"I enjoy [fame], but the parts I don't enjoy is probably the fakeness of it and people acting like they fuck with you just for opportunity," Meek Mill told Noisey's Lawrence Burney over crabcakes on the day that Meek's third studio album, Wins & Losses, was released. "In the beginning, it was really hard to see who really was there for you or who really bang with you and who don't really bang with you."
It's easy to see why this idea stays on the 30-year-old Philadelphia rapper's mind. Having come up from the streets to be regarded as both a hood hero and a financial success story, a portion of the world turned on Meek Mill two years ago after a now-infamous beef with Drake. The origins of that dispute seem absurd now—Meek accused Drake of dragging his feet in promoting Dreams Worth More Than Money, eventually accusing the Canadian of needing help to write his guest verse on "R.I.C.O." Drake responded with a barrage of diss tracks.
Then the floodgates opened. Drake's fans took to Twitter to troll and taunt Meek Mill, affording him none of the respect that he felt he'd earned over his decade-long come-up. "Drake's fan base played by a different set of rules than the code Meek abided by to get where he is now," Burney writes. "And he wasn't anticipating it."
"It took me a long time because I be thinking it be more people like me," [Meek] said, looking me in the eyes, revisiting the shock he felt then. "I don't be thinking that it's fuckboy season out here. It's really fuckboy season."
Even now, Meek Mill is still processing the viral disrespect of 2015.
"I feel like all that stuff was a mess, for real. It was a mess. It was a distraction. It distracted people from my talent. The business is about showcasing your talent to the highest extent but at the same time, it still kept people knowing about my name. Some in a good, some in a bad way."
Read Burney's piece in full right here. Meek Mill's Wins and Losses is out now.
Alex Robert Ross is on Twitter.