In hip-hop, perhaps more than in any other genre, you can usually judge an act by the company they keep. Considering that Meyhem Lauren is joined by Harry Fraud, Mike Finito, Tommy Mas, and hip-hop producers’ Gandalf, the Alchemist, at the boards—and AG Da Coroner, Heems, and buddy, Action Bronson, at the boasting—should tell you oodles. And just as there’s a lot to say about Meyhem’s klout, there’s oodles to say about his second release of the year Mandatory Brunch Meetings.
Meyhem’s fans range from old school hip-hop heads with a 401K to those currently sucking on the Internet’s teat for their hip-hop knowledge. Action Bronson, a new age folk hero as of late, has endorsed him endlessly with wicked collaborations, including a guest spot on Rare Chandeliers and contributions to Lauren’s first release of the year, the entertaining Respect The Fly Shit.
So why is Meyhem so slept on? Authenticity, my friends.
A listen to “Stewed Rabo”, starring AG Da Coroner and Bronson, holds up my theory that Meyhem might be just too authentic for some. In an age when authenticity goes as far as Rick Ross’ rap sheet, Lauren might be something of a rarity. Listening to him boast that he’s “in love with bad girls that like to publicize profits/ That only see dollar bills when they open they eyelids/ The whole crib was built off yay/ From the portraits, to the porcelain, with the built-in bidet,” pulls the listener into a world that might live beyond the page for the talented emcee. The best indicator of that claim is that Lauren travels across the course of subject matters like someone on a Youtube binge. Someone with nothing to prove can do that without risking peace of mind.
On the Orient-inspired “Secret Angle”, he gives what might be one of hip-hop’s best metaphors. While it’s standard procedure for rappers to give their music a metaphorical power that is supposed to transcend it, maybe comparing it to Pompeii as it turns you to ash in its wake, Lauren goes the extra mile. Whether it’s sincere―it certainly sounds like it―or not, is inconsequential; all he wants you to do is notice. He says, “So basically what I want you to do is rewind the track, put it into a liquid form, dip a sponge in it, and squeeze that sponge on top of your child’s head and let them absorb all the knowledge I just dropped. I want you to hand scrub your baby with that shit and they’ll grow strong and healthy and become a man of honor like yours truly.” That’s some delicate wordplay to feast on, right there.
Yes, Mandatory Brunch Meetings, like most meetings, peters out at the end, but it ends on a high note. “FDR Music” proves that Meyhem even has the capabilities of existing within a R.A.P. Music paradigm. There are duds along the way, like “Kelly Kapowski” and “Carvel”, but Meyhem is generally in grade-A form. Whether enjoying the Alchemist-produced “Brand Name Marijuana”, or “Thousand Dollar Gym Shoes”, you hear Meyhem spreading his wings. He’s been grounded so far, by no fault of his own. But once people spend enough time to travel through the world Meyhem occupies, they might not want to leave.