Rapper Meek Mill was arrested in November 2017 and was sentenced to 2-4 years in state prison due to a parole violation. His probation stems from a 2007 conviction for drug and gun charges.
This week, Meek heads to court to appeal the sentence. In an in-depth interview with Rolling Stone, Meek opens up about his case, the criminal justice system and the judge who is deciding his fate.
Growing up, Meek was a quiet boy. It wasn't until his teenage years that he began to open up and talk more, his mother said.
"For 10 years, I barely got a word out that boy. He'd stay in his room drawing cartoons," says Kathy Williams. "Then he turned 15 and those hormones hit him hard. He was out there on the corner, spitting fire."
Meek faced a lot of tragedy and death as he got older.
"I had 10 friends die when I lived in North Philly, and probably another six or seven on the Southside," he says. "I would literally open the door and smell the air outside. Yup, smells like murder today."
Even with his back and forth jail-time and the obstacles he faced, his family always knew he was destined for greatness. A family member shared accounts of Meek filling his notebooks with rhymes and being referred to as their hometown Lebron James.
Currently, prison preoccupies his time. His trumped up sentencing was handed down by Judge Genece Brinkley, who has overseen Meek's case for 10 years. She first convicted him in the early 2000s for a drug and gun charges.
Philadelphia Lawyer's have referred to Brinkley as a "sadist." One lawyer who chose to remain anonymous said "She puts long-tail probations on young black men, then jerks them back to jail for small infractions."
For Meek's parole violation, the judge had zero tolerance concerning his repeat misdemeanor offense. "I have been trying to help you since 2009, but you have no respect for this court," said the judge Brinkley. Meek's management said this trial has cost the rapper an estimated $30 million.
After ordering him back to prison she said "I don't have to deal with you ever again."
In the interview, Meek makes it a point to highlight the wrong done by Brinkly and her abuse of power.
"There are brothers locked down that did nothing to be here but piss off people like Brinkley," Meek said.
He also calls out the Criminal Justice system, saying it harms people on all sides, that the people who hurt him were also members of his own community.
"I want to speak on this system and what it does to black people – on both fucking sides of the fence, "Straight self-hate, man, it makes these people crazy." For a kid from North Philly to come all the way up, then be pulled back down by his own? "Trust me, I'm gonna say something about that. And then, I'm gonna move to Atlanta."