Speaking honestly, the mainstream hip hop scene in Philadelphia has always been either hot or cold. Since the days of Cassidy, Freeway, The Roots and Beanie Siegel, the city hasnt recently had a dope rapper grab the baton and keep it going. The metropolis has always been a part of its own musical movement though, maintaining a style thats strictly specific to the residents there. Enter Meek Mill- a 23-year-old firestarter, with a crisp flow, peppered with one liners that would make you shake your head and wonder if 1999 rap finally came back. Mills a young North Philly hustler whos already attained a grand co-sign from Atlanta rapper T.I. With his latest mixtape, Mr. Philadelphia, Mills determined to carry his city into the spotlight to stay.
AllHipHop.com: So we heard you were at the wrong end of a battle and thats what inspired you to rap with a little more effort.
Meek Mill: Oh yeah, but I was rapping already. I was battling and I lost the battle and you know, I dont like losing at nothing so I decided to take it serious from then on out.
AllHipHop.com: Werent you in a group though?
Meek Mill: That was like two years after I lost the battle. When I lost, I was like, 14 [years old] and I was doing a lot of rapping and writing. By the time I was 16 I was hanging out around Philly and I found out that a couple of my homies rap so then we started making tapes off karaoke machines and just formed the group.
AllHipHop.com: Do you guys still speak? Howre they taking your current buzz?
Meek Mill: Yeah, theyre all my homies, one of ems locked up, but we always hang together everyday anyway. Theyre still my homies aint nothing change.
AllHipHop.com: What made you want to go solo?
Meek Mill: Nothing made me want to go solo. I mean, they werent taking rapping as seriously as I was taking it, where Id put my life on the line for it, like it was my job. But they had things to do, but I was trying to pursue this 100%.
Meek Mill Hottest In Da City
AllHipHop.com: Whats going on in Philly right now, besides Meek Mill?
Meek Mill: Um, nothing really. Like, right now, Im the person thats getting the most bread, I came up under State Property and Major Figgas and Cassidy but all those guys are kinda laid back on it right now. Theyre not going hard like they were. I came up on them. They the ones that motivated me to rap really-those Philly guys and they were right there in the same area as me. I was watching them blow at the same time. It was good to see somebody from your neighborhood actually blowing up it makes you want to go even harder because you know you could do it yourself.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of motivation, we hear you want to start a community based program.
Meek Mill: Yeah, its a foundation to help my community when I get a chance. I just want to support the kids coming up in any way possible. Any situation we put together-its not together yet- but anything we put together is gonna be able to support the kids of the community and show them they can be something.
AllHipHop.com: Whats going on with you and Grand Hustle? Are you and Tip hiding the fact that youre signed to them?
Meek Mill: Nah, Im not actually signed to Grand Hustle, but Im affiliated with them.
AllHipHop.com: What happened during your first meeting with Tip?
Meek Mill: When I went to LA like three years ago, my man Charlie Mack took me right to Tip. We were in the studio, I let him hear a couple things, and he was like, I like youngin And that was that.
AllHipHop.com: Rose Red is a huge hit. But its a regional success. How did Rick Ross end up on the remix for it?
Meek Mill: Rick Ross I met offa Twitter basically. He was like, Whats up Philly? Whats going on? And I tweeted like, Everybody retweet this if you want Rick Ross on Rose Red-Remix. It was like 5,000 people RTed it, just kept sending it to him, so he saw it was a strong buzz behind it, and was like, Ima do it.
AllHipHop.com: You did a stint behind bars very recently. Howd you end up there? What happened?
Meek Mill: Id got locked up for selling drugs. I was fighting a case before I met Tip and em, but it was like, as soon as the case started picking up with them, I had to go to trial and I lost the case so I had to do 11 months.
AllHipHop.com: Howd you pass the time? Did you do a lot of writing?
Meek Mill: I wasnt writing in jail but I definitely had a plan as far as getting back out there and going as hard as ever. And thats what I did. I came home and went hard, cause a lot of people were popping while I was in jail, I was hearing the radio, a couple people were popping. When I came home, it was like, Im coming to change all that.
AllHipHop.com: When opportunity comes knocking, would you rather it be a major label or the means to do it on your own? Because you know you dont necessarily need a label to make it nowadays.
Meek Mill: At the end of the day, you want to be the biggest artist in the game, you know what Im saying? Cause those are the people [major labels] that are gonna promote your album across the world and spend real money.
AllHipHop.com: You start working on the debut yet?
Meek Mill: Yeah, now I am. You know I just dropped the mixtape, I think its gonna be the last one before I put out the album. But a lot of situations coming my way, labels calling and all that, so it might be able to come out on a label. Aint no telling. Maybe 10% is done. I aint really been on it, I just started, you know what Im saying? I just got a couple songs. I was in the studio for a month straight but the whole month I was just focusing on that one mixtape at the time. I did like, 50 songs for my mixtape.
AllHipHop.com: You feel like the fate of the Philly Hip Hop is on you?
Meek Mill: Yeah, thats what it feels like as of now. I want Philly to come back strong like, Atlanta, Miami They all got a lot of artists at one time but as of right now [in Philly], nothings really going on.
AllHipHop.com: What role do you think you play in Philly Rap?
Meek Mill: My role is to go platinum, be a big artist from Philly, You know we aint had a big artist in a minute. You know what Im saying? Like, a platinum selling artist. I wanna be like one of the biggest artists in Philly. And the last platinum selling artist was like Eve, I think. My goal is to stay on top and stay in the game and be relevant for a nice period of time.
This is what everybody has been waiting for, Meek Mills Mr. Philadelphia is finally here. Hosted by DJ Ill Will & DJ Rockstar. Features from Vado, Rick Ross, T.I., Young Chris, Beanie Sigel, Peedi Crakk and more. Tracklisting & after the jump.
1.Love My Team
2.Indian Bounce (Prod by Jahlil Beats)
3.Rose Red (Remix) feat T.I. Vado Rick Ross (Prod by Jahlil Beats)
4.Hate Is My Motivator (Prod by Cardiak)
5.Hard In Da Paint
6.Legggo feat Peedi Crakk Young Chris (Prod by Jahlil Beats)
8.Light Up a Candle feat Ms. Jade Young Steff (Prod by Conway)
9.This Is How We Do It feat Beanie Sigel, Mel Love Mike Knoxx (Prod by Cardiak)
12.Aint Gonna Sleep (Prod by Cardiak)
13.Throw It Back feat Daddy-O (Prod by Sapp)
14.Ballin feat Shizz Nitty (Prod by Jahlil Beats)
15.Hardbody feat Peedi Crakk Shizz Nitty (Prod by Cardiak)
17.Banned From TV
18.Where Dey Do Dat feat Young Chris (Prod by Jahlil Beats)
19.Dope Boy feat Mel Love Mike Tucker (Prod by YRoc Beats)
20.Gotta Get It (Prod by YRoc Beats)
22.Stuck In Da Trap feat Wiz
23.Bullet Wit Ya Name feat Manny Wellz (Prod by Jahlil Beats)