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Meek Mill – Championships

Meek Mill – Championships
Hip Hop
Release date
November 30 2018
Meek Mill
Meek Mill – Championships
November 30 2018 | Hip Hop

Championships is the fourth studio album by American rapper Meek Mill. It was released on November 30, 2018, by Atlantic Records and Maybach Music Group. It follows his Legends of the Summer EP, released earlier in 2018, as well as his previous album, Wins & Losses, released in 2017.

Championships features guest appearances from Cardi B, Drake, Anuel AA, Kodak Black, 21 Savage, Jeremih, PnB Rock, Fabolous, Future, Young Thug, Ella Mai, Jay-Z, and Rick Ross, among others. Meanwhile, production was handled by Bangladesh, Cardo, Cubeatz, C-Sick, Don Cannon, Hit-Boy, Hitmaka, Prince Chrishan, Tay Keith, and Wheezy, among others. The lead single from the album, “Going Bad” featuring Drake was released on January 22, 2019.

Championships received positive reviews from critics and debuted atop the US Billboard 200, selling 229,000 album-equivalent units in its first week (42,000 coming from pure sales).

On July 21, 2017, Meek Mill’s third studio album Wins & Losses was released. On November 6, 2017, Meek Mill was sentenced to two to four years in state prison for violating parole and served five months at the State Correctional Institution – Chester in Chester, Pennsylvania. On April 24, 2018, Mill was released pending the outcome of the appeal to the Pennsylvania supreme court. The Philadelphia district attorney had petitioned Judge Brinkley for his release, citing credibility issues with the arresting officer in his initial 2008 conviction. Brinkley had declined and instead scheduled the case for a hearing. Hours after his release from prison, Michael G. Rubin, a minority owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and long-time supporter of Mill, flew Mill in by helicopter to a 76ers basketball game to perform a ceremonial bell-ringing on the court before the start of the game. Garnering support from other public figures such as Jay-Z and Kevin Hart, Mill stated that he would like to use his situation to “shine a light” on the criminal justice system. On July 6, 2018, Mill released his fifth extended play Legends of the Summer, his first new music since his release from prison.

On September 28, 2018, Meek Mill announced that he would be releasing an album “real soon, like in a matter of weeks.” On November 8, 2018, during a conversation regarding criminal justice reform at Georgetown University, Mill announced that the album would be released in November. The album was reported to include songs about Mill’s “experiences and issues with social justice” following his release from prison earlier in 2018.

Release and promotion
On November 14, 2018, Meek Mill appeared in a Vogue interview, playing a portion of his collaboration with rapper Cardi B and revealing the album would be released on November 30, 2018. He later announced the album’s title, release date and cover art on social media on November 16, 2018. The cover art, a close-up shot of Meek Mill’s face, was called “minimalist”. The tracklist was revealed on November 29, 2018.

On November 22, 2018, “Oodles o’ Noodles Babies” and “Uptown Vibes” featuring Fabolous and Anuel AA were released as promotional singles. Meek Mill performed “Oodles o’ Noodles Babies” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon the same day. The lead single from the album, “Going Bad” featuring Drake was released to urban contemporary radio on January 22, 2019.

Other songs
The music video for the song, “Intro”, was released on December 10, 2018. The music video for “Trauma” was released on December 19, 2018.

Critical reception
Championships received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 76, based on 9 reviews, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. Writing for Billboard, Sowmya Krishnamurthy stated, “Meek raps with the same fervor he’s always had, but there’s a discernable focus on Championships. He’s bridled his high-octane flow and is more clear-eyed. Incarceration has sparked a new purpose in him, as an activist and also as a man coming into his own.” She also opined the reunion of Mill and Drake in “Going Bad” “is a high point” of the album, while “On Me,” “features Cardi B stealing the show in perhaps her most confident rapping to date.” Evan Rytlewski of Pitchfork gave the album a 7.7 out of 10 saying, “Despite being born of injustice, an air of victory hangs over Meek’s first full-length since he was released from prison. It captures an intensity that the Philadelphia rapper is known for and best at.”

Writing for Clash, Aaron Bishop called the album Meek’s best to date saying, “On Championships, his fourth studio album, Meek Mill raps with the same hunger, passion and drive that he came into the game with – which earned him veteran status at MMG as Rick Ross’s right hand lieutenant – but now with a renewed sense of purpose and direction.” In a positive review for Exclaim!, Erin Lowers praised the album stating, “As much as Championships is filled with nonchalant club/street anthems, it’s also about healing. Tempered by both celebration and struggle, Championships shows the duality of Mill’s world–one that still reflects on the past, but has made leaps towards his future–and that’s perhaps the greatest win of them all.”

Commercial performance
Championships debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart with 229,000 album-equivalent units, of which 42,000 came from pure album sales. It became his second number-one album, and logged the fourth-largest streaming week of 2018 for an album. The album moved another 129,000 equivalent units in its second week, falling to number two on the Billboard 200.

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