Meek Mill stormed his way onto radio back in 2011 with the street bangers "Ima Boss" and "Tupac Back," and that heat didn't cool off the following year, helping him to land at the #10 position on MTV News' "Hottest MCs in the Game VIII" list.
While he prepped his debut album, Dreams and Nightmares, the MMG rapper kept busy early in the year with features on Rick Ross' Rich Forever mixtape, in addition to appearances on remixes of tracks like Wale's "Slight Work" and Tyga's "Rack City."
By spring, he delivered a brand-new body of work on his Dreamchasers 2 mixtape, which included the smash "Amen" (featuring Drake) and other notables like "Racked Up Shawty" with Fabolous. Even Jay-Z took notice, signing Meek to a Roc Nation management deal while his tape was still in heavy rotation.
Just over a month later, MMG dropped their Self Made Vol. 2 album, which found the Philadelphia rapper spitting hard on tracks like the eight-minute posse cut "Power Circle." His audience was primed and ready for Meek's debut, which finally dropped in October, debuting at #2 with 165,000 copies sold.
Album: Dreams and Nightmares
Selected Mixtapes: Dreamchasers 2
Singles: "Amen" (featuring Drake), "Young & Gettin' It" (featuring Kirko Bangz), "Dreams and Nightmares"
Street Bangers: "Black Magic" (featuring Rick Ross)
Key Guest Appearances: Rick Ross' "So Sophisticated"
Meteoric Measures: While remaining on MMG's star-studded roster, he also inked a management deal with Jay-Z's Roc Nation label.
Business Ventures: Meek announced the launch of his Dreamchasers record label during a performance in his hometown Philadelphia, where he brought T.I. and Big Sean to the stage.
Tours: After headlining his Dreamchasers Summer Tour, Meek joined Rick Ross and Wale for an MMG fall/winter tour, which was eventually cut short.
Monumental Moment: Dreams and Nightmares sold 165,000 copies in its first week on the charts, despite superstorm Sandy slowing down sales.
Forecast: With his Dreamchasers 3 mixtape set to debut in 2013, Meek is sure to return with a few more hit singles.
Meek's #10 spot didn't go uncontested though. While members of the MTV Hip-Hop Brain Trust argued that Pusha T deserved to be in contention for his verses on G.O.O.D. Music's Cruel Summer album, there was an even more passionate argument for French Montana, who originally landed at #10 when the votes were tallied.
The Bronx rapper certainly had a big presence with his inescapable summer anthem "Pop That" plus cuts like "Diamonds" (featuring Rick Ross and J. Cole), from his Mac and Cheese 3 mixtape, and a crossover feature on Ne-Yo's "Let Me Love You (Remix)." "I think Meek is a better lyricist, but we're talking about heat, and if you went out, French was everywhere," MTV News' Managing Editor Rebecca Thomas noted.
When all was said and done, however, Meek still edged out French, securing #10. "This list would be unfair if Meek didn't make it," RapFix Blog Editor Nadeska Alexis added, pointing out that even the veterans took notice: "He drops Dreamchasers 2, signs a management deal with Roc Nation, and Jay-Z and Will Smith are showing up to his album listening session."