Meekz – ‘Respect The Come Up’ review: an assured artistic leap forward

As he ascends towards the forefront of UK rap, the Mancunian starts to assert both his ambition and versatility

Meekz has had quite the come up. The Mancunian rapper has worked his way into the mainstream by showing off his dexterous flow on tastemaking freestyle series like P110 Hood and Mad About Bars, before he offered his deep, steady tone to M1llionz, Teeway and Pa Salieu’s ‘Year Of The Deal’, one of the most pivotal drill tracks of the past decade.

But his crowning achievement came when he joined a host of UK rap royalty – Giggs, Ghetts, Fredo – on stage for Dave’s spectacular rendition of ‘In The Fire’ at this year’s BRIT Awards. The performance allowed Meekz to put a spotlight on Manchester and its criminally underrated rap scene, and offered a tantalising glimpse into his future. 10 months later, on his debut mixtape ‘Respect The Come Up’, Meekz solidifies his position as a promising UK rap prospect.

Soulful opener ‘Say Less’ earnestly details his younger years, which were briefly riddled with drug-dealing. It’s here where Meekz flexes his unpredictable rhyming scheme, often catching listeners off-guard with a sharp turn of rhythm. ‘Hustler’s Ambition’ and ‘Patience’, meanwhile, continue to let this confident delivery style do the heavy lifting.

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Central Cee team-up ‘Don’t Like Drill’ is where Meekz truly leans into his playful side.“Most of these so-called drillers are soggy / I need more for me, I’m not sorry”, he spits. He continues to unload another barrage of quips: “In jail, the phone’s broken / But apparently I’m cheating because she ain’t spoken to me”.

A collaboration with another one of the country’s leading rappers, Dave, brings out completely different layers to Meekz. On ‘Fresh Out The Bank’, Dave charges in with a relentless pace, but a back-and-forth flow ensures that he doesn’t overshadow his mentee. The track’s R&B production sometimes relies too heavily on obvious sampling, but it still pulses with a carefree heat, as Meekz revels in how he’s considered “legit now” in the UK rap scene.

‘Respect The Come Up’ is a solid display of quality over quantity. Across 10 tracks, Meekz offers a deft mix of slick wordplay and a level of honesty you don’t often see from a star in the very early stages of their career. The mixtape sees Meekz begin to pull off a fine balancing act: he knows when to play around, and when to show off his stellar pen.

Details

  • Release date: November 18, 2022
  • Record label: Neighbourhood Recordings

 

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