Kendrick Lamar and Meek Mill are the hottest rappers in the game right now, both with critically acclaimed or highly anticipated major label debuts (Mill’s Dreams & Nightmares comes out tomorrow) and both are gunning for that number one spot. However, while Lamar takes the smooth and reserved route emblematic of his Black Hippy collective, Mill’s style is aggressive and pop-ready. Via The New York Times:

Mr. Lamar’s “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” is as much of a slog as any great album in recent memory and probably the chewiest major-label hip-hop album in more than a decade. It necessitates ways of listening that went out with the Clinton presidency or with the advent of the seven-inch single. There are almost no obvious entry points, nothing bite-size to latch onto.

“Dreams and Nightmares,” by contrast, is highly legible; even its more daring songs are straightforward. But just because Meek Mill doesn’t play with cadence or voice or melody like Mr. Lamar doesn’t mean that he’s not thoughtful. His story songs are intricate, external to Mr. Lamar’s internal. He also builds tension in a way that Mr. Lamar, with his perma-cool and level presence, struggles to replicate. Mr. Lamar eases into the beat when he’s not gingerly dancing around it; he is never dominating. That’s why he remains largely a cipher.

In these interviews with the up-and-comers you can get a sense of their differences and similarities.

Meek Mill

Kendrick Lamar

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