5 Best Songs on Meek Mill’s ‘Wins & Losses’
Every year in hip-hop, there are a few releases that arrive with an air of anticipation that differs from the average album drop, and in 2017, Meek Mill's Wins & Losses LP carries that distinction. Aside from being another collection of songs from one of rap's most enthralling stars, Wins & Losses is also the first studio album from Meek Mill now that his epic clash of the titans with Drake, various rap beefs, and his breakup with Nicki Minaj are in his rear-view. His name becoming a punchline and synonymous with defeat for a period of time following his back-and-forth with his Canadian counterpart, Meek Mill was faced with odds that appeared immeasurable to the casual fan, however, those familiar with the Philly native's backstory were not so quick to echo those notions, and Meek has proved them right, unleashing a steady barrage of quality street music over the course of the past 18 months.
Mixtapes and random loosies can get a rapper on the public's good side, but for the rap game's heavyweights, their legacies are built largely through their catalog of albums, and the stakes were high as ever for Meek Mill heading into the making of his. Released right in time for the thick of the summer festivities, Wins & Losses is a redeeming effort on the part of Meek Mill, as he turns in what is being championed as his most impressive body of work to date. Addressing many of the questions and concerns that fans had about his life and the people in it, Meek Mill comes out swinging on Wins & Losses, but compliments it with a wise sense of clarity, a testament to his maturity as an artist and a man.
The Boombox shares five songs from Wins & Losses that stand a cut above the rest and highlight Meek Mill's return to form.
Meek Mill convenes with fellow hustlers Yo Gotti and Rick Ross on "Connect the Dots," one of the standout offerings from Wins & Losses that captures the Philly rhymer in a rather blood-thirsty state. "We gon' whack you if you tellin', it don't matter if you snitch," Meek warns over a menacing backdrop provided by producer Papamitrou, while his co-conspirators assume the position of crime bosses, resulting in a trifecta of boisterous stanzas from three of rap's foremost street orators.
Meek Mill sheds his rugged exterior and speaks on the emotional wounds inflicted upon him as a product of an impoverished environment on the Wins & Losses cut "These Scars," which casts him alongside Future and soul-singer Guordan Banks. "The land they gave us was always ours/Don't close the door, you owe us more," Banks croons on the hook, complimenting the proceedings with his impassioned vocal performance. Future's appearance may tread a bit on the pedestrian side, however, Meek delivers a stanza that is among the best on Wins & Losses, making "These Scars" one of the album's premier selections.
One of the more undervalued aspects of Meek Mill's artistry is his observations of the ills of life in the ghetto and the sociopolitical implications that surround them, which he explores on the Wins & Losses track "Young Black America." Producer Street Symphony samples JAY-Z's Blueprint cut "Blueprint (Momma Loves Me),"constructing a soulful instrumental over which the MMG capo navigates, lending words of caution and speaking to the plights of young black men. Featuring guest vocals from The-Dream, Young Black
Spilling his guts and glory over production by Tarik Azzouz & StreetRunner, Meek Mill lyrical ability and emotional fervor shine brightly on the Wins & Losses finale "Price," a triumphant number that encapsulates the sentiment of the album's title. "This the price of having money and the price of being great/Had to cut a couple homies, never heard them tell me thanks," the Dreamchaser laments, as he sheds light on the costs paid along his journey to becoming a boss, ending his album in grand fashion.
Wins & Losses is filled with transparent takes on the past few years in the life of Meek Mill, but one track in particular that he unpacks on is "1942 Flows," the album's crown jewel and one of its more focused inclusions. Produced by Dougie, piano keys, digitized drums and ominous synths serve as the foundation of the solemn track, on which Meek wears his heavy heart on his sleep. Touching on his beef with Drake, the aftermath of his relationship with Nicki Minaj, and fair-weather friends, Meek Mill finds himself in the zone on "1942 Flows," a selection that speaks to the greatness of the Philly titan.