Last November, Meek Mill received a sentencing of two to four years for a parole violation stemming from a 2008 arrest. After a taping for The Tonight Show in August, the rapper was stopped by the NYPD after an Instagram Live revealed he went on a night ride on dirtbikes with fans. Since his return to prison, Meek has received support from not only his peers in rap but in unexpected places like the Olympics. JAY-Z penned a New York Times article about the criminal justice system's predatory behavior toward black people, and Slovenian snowboarder Tit Stante scribbled #FreeMeekMill on his board at the Winter Olympics. In his first interview since his imprisonment, the Philadelphia rapper talks to Rolling Stone about what's next.
Meek revealed that he hasn't let his family visit him since his incarceration.
"I won't let them come, if they see me like this—fucked-up beard, hair all ganked—then it's like I'm really in here. Which I'm not."
In the interview, he clarified what happened when Judge Genece Brinkley asked him to remix Boyz II Men's "On Bended Knee" for her.
"Fucking Nicki [Minaj] busts out laughing, but I grabbed her leg, going, 'Yo, this is my life here.' I tried to tell the judge, 'All respect, but that ain't me. I'm a Philly street rapper, not a bubblegum dude.' She says, 'Fine, then,' in a real sarcastic way. 'Suit yourself.' "
The Dreams and Nightmares rapper has been using his time to think about what he's going to do once he's released. "I want to speak on this system and what it does to black people—on both fucking sides of the fence," says Meek. But what seems to be the most pressing issue for him is getting out of Philadelphia. "Trust me, I'm gonna say something about that. And then, I'm gonna move to Atlanta." The story of Meek's incarceration remains incredibly sad. At 19, the rapper's gun charge called for a sentence of 23 months, but he's served almost double that time and is sitting in prison for a parole violation for a 10 year old case. Systems like jail are supposed to be "correctional" but America's need to fill prisons make it impossible for people to lead normal lives. Receiving a parole violation every time he crosses state lines, is undoubtedly preventing him from doing his job, and criminalizes him as he tries to move further from the life he used to lead. Documentaries like 13th and books like The New Jim Crow have constantly brought the issue of mass incarceration to the masses, but Meek's story shows that celebrity isn't a shield. If this can happen to someone who is well known, what happens to the person who's voice isn't as loud? Kristin Corry is a staff writer at Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.