November 2007. Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill first catches his case. He serves his time for the hometown arrest, and even for allegations he’s consistently denied. Mill enters the system of probation, one that he’s now been a part of his entire adult life.
November 2017. Meek Mill is arrested for probation violation, and sentenced to 2-4 years by Judge Genece E. Brinkley, who has presided over his fate since first sentencing him in 2008. By now, Meek Mill is a famed rapper. His debut album Dreams & Nightmares soared to No. 2 on the Billboard 200, after signing a deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. He had his own record label imprint, Dream Chasers Records, and even engaged in a juicy feud with Drake. Not to mention his relationship with Nicki Minaj.
The reason for being sent back to jail, with a 2-4 year sentence? Two charges. One, a fight in the St. Louis Airport, of which the charges were eventually dismissed. The second, Mill popped a motorcycle wheelie while filming a music video in New York City. “I didn’t even think I was going to court when I stepped in court,” Mill says about that day. “And next thing you know, my mind frame has to switch from sleeping in my bed to being locked in a concrete metal cell for 23 hours a day for weeks.”
Just over four months later, Mill was released. Why? For credibility issues, specifically with his arresting officer Reginald Graham, who is now confirmed to be on a list of internally corrupt officers within the Philadelphia Police Department. Reginald Graham, the only witness to testify against Mill in 2008, the only voice to say Mill had his gun pointed against law enforcement—arguably one of the most condemning facts of the case.
November 2018. Nearly eleven years since Meek Mill entered the system. Since, he’s been reincarcerated or held under house arrest for non-violent parole violations, things as small as failing to report tour or travel plans. And even now, in getting to release a new album, Mill still has the dark shadow of probation hanging over him, a sentence which has only ballooned over the decade.
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So now what happens to the 30 year old rapper, who is still at risk of having the majority of his adulthood swallowed up by the system? For starters, Meek Mill has never been more ready to release new music, and will be doing so this month, the release date being November 30th. Very little is known about the album thus far, but we do know that Cardi B will be featured on the new LP.
This reveal comes a week or so after Meek revealed that he’s got a song about Colin Kaepernick. During an appearance at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 48th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., Mill even served up some of the lyrics.
“They told Kap to stand up if you want to play for a team, and most of his teammates said the same thing,” he began. “Back in the ’30s you would be killed if you kneeled/They won’t kill you now, they just take you out of the deal.”
Not only does Meek Mill have something to say about the current political environment, he has some plans to help others escape the trauma of being caught in the system. With the help of longtime friend and mentor Jay-Z and 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, the group will attempt to free “1 million people unjustly caught in the criminal justice system.”
“We’re taking a superhero approach, where we’re trying to do amazing things . . . things that have never been seen before,” Meek Mill says of the group’s mission. The number is bold, but with the experience he’s gained from being “stalked by the system“, we think Meek Mill is well equipped to advise and spearhead prison reform.
From tackling the issue of cash bail, to reforming probation, to working towards more humane conditions within prisons themselves. There is endless work to be done, and Meek Mill knows it. And this past Friday (Nov. 16) Meek Mill announced the title and cover art of his upcoming album, Championships. Check out the announcement below.
🏆 CHAMPIONSHIPS – 11/30 🏆 pic.twitter.com/C1g8Mgivn8
— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) November 16, 2018