In an era of celebrity rappers and prefabricated beef, Cory McKay speaks much needed truth. Picking up where his long-awaited debut The Realness left off, ‘Mega’s latest set of rhymes address the type of reality most MCs only pretend to live and don’t necessarily even understand. Songs like “Live Ya Life” and “Soul Food” deal with the specifics of street life, while “Verbal Graffiti” and “Take These Jewels” focus on Cormega’s evolution as an artist and a man. For those who like public drama, the appearance of Illmatic and Stillmatic producer Large Professor on “The Come Up” adds validation to “Love in Love Out,” ‘Mega’s quiet yet firm rebuttal to the heated name-calling of Nas‘s “Destroy and Rebuild.” Listen to The True Meaning and you’ll be able to grasp how Cormega’s street credibility has enabled him to sell 100,000 records without any major radio airplay or having a video in heavy rotation. Outrunning the clichés, Cormega’s a genuine thug poet, and The True Meaning is an album worth owning. –Rebecca Levine