Meek Mill has been through hell and back. He’s only 26-years-old but on the streets, age-wise that makes him a veteran. Growing up in the gritty, unforgiving city of Philadelphia, Meek, real name Robert Williams, fell into the same trap that a lot of his friends and many others in his age group that grew up in the same type of environment. After grinding on the streets (and a brief jail stint), Meek took that same hustle and energy and applied it to the studio booth. Soon his name was buzzing in his hometown before he began to branch out, catching the ear of Atlanta rapper T.I. along the way, who signed him to his Grand Hustle imprint. Things didn’t work out between the artist and that label, but never one to give up, Meek continued putting out mixtape after mixtape to build on his buzz.

What’s one man’s trash is the next man’s treasure. Rick Ross scooped up the young and hungry emcee and signed him to his Maybach Music Group label in 2011. Ever since then, Meek made sure his boss never regretted that decision. After releasing his debut album Dreams and Nightmares last fall (which has gone on to sell more than 350,000 copies), losing his artist Lil Snupe to gun violence and verbally sparring with fellow Philly rapper Cassidy, Meek shows no signs of stopping and unleashes the third installment of his widely popular Dreamchasers mixtape series to much fanfare.

Meek opens up with the intro “I’m Leanin” featuring Travi$ Scott, Birdman and Diddy and sets the tone for the rest of the project. Meek goes hard in the song to prove why he’s earned his spot among some of the best spitters in the game. That’s quickly followed up by the in your face “Make Me.” Meek Mill takes all of the hatred, fakeness and venom that has been spit at him and uses it for inspiration:

“And all these hoes wanna fuck with a nigga like me/ But when I was locked down ain’t none of these hoes write me/ That’s why I don’t chase bitches cause the money the only thing excite me/ And I don’t fuck with new niggas, all day one niggas beside me/ We got thirties ridin round tryna do a nigga dirty/ Try and burn me, head shot bye bye for a birdie/ And I ain’t worried about none of y’all niggas tryna hurt me/ I got all these niggas on stand-by/ And they kill any nigga tryna murk me”

Dreamchasers 3 is Meek’s most reflective music yet. He uses the opportunity to get a lot off of his chest while sharpening his lyrical skills. It may look like he’s living the life now but in “Heaven or Hell,” sampling Luniz’ "I Got Five On It" and featuring Jadakiss and singer Guordan Banks, the Philadelphia rapper talks about some of the darker things he had to go through before he could shine. Besides touching on the drama between him and his baby mama, Meek raps about the streets he knew before the fame:

“If we all grind, we all shine, fuck a part time/ I used to play the block early morning and dark time/ Now it’s G5 flights, fuck a depart time/ It was hard times, nigga now it’s our time/ Just take a look at my life, rapping brought me back to life/ Cause I was in them streets, my heart was cold as a pack of ice/ Every night we strapping like we was in Iraq to fight/ Cause niggas getting murdered for a block that do a stack a night"

No one brings the same velocity and high-pitched energy Meek brings to a party song. He doesn’t disappoint fans looking for classic Meek Mill club bangers. French Montana brings his signature jingle hooks for the bouncy “Right Now,” which also features Cory Gunz and Mase.  On “It’s Me (I B On Dat),” Nicki Minaj and Fabolous go back and forth with Meek while French Montana once again stays in his lane to provide the catchy hook. Tha bawse Rick Ross joins his MMG signee on the exuberant “Rich Porter” and “Dope Dealer.”

Meek gives his fallen homie some shine with the “Lil Snupe Skit” that features the 18-year-old freestyling in the studio. The three-minute plus interlude is followed up with “Lil Nigga Snupe,” one of the hardest songs on Dreamchasers 3. Meek is at his best went he verbally assaults the track with all of the pent up pain and frustration of losing his friend.

Listening to some of Meek’s earlier material used to be a workout in itself. Trying to keep up with the energetic, fast-paced lyrics rapped in a high-pitched voice song after song could become tiring. Meek is growing into a better artist and broadening his rap skills, learning how to slow things down a bit and mellow out his style and cadence so the rest of us could catch up. The Philadelphia rapper relies on a handful of producers, including Boi-1da, Cardo and Key Wane, to create a well-balanced project that showcases his growth in the rap game.

Perhaps likening himself to one of Philly’s finest, Meek ends things with a rant from Philadelphia 76ers’ Allen Iverson on his infamous position about the importance of going to practice. Much like how the answer was with basketball, Meek uses Dreamchasers 3 to prove that yes, he raps for the love of it but he could also do it in his sleep.