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Meek Mill

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Meek Mill
Birth name Robert Rihmeek Williams
Born (1987-05-06) May 6, 1987 (age 29)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
Labels
Associated acts
Website www.meekmilldreamteam.com

Robert Rihmeek Williams (born May 6, 1987),[1] better known by his stage name Meek Mill, is an American hiphop recording artist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was briefly signed to the Atlanta-based record label Grand Hustle, owned by the American record executive and rapper T.I. In February 2011, after leaving Grand Hustle, Mill signed a record deal with American rapper Rick Ross's Miami-based Maybach Music Group (MMG). Mill's debut studio album, Dreams and Nightmares, was released in 2012 under MMG and Warner Bros. Records. The album, preceded by the single "Young & Gettin' It", debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200. He has also appeared on MMG's Self Made compilation series, with his debut single, "Tupac Back", and second single, "Ima Boss", included on volume one.

In October 2012, Mill announced the launch of his own imprint, Dream Chasers Records, named after his popular mixtape series. He also revealed that he had already signed several Philadelphia-based rappers.

Early life

Meek Mill was born Robert Rihmeek Williams[2] on May 6, 1987,[1] to Kathy Williams in South Philadelphia. He has an older sister, Nasheema Williams. Kathy grew up in poverty and her mother died when she was young. Meek's father was killed when Meek was five years old, apparently during an attempted robbery. His uncle Robert described Meek's father as a "black sheep of the family". After her husband's death, Kathy moved with Meek and his sister to North Philadelphia, where they lived in a three-bedroom apartment on Berks Street. Their financial condition was poor and she started cutting hair and doing other jobs to support the family. She also sometimes stole products from supermarkets and sold them. At home, Meek was shy and rarely spoke. As a kid, he became acquainted with another of his dad’s brothers, Grandmaster Nell, who was a pioneering DJ in the late-1980s Philadelphia hiphop scene and influenced Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff. Meek's interest in hiphop grew. He was also influenced by the independent hiphop artists Chic Raw and Vodka, whom he used to emulate by watching their DVDs.[3][4]

During his early teenage years, Meek often took part in rap battles and, like many others, carried a loaded firearm with him there. He’d often stay up well past midnight filling notebooks with phrases and verses that he’d later draw on. Later he and three friends formed the group Bloodhoundz. They bought blank CDs and jewel cases at Kinko's, encouraging friends to burn them with the group's songs and distribute them. When he was 18, while walking to a corner store armed, Meek was arrested for illegally possessing a firearm and beaten up by police. Because of the beating, his lips and both eyes became swollen and one of his braids was ripped out. He was charged with assaulting the police after two black cops gave a statement against him in the case, saying he chased them down with a gun and tried to kill them. He was then put on probation.[3][4][5]

Music career

2003–10: Career beginnings

The Bloodhoundz lasted long enough to release four mixtapes.[6] In 2008, Mill released his fourth mixtape, Flamers 2: Hottest in tha City, which spawned the promotional singles "I'm So Fly," "Prolli," and "Hottest in the City." Flamers 2 caught the attention of Charlie Mack, founder and President of 215 Aphillyated Records. Mack was so impressed with Mill that he immediately signed him to his management company. During that same year, Meek Mill also met the founder and owner of Grand Hustle Records, T.I.

T.I. was also impressed by Mill and offered him an opportunity to travel to meet with him and Warner Bros. Records; within a week both record companies offered him a deal. Although he was offered other record deals, Mill felt collaborating with T.I. was an opportunity of a lifetime and thus chose his label. Then a setback occurred: Mill was arrested, charged with gun and drug possession, and ordered to serve seven months in prison. He was released in early 2009.[6]

Under Grand Hustle, Mill formed a work relationship with the label's resident disc jockey, DJ Drama. Mill and Drama teamed up to release the third edition of Mill's Flamers series. The mixtape, titled Flamers 3: The Wait Is Over, was released on March 12, 2010 and is a "Gangsta Grillz mixtape".[7][8][9] The mixtape features his promotional single "Rosé Red", which was later remixed with additional verses from fellow American rappers T.I., Rick Ross and Vado.[7] Rick Ross contributed his verse after he was visiting Philadelphia and asked his Twitter followers who he should collaborate with; Meek Mill was the overwhelming response.[7] The remix was included on Mill's following mixtape, Mr. Philadelphia.[10] Due to Mill's and label-boss T.I.'s respective legal troubles, Mill was never able to release an album under Grand Hustle and they parted ways in 2010.[11]

2011–12: Dreams & Nightmares

In February 2011, Rick Ross announced the signing of Mill along with fellow American rapper Wale to his Maybach Music Group (MMG) label. In March 2011, Mill was included in XXL's "Freshman Class of 2011".[12] Later that year, he released his debut single, "Tupac Back", featuring Rick Ross, from his label's compilation album Self Made Vol. 1 (2011). That same year he released his second single, "Ima Boss", also take from the compilation and featuring Ross. The song was later remixed, featuring T.I., Birdman, Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz and Rick Ross. The remix charted on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at #51, becoming Mill's most successful single at that time. In August 2011, Mill released Dreamchasers, a well received mixtape featuring his urban hit "House Party" and guest appearances from Rick Ross, Yo Gotti and Beanie Siegel among others.

In February 2012, MTV listed Meek Mill as the "#7 hottest MC" in their annual "Hottest MCs in the Game" list.[13] On May 7, 2012 Mill released the second installment to his Dreamchasers series. The mixtape features guest appearances from Drake, Jeremih, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz and more.[14] Mill has stated his favorite tracks off the tape are "Amen," "A1 Everything" and "Racked Up Shawty" with French Montana and Fabolous.[15] Within six hours of its release on mixtape website DatPiff.com, Dreamchasers 2 was downloaded 1.5 million times.[16] On May 10, it was announced Meek Mill signed with Roc Nation management.[15]

On June 19, 2012, "Amen" - originally included on Dreamchasers 2, was released as the lead single from Mill's debut studio album. Before releasing his debut studio album Dreams & Nightmares, Mill received co-signs from both Mariah Carey and Nas, with him appearing on Carey's 2012 single "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" and the latter stating, "I got my eyes on him. He's the next one to take this shit over." The album was released on October 30, 2012.[17] Following an album release party in Philadelphia, Mill was detained by Philadelphia police after a car in which he was riding in was pulled over. No charges were filed, and Mill was released from custody.[18] The album debuted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 165,000 copies.[19] In its second week the album sold 41,000 more copies dropping 6 spots on the chart to number 8.[19]

2013–present: Dreams Worth More Than Money

Mill released the third installment of the Dreamchasers series, Dreamchasers 3.[20] The mixtape featured guest appearances from Rick Ross, Akon, Future, Waka Flocka Flame, Wale, Trina and Jadakiss among others.[20][21] The mixtape was scheduled to be released on May 6, 2013.[22] However, he had announced that it would be pushed back, eventually to be released on September 29, 2013.[23] In November 2013, Mill announced that he was half-way finished with his second studio album. On March 8, 2014, Mill announced that the album would be titled Dreams Worth More Than Money,[24] which was released in June 2015.[25] Mill began dating rapper and singer Nicki Minaj in early 2015.[26] Mill's album topped the Billboard 200 as of the issue dated July 18, 2015.

Meek Mill posted 6 videos on his Instagram previewing music for his upcoming Dreamchasers 4 mixtape.[27] The mixtape will feature a remix of the Drake song Back to Back and a remix to Drake and Future's song I'm the Plug.[28] On January 16, 2016, Meek Mill dropped songs on his EP 4/4 with 4 tracks.[29] On January 30, 2016, Meek Mill released a new EP title 4/4 Part 2.[30] Meek Mill spent $50,000 to donate 60,000 water bottles to contribute to the Flint Water Crisis.[31]

On May 11, 2016, he posted to Instagram account a caption to one of his photos; it stated that there could be a feature with Nicki Minaj and Lil Uzi Vert.[32]

Dream Chasers Records

Dream Chasers Records
Dream Chasers Records.png
Founded 2012
Founder Meek Mill (CEO)
Status Active
Genre Hip hop
Country of origin United States

On October 26, 2012, Meek Mill announced the launch of his own record label imprint, Dream Chasers Records with the flagship artists Louie V. Gutta, Lee Mazin and Goldie.[33] In early 2013, he also signed 17-year-old Louisiana rapper Lil Snupe moments after hearing his demo.[34] The label has since released mixtapes by Louie V. Gutta and Lil Snupe.[35]

On June 20, 2013, Dream Chasers artist Lil Snupe was murdered at an apartment building in Winnfield, Louisiana by two gunshots to the chest.[36][37] A warrant was issued for 36-year-old Tony Holden in connection with the shooting.[38] Holden was on the run from police for four days before turning himself in to authorities.[39]

On May 29, 2016, Mill signed producer Papamitrou to the label.

On June 30, 2016, Mill signed 2016 XXL Freshman Lil Uzi Vert to Dreamchasers.

Legal issues

Mill was arrested for illegally possessing a firearm and assaulting the police when he was 18 years old. He was put on probation. Since then, he has been arrested four times for parole violation. Another violation will result in him being imprisoned.[3][5]

In 2008, Mill was convicted of drug dealing and gun possession and was sentenced to 11 to 23 months in prison. Mill was released during the early portion of 2009 under a five-year parole agreement.[3][40][41][42] In December 2012, Mill was found to have violated his probation and the judge revoked Mill's travel permit.[43]

In May 2013, Mill was again found to have violated his probation and was ordered to take etiquette classes. The violation was a failure to report travel plans as required and social media postings that resulted in death threats to the judge, Assistant District Attorney (ADA) and probation officer assigned his case.[41] In requiring the classes and stressing the requirement to report travel, the judge noted, "You need to try to get this right next time."[42] In June 2013, the court noted that Mill continually failed to report his travel plans. The judge established an August deadline for the classes, noting that Mill has "a lot of issues" and that the classes would provide him with a "big-picture perspective" of his personal and professional actions. The judge stated the classes were "more important than any concerts he might have."[44] Of the requirement to provide travel plans to his probation officer, Mill complained, "You just gonna miss money all day." The ADA explained that it was a consequence of being on probation.[45] On July 11, 2014, Mill had his probation revoked and he was sentenced to three to six months in jail.[46] He was released from prison on December 2, 2014.[47]

He was found guilty for a parole violation again on December 17, 2015. The judge hearing his case refused to give him another chance and ordered him not to work or perform before his sentencing on February 5, 2016.[48] He was sentenced to 90 days of house arrest on February 5. The sentence will become effective from March 1 during which he will not be allowed to work and must do daily community service with groups serving adults. After the completion of his sentence, the judge will decide whether to extend his sentence or allow him to return to work. Additionally, he has also been sentenced to six more years of probation.[49]

On June 2, 2016, Meek Mill was sentenced to eight additional days of his house arrest.[50]

Controversies

"Amen"

Following the release of the lead single for Dreams & Nightmares, entitled "Amen", Philadelphia area pastor Rev. Jomo K. Johnson called for a boycott of Mill due to the lyrical content of "Amen". In a statement, he said that, "As a hip-hop fan, I want to encourage every rap fan in Philadelphia who is a believer in Jesus Christ, to boycott Meek Mill until he acknowledges this blatant disrespect. And being resident of North Philadelphia and pastor, I revoke Meek's 'hood pass' until this happens."[51] On July 17, in an interview on the BET show 106 & Park, Mill stated, "I don't think no preacher or no church approves of any type of rap music—because rap music, period, is a lot of bad stuff said. But at the end of the day, it's real life. And me, I wasn't trying to disrespect no religion or anything like that."[52]

Feuds

Cassidy

A feud started between Meek Mill and fellow Philadelphia-based rapper Cassidy, when Mill offered to battle several underground rappers including Cassidy. Cassidy would later accept the challenge, adding "if the money was right". They participated in a short "twitter beef", after which Cassidy released "The Diary of a Hustla", which was originally thought to be a diss track towards Mill. This was later refuted by Cassidy.[53] They both asked $100,000 each for the battle to take place.[54][55] However, after Meek Mill dissed Cassidy's song "Condom Style" (a remake of Psy's "Gangnam Style") Cassidy released a formal diss track towards Mill with "Me, Myself & iPhone".[56][57] Afterwards, Meek Mill responded with the diss track "Repo", which Mill later said would be the final diss record he would release against Cassidy.[58] Cassidy later said the feud was not personal, saying it was all in the spirit of hip hop.[59] On January 6, 2013 Cassidy released a 10-minute-long diss response titled "Raid".[60] Eight months later, on September 5, 2013 Meek Mill released another diss record towards Cassidy, titled "Kendrick You Next", where he raps over the speculated diss by The Notorious B.I.G. "Who Shot Ya". This is despite the fact he said "Repo" would be his final diss record.[61] Three days later, Cassidy released a diss record titled "Catch A Body", as a response.[62]

Drake

In July 2015, Meek Mill publicly criticized Canadian artist Drake on Twitter, calling him out for not writing his own lyrics. In a series of tweets, the rapper claimed his counterpart used a ghostwriter for the song "R.I.C.O." off Meek's Dreams Worth More Than Money album.[63] He also admitted that he was upset that Drake didn't promote the album on Twitter, upon its release. "Stop comparing drake to me too.... He don't write his own raps! That's why he ain't tweet my album because we found out," Meek Mill commented.[64][65] Meek Mill had identified the ghostwriter as Quentin Miller, a local rapper from Atlanta.

Meek Mill's claims received support from Funkmaster Flex, an American hip hop DJ, rapper, musician and producer on New York City's Hot 97 radio station. Flex released multiple audio recordings of reference tracks featuring Quentin Miller performing the soon-to-be Drake songs, "10 Bands", "Used To", "Know Yourself" and his guest verse on "R.I.C.O."[66]

Drake was supported by 40, Drake's longtime producer, friend and collaborator, who claimed that not only does Drake write his own songs, he has also written #1 records for other artists. "No one is as talented as Drake … [there are] countless number ones and songs drake has written for others never mind himself", 40 said on Twitter.[67]

On July 25, 2015, Drake premiered a track, titled "Charged Up" on the Beats 1 OVO Radio Show that is widely seen as a response to Meek Mill's allegations. Drake highlighted Meek Mill's relatively low sales volume and further claimed that the rapper was fading into obscurity.[68][69] Drake also dissed Funkmaster Flex by promoting his rival DJ Clue?.

Around 5 a.m. EDT on July 29, Drake released an aggressive diss track named "Back to Back (Freestyle)" that further attacked Meek Mill. The track, streamed over 500,000 times in 4 hours, heavily suggested that Mill's relationship with Nicki Minaj is lopsided in Minaj's favor and also further criticized Meek Mill for not responding to "Charged Up" and for relying on Twitter to attack Drake.[70] The track was released for streaming on the OVO SoundCloud account and on Apple Music.[71]

On July 30, Meek Mill released a track attacking Drake titled "Wanna Know" through Funkmaster Flex on HOT 97.[72] On "Wanna Know" Meek Mill revealed another reference track ghostwritten by Quentin Miller for Drake while also criticizing Drake for being soft.[73] Meek Mill also dissed AR-Ab and Daylyt on the track[74] In the Drake diss track, Meek Mill claimed that Drake was urinated on inside a movie theatre. The track also sampled WWE wrestler The Undertaker's ring entrance song, with a WWE spokesperson stating that "WWE takes its intellectual property rights very seriously, and we're looking into the matter", with WWE concerned that Meek Mill did not respect such property rights.[75] WWE reportedly sent him a cease and desist letter later. Mill then removed the song from SoundCloud and said that he was moving on from his feud with Drake.[76][77]

On January 30, Drake released a new diss track aimed at Mill, titled "Summer Sixteen", as the first single from his new album, Views From the 6.[78] Less than fifteen minutes later, Mill released a response track with label mate Omelly called "War Pain".[79] The track references several lines from "Summer Sixteen", including an incident in which Drake played "Back to Back" in a Four Seasons hotel in which he had a room directly above Mill.

On May 25, Mill released a remix of Fat Joe and Remy Ma's "All the Way Up" with fellow rappers Fabolous and Jadakiss. Meek directly references Drake in several lines of the song, such as "If you didn't write it, don't record it." He also implied that he was in a relationship with Drake's current love interest, Rihanna.[80]

Discography

Main article: Meek Mill discography

Studio albums

References

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