s hardcore persona, he takes us on a rollercoaster ride filled with pain and hurt.

In “Love Train,” you get a version of Meek Mill that seems natural and, dare I say, comfortable using various melodies. The song is powered by a very smooth, moody, and piano-heavy beat that immediately gives you the impression that he is ready to bare his soul. Throughout the song, you get to hear Meek vent about his failed relationships, but also express the wisdom he’s gained from being in those situations. Fame must really be a drug because if you listen closely you can hear him express how he’s dealt with women in his life who have let the fame come between them.

I think the highlight of the song is the second verse where Meek cleverly compares a woman to a Rolex watch. While his logic made total sense, only rich ni**as can relate to that reference.

 

 

4. Outside (100 MPH)

Meek displays what I believe is his most dynamic rap performance on the album here.

Doesn’t “Outside” give you intro vibes, even though it’s the second song on the album after “Intro?” The way I see it, this album has two intros, and “Outside” is a more effective intro-type song. Damn, I’ve been talking about intros for longer than I expected… OK, I’m done digressing now.

“Outside (100 MPH)” boasts the energy that we all have come to know and love from Meek. In the song, his flows are wacky, yet dynamic enough to not miss a beat. His charisma is “on a thousand” and he absolutely assaults the instrumental in a way that only Meek can.

Can we all take a moment and appreciate the transition in the production for a moment!? I am quickly becoming convinced that Meek Mill makes music for people who lift extremely heavy weights at overcrowded gyms!

 

 

3. Sharing Locations

Meek Mill, Lil Baby, and Lil Durk relentlessly go back to back to back.

I have to be honest, when “Sharing Locations” dropped just over a month prior to the release of this album, I thought the song was pretty mid. However, within the past few weeks of digesting the song and hearing it within the flow of the Expensive Pain album, it actually works. The way Meek Mill, Lil Baby, and Lil Durk feed off of each other’s energy all while matching flows and cadences is impressive! Additionally, this is one of the few songs on the project that actually delivers an insanely memorable hook thanks to Lil Durk reminding us all that he “hangs with all the murderers”.

It’s strange that this song is called “Sharing Locations” based on a Lil Durk one-liner in the first verse; especially when all three of them do not stick to that concept in their lyrics. Am I tripping?

 

 

2. Tweaking

Doesn’t it feel like Meek Mill is giving a PSA in “Tweaking?”

“Tweaking” features a soulful, boom bap, steady beat that seems tailored for Meek Mill to walk all over (In a good way). If you are a fan of nostalgic 90s R&B, then featured guest Vory mentioning that he “likes the way you work it” should almost immediately allow you to reminisce on Blackstreets’ 1998 hit “No Diggity” (If you know, you know). Side note: Who knew Vory had bars?

You get an inspired and triumphant performance from Meek in “Tweaking.” I feel, when he raps over beats that are scaled back, you really get a chance to appreciate the Philly rapper’s lyricism. In the song, Meek raps about his twisted relationship with money, his widely known dealings with the law, and his passion for rapping. Overall, this song is fire.

 

 

1. Me (FWM)

Meek and Ferg are the dynamic duo we didn’t even know we needed!

To me, “Me (FWM)” is the best song on Expensive Pain (Don’t worry, I’ll eventually explain why). If you heard the song, it should be very apparent (In my arrogant opinion lol). First of all, the simplistic and slowed-down piano-driven beat reminds me of the lullabies I never received as a child. The beginning of the song lulls you to sleep, then once you are drawn in, here comes Meek Milly with the swagger to match. Somehow, the level of entertainment that Meek is able to display is both incredible and infectious. Also, A$AP Ferg was able to mesh perfectly on this song, making it one of the top collaborations on the album. Ultimately, “Me (FWM)” is energetic, lively, and fits what I believe works the best for Meek’s sound. This is a banger, so don’t be surprised if/when you hear it in every strip club, nightclub, playlist, and gas station known to man!



SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN

1. Intro (Hate On Me)  (3.5/5)

2. Outside (100 MPH) (4/5)

3. On My Soul (3/5)

4. Sharing Locations (4/5)

5. Expensive Pain (3/5)

6. Ride For You (3.5/5)

7. Me (FWM) (5/5)

8. Hot (3/5)

9. Love Train (4/5)

10. Northside Southside (2.5/5)

11. We Slide (3/5)

12. Tweaking (4/5)

13. Love Money (3.5/5)

14. Blue Notes 2 (4/5)

15. Angels (RIP Lil Snupe) (3.5/5)

16. Cold Hearted III (3/5)

17. Halo (2/5)

18. Flamerz Flow (Bonus) (3.5/5)



RGM RATING

(C)

 

In the past few years, we’ve seen Meek Mill level up his business endeavors and acumen. We’ve also recently bore witness to him winning the “Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award” for the social activism work he has been doing these past few years. The REFORM Alliance, a criminal justice reform organization that Meek is the co-founder of, has been doing some amazing work in the community. Now that we got all of the positive sh*t out of the way, we can focus solely on this new Expensive Pain album.

After listening to Expensive Pain, it appears to me that Meek Mill’s motives throughout the album were not centered around evolution; rather, we were hit with flows, subject matters, and song concepts that were predictable and a bit repetitive at times. To expand on that point a bit further, there was an extensive amount of songs that simply did not differentiate themselves from each other. I suppose I can’t say that I am shocked; however, with an album called Expensive Pain, I was really expecting to hear a reasonable dose of maturity and depth in topics that would explain the concept of the album. From a production standpoint, there is a lot to enjoy with this album. We essentially got beats that were made to be hits; however, Meek’s performances throughout the vast majority of the songs were not hit-worthy.

While Expensive Pain does provide glimpses of what Meek does best, it fails to garner enough quality songs that would make the listener believe that this is some of his best work. I do see the potential for songs like “Hot,” “Blue Notes 2,” “Angels,” and “Love Money” to grow on me a bit with a few more listens, but only time will tell how those songs and the album will evolve over time.

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