Watch: Meek Mill’s Glow Up

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At the top of the video there’s a disclaimer that warns that the people in the video are NOT fictitious and that the video is real life. I had to pause the video to make sure I read the disclaimer correctly. Why did Meek Mill feel the need to point out that the events in the video actually happened?

“Glow Up” is about Meek Mill’s rags-to-riches story. It’s not a unique story in America, in storytelling or in hip-hop. That being said, the song is catchy and fun. There’s nothing overwhelming about the song, but Meek’s enthusiasm on the track is contagious. The same is true in the video.

Before we get too praiseworthy, it must be pointed out that the song is super basic and so is the video. Most of the six minutes in the video show a private jet, pool parties and other cliches that have been seen hundreds of times. The redeeming factor is the opening.

The opening of the video is basically a minute-long, impromptu (?) monologue delivered by Meek Mill to his fans. His message is simple: when he was 17 he didn’t think that he would make it to 30. Now he’s 30 and he’s celebrating his birthday on a private jet. As stated above, hard knock stories like this one are what hip-hop is made of. Meek’s story is compelling not for its content but for its sincerity. Because the opening seems to be real life and because Meek seems to be genuinely happy, it’s easy to ignore the familiarity of the images, beat, and lyrics. For a brief moment listeners can suspend their cynicism and revel in Meek’s success.

Meek Mill turned 30 on May 6th. We wish the Philadelphia rapper a belated happy birthday. On the same day, May 23, that the video “Glow Up” was released it was announced that Meek is being sued for a 2016 shooting at one of his concerts. It doesn’t appear that Meek or any of his associates had anything to do with the shooting. You can read all about it here.

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