Meek Mill entered the packed Manhattan Center Studios on Tuesday (May 8) for his first live interview since being released from prison on April 24 after 169 days behind bars.
The nearly hour-long discussion with radio legend Angie Martinez serves as the first episode of TIDAL's new One of One series. Fresh off of celebrating his 31st birthday over the weekend, the Philly native made his way to the stage around 20 minutes after the anticipated start time, donning a black long sleeve and matching shorts perfectly coinciding with the pleasant spring afternoon in NYC. Fellow Roc Nation signees Jim Jones and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley also made cameos at the cozy venue to hear about Meek's experience.
Even though he's out on bail right now, the fight for justice is only beginning. Meek said he feels a certain responsibility as a vessel to use his platform to better the general public as a voice for the voiceless. “I feel like I got a job to do,” the MMG artist revealed.
He added: “People standing out in the rain for me that didn't know me — it changed my life. I feel like I got a responsibility because people are screaming 'Free Meek' while they still got other family members in jail. I feel like I should use my platform to help some of the people that supported me. Just to give off the same energy they gave me. God put me on this path for a reason.”
His mind is in the right place, with a refreshed outlook on life. Milly even admitted he's going to be moving a little bit differently to avoid legal trouble going forward due to his strict probation. Justice reform is clearly priority one right now for the “Dreamchasers” rapper as he hasn't stepped foot in a booth yet with his music career still on hold. He made sure to mention that he doesn't want to be confused with being a social activist going forward.
When Angie pressed the “Burn” MC about the possibility of new music, Meek admitted he didn't write one rap while locked up. “I ain’t rap in eight months, I ain’t rap one rap in jail. I can only rap when I feel good,” he says. Other inmates attempted to rap-battle him in jail but he wasn't having any of it. “I don’t wanna battle, man, I’m trying to battle home. I’m trying to get out of here,” he explains. The Dreams and Nightmares rapper later teased the idea of releasing music soon in addition to going out on tour later this year.
There were two days the former imprisoned rap star can recall where it didn't feel like he was still in jail. One being on the receiving end of a “Free Meek” shout out from Beyonce on DJ Khaled's “Top Off.” “I did a backflip off the toilet in the cell,” said the artist born Robert Williams. The other came thanks to the improbable Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl victory over the Patriots back in February. The Eagles took the field with Meek's “Dreams and Nightmares” blaring through the stadium speakers.
Meek credited Kanye West's “Can't Tell Me Nothing” for helping him get through some of his darkest days in the pen but took a shot at Ye's recent slavery comments when speaking about being born into poverty. “I ain’t have a choice to grow up in PH. I was born in public housing. My mom was on welfare when I was born. I had a choice as I grew up to be able to change that,” he explained.
When fan questions came around at the end of the conversation, most wanted to know what the Wins & Losses MC was listening to behind bars to pass the time. Meek Mill quickly referenced his 169 Days playlist with TIDAL, which includes a mixed bag of classic artists and newer acts such as JAY-Z, Lil Durk, Pusha T, Gunna and more.
“I was listening to a lot of real stuff, JAY-Z, ‘Da Sequel’ with Memphis Bleek. Nipsey Hussle] album, Migos’ album. I love Cardi B] but I ain’t going to be in a jail cell bumping Cardi,” he playfully quipped. “Of course, I had classics, DMX, Nas, JAY-Z], Jeezy, T.I] and Lil Wayne]. That’s the era of the type of music I came up to. I had a lot of music that helped me get through tough times.”
The 31-year-old is gearing up to release a documentary in combination with Amazon taking a deeper look at the injustices and systems in place that lead young minorities to end up in the vicious cycle of becoming a statistic.
When the discussion came to close, Meek Mill stood up on stage like a mythical figure taking in the scene and was quickly bum-rushed by ecstatic fans looking to talk and snap selfies with their hero. A wide smile broke out across his face and you could tell he's even taking the time to appreciate the little things like fan interaction once again.
Check out the conversation in its entirety over at TIDAL.
— TIDAL (@TIDAL) May 8, 2018